It’s a fact that Armored Saint were never quite as big as they deserved to be. Hell, when the original studio version of this album came out in the early nineties – I was six – the band had not only been in the record label wilderness without a deal for three years, they’d also lost musical lynchpin Dave Prichard to leukaemia; to say Symbol of Salvation was 1991’s biggest make or break album might be overstating the fact a little – but SoS is a big deal in Armored Saint’s timeline. The fact that they survived long enough to be able to release a thirtieth anniversary live album commemorating it’s original release tells you just how tough the band once known as ‘LA’s headbangingest’ really are.
Of course, this concert recording – made at the Gramercy Theatre in 2018, is worthy of your attention whether you consider yourself a fan of the band or you don’t, because it captures heavy metal in it’s live essence in a way many live recordings fail to manage. Armored Saint – as anyone who has seen the band live at any point will surely attest – are a killer live unit. They walk it like they talk it in the studio, from John Bush‘s impassioned vocal performances all the way through to the explosive rhythm section of Joey Vera and Gonzo Sandoval, these guys don’t know any other way but to deliver And deliver they do on this recording, again and again!
Favorito tracks Dropping Like Flies and Last Train Home might get the early attention, but it’s on the ‘deep cuts’ where the band seems to save it’s hardest hits; Another Day is a slow-burnin’, long-lastin’ mid-set epic, the twin guitars of Jeff Duncan and Phil Sandoval working together to drive the song into the red. It’s a patented Saints’ live goosebump moment!
But wait – there’s more. Not only do you get the full-on, no-holds barred live rendition of SoS… the band have thrown in some four-track, Prichard-era demos for your enjoyment to make this even more of a fan jamboree… Actually make that ‘to make this a living, breathing document of a pivotal time in Armored Saint history’… these might just be worth the price of admission alone, but whatever, if you love American metal like I do then you just gotta get a slice of release… it really is Sweet as pie!
Symbol of Salvation Live releases on October 22nd.