Armed for Apocalypse – The Road Will End (Ironclad Recordings)Tuesday, 23rd July 2013
Would Armed for Apocalypse be a nu metal band if this were 1998, and not 2013? DR certainly wonders such a thing, what with the band’s love of all things down-tuned and simplistic, two rudiments of the dreaded nu metal brigade. (There’s no rapping here, mercilessly.) The Road Will End is the Chico, CA-based band’s first album in four years, the follow-up to 2009’s plain-Jane Defeat, also an album that reveled in simplicity. There’s your sonic theme, obviously.
As lead disclaimer: there’s nothing remotely wrong with playing metal of the simple variety; you just have to be careful about the riffs you choose. Unfortunately, Armed for Apocalypse were pretty reckless (or simple-minded) when it came to placing their guitar ideas, for the numb-skull churn of “Better Worlds” is a turn-off; so is the song that follows it, “The Well.” One could make the argument the riffs the band are using are no different than any number of sludge/doom bands, and yeah, that’s a valid point, except for those bands drench their riffs in feedback and fuzz, thus making their simple riffs more concealable. Armed for Apocalypse’s riffs are left hung out to dry.
The Road Will End is heavy, absolutely, and the punk-edged “Open Wound” is cool, if not derivative, as is the hardcore fury of “Worth the Weight.” However, these two cuts are mere distractions from the problem at hand, which is how bland and banal The Road Will End happens to be.