- North Wind
- Deep And Dark Forest
- Slumber Of The Knight
- Awakening At The Dawn Of The Battle
- The Battle
- Dead In Dawn
- Endless Light
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a collaboration band team up on Sanctus Gladius Records. A few months ago I reviewed an album from Antivenom and was treated by some awesome underground black metal. Honestly, I didn’t like this particular album quite as much, but it was still an interesting listen. Knights of the New Temple is a band made up of three different underground Christian black-metal representatives (Armath Sargon, Fire, and Corinne from Lunar Invasion) who brought their individual talents together to make Armour’s. This album is hard to define, but, because it experiments with several branches of extreme metal, I think it’s safe to call it something along the lines of progressive black metal. There is plenty of experimenting going on throughout Armour’s, so be wary if you’re looking for some commonplace metal.
With faith-based lyrics focused mostly on spiritual warfare, Armour’s begins its title track with a magical, Danny Elfman-esque refrain that builds into a mid-tempo black metal song—a song filled with melodic and chugging riffs, ambient keyboards, firm drumming and top-quality, rasping shrieks. This track really readies the listener for the rest of the album, because the succeeding songs share a lot of the same positive qualities. With feet rooted in the genre of black-metal, each track incorporates keyboards, catchy riffs, experimental vibes, and its own dark and whimsical intros and outros that, as hinted at earlier, would probably fit well in a Tim Burton film.
Other than “Armours,” the next song “North Wind” is one of my favorites. Clocking in at almost twelve minutes, it is the longest song and delivers an unsullied dose of black metal. But if the first track is the ambassador for the record’s positives qualities, then this second track is a good example of the album’s less likeable side. Despite it being, in my opinion, a good song, the occasional clean vocals are sometimes off-key, the main riff gets a little repetitive, and the amount of keyboards and electronic noises often make it sound more computer than human. These critiques apply to a few other songs on the album as well; and, with the “experimental vibes” in mind, it’s hard to articulate whether or not they are intentional.
But, as mentioned, there are plenty of good tracks on Armour’s. “Deep And Dark Forest,” “The Battle” and “Endless Light,” for example, are well worth mentioning. They are entertaining, well-crafted songs, each containing catchy guitar-work that borrows from folk, black, and melodeath metal. Also, the songs “Endless Light” and “Deep And Dark Forest” experiment with unconventional vocal styles that may or may not sit well with the listener. The first uses gravelly cleans that are reminiscent of Motörhead, and the second uses high, female cleans that sound like Portishead. (Two heads are better than—ahaha! Ok.) It’s these tentative aspects of the album that make some songs more difficult to review than others; like the distorted spoken-word track “Dead In Dawn,” which, in contrast to the more black metal tracks, is chiefly driven by synthesizers and keyboards.
Overall: Armour’s is an atmospheric and experimental black-metal album with a few folk-metal influences, several catchy riffs, a lot of keyboards, solid but subtle drumming, high shrieks, varying clean vocals, and an array of electronic noises to give it an industrial air. To put it bluntly: it’s not wonderful, but it’s good. And although, as a whole, the album is somewhat forgettable, there are some excellent songs on Armour’s that I found myself wanting to hear again. I would suggest listening to a few tracks on the band’s Myspace page listed above and, if you like their stuff, you can pre-order/buy the album right here.
RIYL: Antestor, Antivenom, Armath Sargon, Frost Like Ashes, Horde, Lunar Invasion, Slechtvalk