So, I guess the lesson here is that if Armored Saint includes a song with some sort of iteration of “Fly/Flies” in the title and it refers to the insect instead of soaring through the air, chances are the album is going to be pretty damn good.
If you get that line, hooray! You’re an Armored Saint fan. If not, go back and do some homework, loser. (Hint: Dropping Like Flies and Fly in the Ointment)
It’s downright amazing that we are getting a new Armored Saint album in 2020. Seriously. Think about it for a second. What are the chances that a band the level of Armored Saint should still be kicking around as an entity this late in the game? Sure, they were as talented as any of the other traditional heavy metal acts of the 80s. And their material from the 90s and 00s have been outstanding. But, they never really broke through to the mainstream amongst the heavy hitters from the thrash or the hair metal realms. Armored Saint was always a band that seemed be on the outside and had more of an impact in their influence on other more famous bands and for John Bush’s stint in Anthrax. At any rate, it’s a credit to the stick-with-it-ness of the dudes in this band that they are still a living entity and that they are still rolling out albums that simply bang.
John Bush and Joey Vera deserve a lot of credit in being the driving forces behind this band, but I think a major high five is deserving to the guitar work of Jeff Duncan and Phil Sandoval. These guys have got to be one of the most unsung guitar tandems in metal and they have been cranking out tasty riffs and lead for years. I just hate it that more people don’t know these guys’ names.
Punching the Sky is just vintage Saint. I would put this one ahead of both La Raza and Win Hands Down in terms of quality. Probably not quite as good as Symbol of Salvation, which was the pinnacle album for this post-Dave Prichard version of the band, but it still rips as a solid entry into the overall Saint catalog. As I said, it’s simply an achievement for a band this far into their career to even put out an album, let alone one that sounds this invigorated and relevant. Cheers!
4 flip flops out of 5