Released: 2016, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Armored Saint had to crowdfund a live album. It’s times like this that you realize what an effed up world we live in. Recorded during their 2015 set at Wacken Open Air, CARPE NOCTUM is a lean and mean setlist of Saint classics old and new. But what shines above everything else is just how amazing of a live band Armored Saint still is in 35 years into the game.
There are three-decades worth of music spread across CARPE NOCTUM, and none of it sounds dated or nostalgic; that’s the beauty of Armored Saint. More recent gems like “Win Hands Down” and “Left Hook From Right Field” sound right at home next to classics like “March of the Saint” and “Stricken by Fate”. It’s the kind of timeless, blue collar heavy metal that other bands would kill for, but it’s the only kind of metal that Armored Saint knows.
The songs are solid – that’s a given. But the band plays their collective heart out with the fervor and energy of an outfit half their age. Jeff Duncan and Phil Sandoval trade riffs like nobody’s business; they make tunes like “Last Train Home” and “Aftermath” seem so easy with their six string mastery. And John Bush should be recognized as a national heavy metal treasure. His voice only gets better with age, still hitting the graveled lows and the unrealistic highs whenever duty calls, never flinching, never fleeting. Check the closing “Reign of Fire” as proof of concept. It’s an anthem for the ages, and sounds just as powerful in front of the crowd at Wacken last year as it did in 1991.
Life is too short to listen to bad metal; you owe it to yourself to listen to Armored Saint. CARPE NOCTUM is a reminder of what an important metal force that Armored Saint is, was, and always shall be. On march the saints…