"The Road Will End"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Many times a band's insistence on pure heaviness can be admirable. Other times, it hinders their development. Armed For Apocalypse are fierce and brutal, but I sense they can be much more than they are here.

The band plods with a stubborn mid-paced attack, their tunes full of down-tuned thuggery and bone-crunching drum battery. "The Starting Line Is A Trip Wire" introduces us to the Armed For Apocalypse method and with few exceptions, the band clings to that template for the duration. Taken a song or two at a time, their approach is totality, it becomes mind-numbing. Vocalist Kirk Williams is such a dead ringer for Sepultura's Derrick Green that I had to double check the credit to make sure Derrick hadn't finally jumped ship from the Brazillians.The vocals, too, seem very much typical of this kind of "thugcore" and wearying after a while.

There are occasional outbursts of sheer electronic rage that will make you sit up and take notice, especially in "The Well". When the pace does quicken, as on "Open Wound", the results are excellent and make you wish that they would do it more often. I can offer nothing but praise for the sheer brutality of the drumming, which sounds like the hooves of the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse on the march. We get a glimpse of the band Armed For Apocalypse could truly be with the surprising cut "Happy Our" (Disciple of Death), where it almost sounds like another band, with expansive, almost soaring riffs, some searing leadwork and even twin guitar melody that provides an almost epic feel. This is the best tune of the set by far, but what it accomplishes is making most of the remainder of the album look average and lazy.

This band has the tools to be more than it is and I wish them nothing but the best as they hopefully learn to transcend themselves.