Released: 2011, EBM Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Okay, cards on the table here kids. When I first looked at Armor Column’s promo, I was expecting another round of retro-thrash full of more pomp than circumstance. Boy, oh boy, did I ever read this one wrong. Armor Column are the real deal folks, genuine thrash metal goodness, the way it was meant to be played – heavy, fast, melodic, powerful, without an ounce of shtick to be found. It’s good to thrash again my friends, and MAXIMUM COLLATERAL DAMAGE is the way to do it.
90-seconds into “Warmonger” and I was sold. With an introduction by none other than Mr. John Rambo himself, the tune quickly whips into a melodic, riff packed solo wielding, vocal soaring beast. So many so-called “thrashers” today forget that much of the music was built not only on fast, crisp riffs, but melody, harmony, and killer vocals. Armor Column didn’t forget, and this album flaunts it. Recalling the best parts of 80’s power/speed metal, with a definite Overkill/Exodus influence, MAXIMUM COLLATERAL DAMAGE shreds with defiant confidence.
One track after another, MAXIMUM COLLATERAL DAMAGE crushes like a panzer division rolling through your neighborhood. Whether it’s the bouncing rhythm of “With Blood and Vengeance,” the precision assault of “Rattenkrieg” or the rapid fire “We Breathe Extinction,” Armor Column succeeds in crafting tunes that not only recall metal’s glory days, but renew your hope that traditional metal isn’t quite dead yet. Much of the credit is due to vocalist Jeff Andrew and the guitar team of Ray Russell and Noah Carpenter. The guitar work is sharp, clean, and precise – lots of riffs, loads of incredible solos (check out “Dictator’s Whore”), and no fluff to be found. Andrews’ vocal delivery sounds like a cross breed of Bobby Blitz and Paul Baloff, which is to say, freakin’ amazing. He’s got Baloff’s snarl but he’s got the tone and melody of Blitz, and he can really hit those high notes the way Blitz used to.
MAXIMUM COLLATERAL DAMAGE has to be one of the year’s best kept secrets, as I had zero awareness of the band or album prior to receiving the promo. Armor Column is the kind of band that can appeal to just about any serious metal fan and MAXIMUM COLLATERAL DAMAGE is a masterful debut. The album’s available now through EBM Records, so check out their webstore and the band’s site for samples and more info.