Armored Saint – La Raza (2010, Metal Blade Records)
1. “Loose Cannon” … 5:06
2. “Head On” … 5:46
3. “Left Hook From Right Field” … 5:31
4. “Get Off The Fence” … 4:48
5. “Chilled” … 5:02
6. “La Raza” … 6:41
7. “Black Feet” … 5:07
8. “Little Monkey” … 4:45
9. “Blues” … 3:32
10. “Bandit Country” … 5:16
John Bush – Vocals
Jeff Duncan – Guitars
Phil Sandoval – Guitars
Joey Vera – Bass
Gonzo Sandoval – Drums
Producer: Joey Vera
Not too long since it was released, I have been listened to this album on and off. My original plan was to review it much earlier but I wasn’t album to get into it. Reviews on this album have been mixed to say the least. Some people say it’s another great Armored Saint release and it logically follows their last few efforts. Then there’s the controversy as to whether this is a “metal” release or not.
Firstly, despite not having heard 2000’s Revelation, I can definitely see the connection between this album and 1991’s Symbol of Salvation. Frankly, La Raza doesn’t even begin to compare to that 1991 classic. There’s just too much filler on La Raza. Symbol of Salvation is one of those rare, great albums where there’s no filler at all. Upon my first complete listen to this album, the only song that stuck out is “Chilled”. It’s a great song that reminds me of Symbol of Salvation yet has enough modern flavor that any younger band could probably get on the radio with it. The rest I would have been hard pressed to remember. Given that I’ve spun this album ten times or more by now, other favorites are popping up. This is one of those albums that I really had to keep listening to over and over again to get enjoyment out of.
Now, there has been some controversy over whether this is heavy metal. Well, I say it is. Compared to the band’s catalog, La Raza brings no more or no less “heavy metal” than they usually do. I’ve always thought Armored Saint straddled the line between heavy metal and hard rock anyway. There are a few songs on here I would say are strictly heavy metal and then a few others that are pure hard rock.
At least John Bush still delivers in the vocal department. My only issue with him is a recent interview I read where he basically sounded like he was dragged into this project. Though he doesn’t say this, it sounds like he really doesn’t have a lot of passion left for music. Armored Saint reuniting was Joey Vera’s doing and while he and John Bush co-wrote the whole album together, knowing that Bush originally didn’t want to do it and had to be talked into it ruins a bit of the enjoyment for myself. I think the whole Anthrax fiasco took a lot of fight out of him.
My final thoughts on this album are that it is a good solid rock/metal release but it didn’t “wow” me. It was one of the more anticipated albums of 2010 for me so perhaps I set my expectations high. It failed to meet those expectations but after a few listens it has grown on me.
Highlights: “Loose Cannon”, “Left Hook from Right Field”, “Get Off the Fence”, “Chilled”, “Black Feet”, “Bandit Country”