I didn't review a hardcore band/release for quite some time, so I was really looking forward to this. Despite feeling abnormally tired and like I'm in the tenth dimension, I'll try to reflect my feelings for this release as best as I can. This 7'' was sent to me back in February, so hopefully the wait paid off.
"Armada" is a four piece hardcore band from Milwaukee, drawing inspiration from projects such as "Left For Dead", "Extortion" and "Void". They managed to justify their influences in music pretty well, since they packed a load of killer sound within these six minutes that are found on this 7''. I knew that "Armada" is gonna bring something evil and pounding into the speakers and to be honest my first impression was that I will automatically dislike their tunes due to my current pop punk, melodic stuff period which is caused by nice weather and general cheery mood. Nevertheless, they hit you so hard and fast with their music that you are bound to like it, despite external factors. "Palestine" is the opening track featuring some eerie and heavy bass playing along a screechy guitar. This song could definitely be classified as sludge if it weren't for the occasional outburst of sound on the drums, an extremely slow song with several peaks of massive tones. Soon enough "Houses" starts with speed guitar riffs and it all culminates into a complete euphoria driven playing, quite a storming 20 seconds of hardcore, but after the initial aggression it again slows down and kinda drifts away. At this point I thought that I will move this release and review it tomorrow, since I really craved for something fast and I didn't want to leave just my momentary bad impressions. But then out of nowhere "All My Friends Are Dead" hits the speakers with an opening bass line and constant raging madness which last literally through all the songs until the end. They bring out that specific hardcore trait that I like, the choking, spasm like rushing feeling and it just drives you all the way, evil and fast. This is also probably the first time that I actually fell in love with a twenty second song, since "Grotesque" is downright brilliant! Once I went back to the first track and listened to the whole release once again, I began to appreciate the slower introduction more, since it actually makes you think this will be a sluggish album and that definitely makes the aggressive tracks more brutal.
Aside of the great song composition and good playing, recording is clean, so despite the overall mayhem you can enjoy everything. Also, a definite plus in my mind is the occult inspired cover art, which I really think goes well with the sound that they perform and not just the name of the release.
So yeah, I liked "Armada" quite much and I think that the liking is very solid, since they managed to move me despite the general mood I was in, which you have to admit is a powerful trait. In any case, this is a project worth keeping an eye out for. As much as I see on their blog (found here by the way), they had some tour issues and ceased further updates on the site, so I honestly hope that they didn't stop playing in the meantime. Until any further news we get to grab, check out this excellent 7''. Enjoy!