Even though Armored Saint have now been in existence for more than 40 years, and I have of course been aware of the name (primarily due to John Bush, who took time off to sing in Anthrax), I do not think I have previously come across any of their material. With their 40th anniversary in 2022, and Metal Blade reissuing their first three albums on coloured vinyl to celebrate, now is the time to correct that. Formed in 1982 by John Bush (vocals), Dave Prichard (lead guitar), Phil Sandoval (rhythm guitar), Joey Vera (bass) and Gonzo Sandoval (drums), they self-released a demo that year and were soon signed to Metal Blade who put out their first EP in 1983, following that with a deal with Chrysalis for this album in 1984.

One of the advantages of being old in 2023 is that I was 16 in 1979, so was very much involved in the NWOBHM scene, listening to as many new bands as possible and being blown away not only by the variety of metal which was exploding but also the quality. Part of the reason is that some of the bands heading the charge had actually been playing for a few years before the scene caught up with them notably Iron Maiden, Saxon and Raven, while others were playing anywhere and everywhere to build up their songs and stagecraft such as Def Leppard, Samson and so many others. At the time it seemed like the UK was the centre of the world in terms of metal, with the likes of Venom and Angel Witch pushing music into new directions as well. But America? To us in the UK if felt like the States had yet to get with the programme, and to me this album is a fine example.

Released in 1984, it is solid NWOBHM in style, yet is already years out of date and cannot be compared with what was happening in the UK at the time. The scene had moved on, and even back then this must have sounded quite dated and listening to it nearly 40 years on it just does not contain the quality of material one would expect. John Bush is widely known as a great singer, which is why he was asked to join Anthrax, but the songs are quite basic and there is not enough going on in the arrangements to make them consistently interesting. I cannot believe just how disappointed I was in this as I was really looking forward to it as their debut is highly rated, especially for “Can U Deliver” which had quite some success at the time, but for me there is just not enough excitement, and there are times when it reminds me of Tygers of Pan Tang, who were exciting at the time but have not aged well.

Rating: 6/10