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Armageddon USA: Up in Flames

Originally just named Armageddon but due to the overabundance of metal bands on the scene with that moniker a 'USA' was added to the end, Up in Flames is the brand new release from this '80s act that now includes vocalist Mike Vance, drummer Joe Hasselvander (Raven/Pentagram/Cathedral/Savoy Brown), Robby Lee, and Robert Bussey, both of whom (as well as Hasselvander) handle guitar & bass duties. Raven founder John Gallagher even joins the fun on bass for a few tunes. With a clear quote on the CD stating "No digital processing done in the recording of this music", you can expect a raw, in your face presentation with no frills, just pure heavy metal right down to the bone. It's not perfect by any means, at times a bit rough around the edges, and certainly has that 'underground' feel, but Up in Flames does carry on the spirit of the old 'tape trading' scene in the '80s. Tunes like "Wanted Man", "All Over the World", "Spinner", and "In Your Face" make up with pure metal indulgence what they lack in refinement. A few of the songs pack a mean punch, like the crunchy riff driven monster "Satisfaction" and the grinding "Crazy", but it's the doom/stoner vibe of "Revolution (Peace of Mind)" that provides the most kick ass moments here on Up in Flames, with a deliciously heavy riff and fuzz drenched guitar solos to go along with thumping grooves and whiskey soaked vocals. I'd love to hear more of this style from these guys. The title track? Well, if you love the speedy NWOBHM sounds of classic Raven, you'll totally dig this one.

Production is extremely raw and muddy, sounding as if they recorded this in their garage, but that could have been the intent. Vocally and musically everything on display is competent, with nothing really standing out but the overall delivery is actually quite solid. This is not a band that's going to blow your mind with anything groundbreaking, but there's a certain charm to this album that's hard to deny, as it reeks of the glory days of the metal underground in a way that will bring back some fond memories for many a metal fan.

Track Listing
1) All Over the World
2) Spinner
3) Hypnotized
4) Wanted Man
5) In Your Face
6) Satisfaction
7) Allie
8) Crazy
9) Time Divider
10) Revolution
11) Up in Flames

Added: December 13th 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1973
Language: english

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