The Armed are young. You hear their youth in their energetic stitching together of various strands of punk and metal. A band like The Armed could not have existed ten years ago, or perhaps prior to Deadguy (who inspired Dillinger Escape Plan, who clearly inspired these Detroit dudes). Though not without its missteps, These Are Lights (self-released, 2009) boasts flashes of ingenuity.
Its songs vacillate between Botch-like math metal and Every Time I Die’s mid-tempo swing. Some of the material seems like Calculating Infinity-lite. Yet the guitarists give the band a bit of their own identity. “Kingbreaker” features an odd, pedal-powered guitar tone, while much of the album showcases above-average performances.
But when the band lets up on the assault, things get interesting. A handful of songs, probably conceived as “interludes,” display forward-thinking potential. Though “I Steal What I Want” could be an Ire Works throwaway, it demonstrates finesse and skill uncommon for a band this green. The song consists of synthesizer and klezmer trumpet over a slow beat. “Elephant” is atmospheric, with minor-key piano, gushing guitars, and lyrics spoken in a foreign language. I doubt the band performs either live. But if they work such daringness into their actual songs, The Armed could be onto something unique.
Download the album for free at the band’s website.