Each Friday, we’ll take a look at an album of extremely heavy or hard-hitting material – new or not – and talk about it. Because Thank God it’s Facemelter Friday.
If you and I are friends, you are sick of me telling you about The Armed. I had been vaguely aware of them previously, but when Untitled dropped in June of last year, it was a revelation. The malaise that I had been feeling about new heavy music in the preceding months simply evaporated and I thought to myself “Oh yeah… heavy, angry music can be really fun!”
As Untitled opens, The Armed don’t bother stopping to say hello. “Future Drugs” is a blast of Dillinger Escape Plan-tinged technicality and precision. What follows is a completely unrelenting blend of hardcore punk and extreme metal that manages to point frantically to a myriad of musical reference points and simultaneously skate circles around all of them. The DEP-ish tendencies crib from only the best elements of that group. There are shades of Converge creeping in around the edges of many tracks, perhaps unsurprising given that the album was recorded by Converge mastermind Kurt Ballou.
Where the album – and The Armed – really shine, though, are in the more unexpected reference points. “Nervewrecker” might be the best, heaviest song that At The Drive-In never recorded. “Paradise Day” out-Fucks Up Fucked Up. Almost inexplicably, “Polarizer” is one of the best Nine Inch Nails inspired songs I’ve ever heard. The album’s one pocket of shelter from the cacophony, “Dead Actress”, opens with a Mike Patton-esque simmer, before erupting into an absolutely inspired wall of noise.
I’ll make no bones about the fact that I’m now way too into this record to judge it objectively. It’s been my go-to heavy record for half of a year at this point. The Armed’s Untitled is brilliant evidence that extreme music can remain innovative and intense while still being fun to listen to.
I put this on at the gym and it made me run too fast and I thought I might die. So it’s like, the best time.