Album Review :
The Crimson Armada - Guardians

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Band: The Crimson Armada
Title: Guardians
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 2009
Review By: Steve

Tracklisting:

  1. Guardians
  2. A Filthy Addiction
  3. The Sound, The Flood, The Hour
  4. In The Eyes Of God
  5. The Serpents Tongue
  6. Revelations
  7. Desecrated
  8. The Final Words
  9. The Architect
  10. Outro

Wow, I have never been that big into death metal because of the higher pitched screams but man, does The Crimson Armada put together a sweet album! You can even label this album as deathcore, which might be a better description. I have wondered how a band could come out of obscurity and sign with a huge metal label like Metal Blade, but after a few songs there is no doubt in my mind why Metal Blade signed these dudes.

I will get to the lyrics but The Crimson Armada is one outstanding band musically. They have some of the cleanest riffs and most brutal breakdowns I have heard in a long time. They are insanely technical.  Did I forget to mention the bass and drum lines?  My bad, they are brutal and hit extremely hard. There is not much more to say about The Crimson Armada instrumentally. This is genre, much like every genre, that is hard to distinguish yourself from the pack. Fortunately, The Crimson Armada has two things that set them apart from most of the death metal/deathcore that I have listened to. The first as I have mentioned above is flawless musicianship. Second is lyrically.

Death metal/deathcore is more negative and hopeless than the other metal genres in my opinion. I call it country metal; if you play it backwards you find hope, your relationships, and your childhood!  Anyways enough of my cheesy joke, The Crimson Armada packs their songs with hope and Christ. In addition, I have never heard a singer like Saud Ahmed before.  He has an incredible range from deep, throaty growls to the high-pitched screams. A lot of bands might have another member do either the low or high-pitched screams. His low growls definitely have a hardcore influence flowing through his deep growls. The Crimson Armada reminds me a lot of The Black Dahlia Murder, except Ahmed has a much better range vocally.  My favorite track on this album is “The Sound, The Flood, The Hour” because Ahmed definitely puts a lot more of a hardcore sound in this song more so than the other tracks. Lyrically, I like the message of the need for repentance due to the oncoming return of Christ that The Crimson Armada screams about. The track starts with “God give me strength, you know I need it. /  Say “Submit to me!” And I’ll concede. / And when the crow rusts, water will follow in combust. / The veins of pride pump strong with the blood of scarecrows.  / A cavity so fills; a likened tar is the stain of poisoned arrows. / Straight through the soul of man.  / God remind these people of what their in.”  And at the end of the track Ahmed reminds the listener that the time to repent is getting closer, “God give me strength, you know I need it.  / Up to your neck in timeless, mindless, sightless, blind confided, / blight of the wired shine of pride,  / you barely breathe / with the glare of certain death / ticking and emitting the sound, the flood, the hour.  / Take a second and beg, pray for mercy.  / So fall to your knees and pray for mercy. / Fall to your knees and pray for mercy.” I love metaphoric lyrics that drive home the need for Christ and not some vague spiritual being.  While “The Sound, The Flood, The Hour” may be my favorite song the heaviest song on Guardians has to be “In the Eyes of God,” which is also an outstanding track as are all the tracks on the album.

Overall: This is an outstanding debut album from a band and that is well geared to be around for a long time. If technical metal is your thing, The Crimson Armada takes it to a new level. This is a must buy for any fan of death metal and would suggest any metal fan in general to give Guardians a listen to. You just might like it. I know I have gained a greater appreciation for this sub-genre.

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