Armored Saint – “Carpe Noctum (Live)” (Metal Blade Records)
A Latin phrase meaning ‘seize the night’, legendary 80s hard rock metallers Armored Saint do exactly that, this time across the Atlantic with this mean ass mutha of a live album culled from their 2015 Wacken festival appearance as well as their headlining show in Aschaffenburg, Germany. Once called ‘the headbangingst band in LA’, Armored Saint’s reputation especially as a live act ensured this was no overstatement and now, some 35 years later, they continue to live up to their motto of ‘Saints Will Conquer’! Despite a hiatus thru the 90s, in part owing to vocalist John Bush’s on and off stints singing for Anthrax, this ceased and in the millenium years the band picked themselves back up with a stream of gallant comeback albums, putting them back on form to become a top notch headliner act once again. “Carpe Noctum (Live)” is testament to that, both in terms of the band’s energy and composing panache, as well as filling a crucial gap in live releases, this being their first since 1989’s “Saints Will Conquer”! At only 8 tracks, perhaps due to the PledgeMusic funding of the album, some might feel this is a tad short, however, what more than makes it up is that every single track is nothing short of killa! A mixture of classics with 2 new songs from their latest release, ‘Win Hands Down’ tears it right up from the start and it’s clear the band are in fine form, from the searing guitars of Jeff Duncan and Phil Sandoval, not to mention his brother ‘Gonzo’ pounding away his kit! John Bush needs no introduction, a frontman in his own right who barely has to initiate the rabid crowd to chant along to the anthemic ‘March Of The Saint’. Equally, his vocal delivery remains as fine as it was back in the day, from singing soulfully in ‘Last Train Home’ to taking off the gloves in ‘Left Hook Right Field’. I’ve always admired the mix of hard rock, melody and metal that makes the Saint so special and its no better displayed in the powerful ‘Aftermath’, where Bush puts in yet another stand out performance, along with raging ‘Mess’ (another newie) which impressed me here and has turned out to be another live hit. Perfectly timed for their next set of live dates, “Carpe Noctum (Live)” is a best of the best in which Armored Saint re-affirm their status a highly regarded live act – not only in their hometown of LA, but the rest of the world!