Monday, June 10, 2024

Armored Saint - Revelation (2000)

It would be nearly a decade before Armored Saint came out of its early retirement, reuniting the Symbol of Salvation lineup and remaining within the Metal Blade family. I remember being quite excited by this news, as I wasn't a huge fan of the three albums John Bush had done with Anthrax by the turn of the millennium. Sound of White Noise was alright, don't get me wrong, but he needed to get back to where he belonged, and so there was genuine jubilation when I found this album among the physical promos I would receive for the paper zine I was writing back in those years. Following up Symbol of Salvation is an unenviable task, and there was pretty much no way that Revelation was going to pull that off, so I have to give it credit for at least remaining in the band's general style and offering a couple catchy tracks.

That's not to say this is great, of even good, because it's definitely a lot more straightforward and risk averse, at best taking just a chunk of their earlier sound circa Delirious Nomad or Raising Fear and then modernizing it with the studio wizardry of a later decade. Still a lot of hard rock roots poking through here, and there's even a slight element of stoner-y style, like "The Pillar" which opens up like an outtake from the underrated Trouble record Manic Frustration, though it does transform into something decidedly Saintly once the verse bobs along. There are some solid tunes like "After Me, the Flood", "Control Issues" and "Creepy Feelings" with its cool melodic, harmonized intro, that strive to match the quality of past records, but I don't think the band had let these tunes mature quite enough to offer that same level of unforgettable. Where they do branch out a little, like "Damaged", they go for a bass-driven, almost alt rock/metal feel and a simple chorus or two, in fact they remind me a little of the purely prog/alt rock era that Seattle's Queensryche were slogging through around the same time...only not that lame.

Ultimately, enough of this didn't work for me to mire it in mediocrity, like the Spanish track "No me digas" or the dull Stone Temple Pilots pandering of "Deep Rooted Anger". The production is very much brick-walled compared to the older albums, and it sounds like a case of the band just communicating lightly and decided to just throw something together, and not waiting for better ideas to gestate, which is a huge downgrade from the incredible Symbol of Salvation. Revelation has a cool cover, and it's not nearly as staggeringly lackluster as its own follow-up, La Raza, which would take another decade to appear back unto a scene that wouldn't care much, especially with its lack of weaponry. It seemed like trying to stamp on a few minor style changes to fit the times was a complete bust for Armored Saint, whether in 2000 and 2010, and if they had called it quits for good after this one, I would not have been too disappointed. We know now that they'd be capable of greatness once more, but those three decades were pretty rough.

Verdict: Indifference [6.75/10]

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