Written by: Blackie Skulless
These days, thrash and traditional metal revival bands are all over the place, Sweden being a country that boasts a fair amount of each. Seldom do people like to go for that core speed metal sound without leaning towards something else, so when that’s placed before me, it gets immediate attention. Armory has been around for roughly a decade now, and their second full-length Mercurion is what got my attention with that very aspect. Being a genre that’s tough to screw up, but also tough to make an impression, I can confidently say that this is the latter.
Despite incorporating breakneck riffing under an umbrella of an untampered atmosphere, Armory has a strong ear for hooks. Melody isn’t usually the focal point, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t everywhere. Perhaps the lead guitars are meant to make up for the vocals, as those carry a coarse identity with little focus on being concise. Instead, there’s a whinier element that blends with harsher attitudes, which can admittedly be tough to get behind sometimes. It isn’t a dealbreaker, though. The way they flow with the music itself more than makes up for it.
I’d potentially go as far as saying that Mercurion dabbles in technical patterns. Without changing the mood, these chops swing from higher, fret-happy leads into bouncy power chords without letting the bass get lost within. Instrumental “Transneptunic Flight” actually highlights the bass passages more than any other. Given the album art and song titles, there’s a clear fascination with space and sci-fi. But never does it go overboard, and the classic roots punch through the surface every time. “Deep Space Encounter” has some of the most ferocious energy, sweeping in with a higher swing before dropping and hitting hard with the percussion. Its passage into a more menacing draw utilizes slower rhythms while holding onto the intense drumming.
Being a concept album about human collaboration and space horror, it’s no surprise that the linear flow is on point. The tracks are split into two phases: Takeoff, and Downfall, and the general flow does a solid job between rolling out the moods as needed and transitioning wonderfully. The shorter ones tend to work as buildups to what the more in-depth, longer tunes offer. “Event Horizon” closes on a mildly unsettling note to the effect of open ending ,and you’ll find a healthy dose of power-stance riffing on “Wormhole Escape”
A mixture of calm and intense, with speed metal penetrating every corner is a fast pass towards a good time. Armory’s unique approach to the genre and extra ear for hooks had me sold with the first listen. The raw dynamics and unconventional vocals take nothing away, and it was refreshing to stumble upon this. Easily worth the time of anyone who likes the traditional genres.
Armory - Mercurion was released April 22, 2022 via Dying Victims Productions.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.