The reservoir of new Swedish Metal bands seems to be just endless. Hot on the trails of High Roller recording artists Ambush, Air Raid, Lethal Steel, and so many others, there is Armory, a speed metal outfit from the lovely city of Gothenburg. Originally formed in the late summer of 2012 (out of the ashes of a band called Resurrector), Armory recorded their first demo »Open Fire« in December 2012, followed by »S.M.I.« (short for “Speed Metal Island”, referring to the island Hisingen in Gothenburg, where the band is located).
»World Peace … Cosmic War« is the name of Armory's debut album on High Roller Records. It was recorded (live) at Black Path Studios, produced by Oscar of RAM fame.
“We see ourselves as a speed metal band,” comments guitarist Gustav Sundin. “Our main influences are a mix between the really early speed/thrash/ US metal acts such as Agent Steel, Savage Grace and Helstar and some of the really classic bands such as Iron Maiden, Running Wild and Judas Priest, and the list goes on. I guess our influences from the German scene in particular are mostly based around acts such as Running Wild, early Helloween, Scanner, Atlain and Iron Angel. We don't really see the typical Bay Area bands as a major influence, although we do love bands such as Vio-lence and Exodus.”
The superb cover art of »World Peace … Cosmic War« as well as some of the song titles and lyrics might lead the listener to speculate about the ten songs following a certain concept. Just like with the glorious Agent Steel back in the days... According to Gustav Sundin, however, that's not the case: “ No, »World Peace … Cosmic War« isn't really a complete concept album. Most of the songs deal with some kind of space theme or futuristic visions based upon lack of faith in humanity, but not all of them. The two songs 'Spinning Towards Doom' and 'Without Days, Without Years' are closely interlinked though, these are both meant to function as individual stories about the downfall of mankind and as part 1 and 2 of a grander tale that is likely to be continued in the future… We would like to write a whole concept album some day but we are not really ready for that, yet. We think that a good concept album has to be more complex than just dealing with one subject. Maybe our third album will be a complete concept album, then we might be ready for it.”
That does indeed sound very interesting. And also very forward-looking for a young band such as Armory. The future does look bright for them, although there is a lot of competition as the guitars explains: ”It really feels like there is a big wave of new, fast and hungry speed metal bands coming up! That’s really great because speed metal is the most perfect form of music created in our universe (so far). Many of the bands seem to be located in Scandinavia, but the scene seems to be growing everywhere! Here in Sweden we have Tyranex, Antichrist, Immaculate and Enforcer; Finland has Ranger; Norway has Töxik Death, Deathhammer, Nekromantheon and Black Viper. Some great new speed metal bands from other countries include Sacral Rage, Vektor, Dungeon, Evil Invaders, Encyrcle and Speed Queen… And probably a lot more...”
So are Armory's tastes geared more towards technical speed and thrash metal or do they like it a bit rawer? The ten tracks on their debut album are very diverse, showing both styles. Gustav Sundin: ”It all depends who in the band you ask, really, but I guess you could say we like both styles equally overall. Since we all participate in the music-writing the music easily gets very diverse, since we all have our own influences and references to whatever we would like to write. Ingelman is mainly the one writing the most technical parts, but Anglegrinder also has his moments of technicality, although his style of writing mostly resembles the black/thrash scene in a speed metal way, while Ingelman has lots of influences from the progressive US Metal scene. Our Singer Konstapel P’s contributions to the music writing are very much influenced by the German speed/thrash scene, but also some of the earlier German power metal acts such as Helloween (pre-Kiske era), Scanner, and of course Running Wild, as mentioned before. We have tried to combine all of our different influences in order to create an album as diverse as possible, while at the same time staying 100% true to our speed metal roots at all times. Luckily, speed metal is quite a broad and versatile genre, which has enabled us to explore different directions in our sound.”
A song like "Hell's Fast Blades" is indeed pretty damn, well, fast and furious, reminding me a bit of very early raw Exodus... ”Fast and furious we ride the universe!” jokes Gustav. ”'Hell’s Fast Blades' is perhaps our rawest and heaviest song. This song adds an evil doomsday feeling to the album, which fitted perfectly with our goal of creating an album as diverse as possible, without ever compromising regarding the quality. It is also a great live song which usually gets the front row bangers going crazy.”
Armory's singer, Konstapel P., has a very distinctive voice, he is no high-pitched screamer and no growler as well, his style of vocal delivery is more mid-range... ”In my opinion, his voice adds a unique flavour to our music,” confirms Gustav. ”What makes his singing style so special is that he does all his falsettos inwards instead of outwards, like most 'normal' singers do! Apart from this, he also disposes quite an arsenal of snarls, screams, howls and cleaner singing as well. I guess it is just something that developed gradually and naturally over time.”
The guitar work on »World Peace … Cosmic War« is really good, so is Armory a guitar-driven band after all? ”Of course all metal music, and perhaps speed metal in particular, is guitar-driven in some way,” explains Gustav. ”As we are also huge fans of almighty and legendary heavy metal bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, we also like to incorporate lots of twin guitar parts in our songs. This doesn’t mean that the other instruments have to stand back though, quite the opposite in our case, but guitar solos and melodies tend to stand out more when you listen to it. I totally understand why you can get this impression while listening to our music, but we would never let the other instruments stand back in order to put more focus on the guitar work… It’s all or nothing, all the time!”
All or nothing – all the time!
What a fitting motto for a band like Armory.