Armored Saint - Punching the Sky

Armored Saint Punching the Sky cover
Armored Saint
Punching the Sky
Metal Blade Records
While the whole world hunkers down in lockdown, Armored Saint comes out fighting with their new, eighth full-length, album “Punching the Sky”. We had a chance to talk to Joey Vera recently about this epic new release, along with what it takes to build a creative masterpiece such as “Punching the Sky”. The band has unleashed some serious metal on this album.
Joey Vera was adamant to have shorter tracks. This idea was betrayed on the first track “Standing on the Shoulder of Giants”. Uilleann pipes start this journey, and as you are transported to a more medieval time, you soon are pulled forward to today with the anthem-like melodic yet punching rhythm that we expect from AS.
The 4-minute mark pays off at the end, because the album flows right through to the last track. As a storyline goes, it’s hard to avoid the wish to go through the whole record in one sitting. In an era where most listeners have shorter attention spans, the Saints march forward. “End of the Attention Span” illustrates just that. So far, so great – two songs with great writing and vocal prowess… “Punching the Sky” is in the crosshairs of a great album.
“Bubble” opens with the industrial nuances and a melodic, slower pace, but still a great dynamic between all instruments and guitars. Another cool cameo with Armored Saint, Dizzy Reed (of Guns ‘n Roses and Hookers & Blow) added keyboards throughout the songs, opening new avenues for these great musicians. Jeff Duncan and Phil Sandoval just blow my mind.
“My Jurisdiction” opens with Joey’s sultry bass line that evolves into a funky piece, which is the first song to address false news. John Bush’s lyrics are full of sarcasm, layers and interpretation so a listener can draw his own conclusions here. His work on “Punching the Sky” proves that singers like him, Bruce Dickinson and Glenn Hughes should really be the object of a scientific study on the longevity of vocal chords.
“Do Wrong to None” features a marching snare from Jacob Ayala on the intro, bombastic thrash metal masterpiece throughout the entire track.
Next “Lone Wolf” showcases Gonzo Sandoval’s amazing timing and drumming.
If you’re looking for a high energy cut in the same vein of fan favorites “March of the Saint” and “Raising Fear”, look no further, because “Missile to Gun” drives this album at a blistering speed. At this point, it’s worth mentioning that much like Maiden, Priest and Metallica, Armored Saint has never been about one player or another being the forefront, but working and melting together as one. “Bark, No Bite” is a nod to the classics, and “Unfair” is a slow burn type of song that illustrates a traumatic moment in time of one of John’s close friends.
“Punching the Sky” is concluded by “Never You Fret”, where John proclaims, “we always bring the house down”. Gonzo plays an American Indian flute, and closes the proceedings.

This is one of the top albums of 2020. Armored Saint seems to only get better with age, and this album will further keep them as metal journeymen. Always been a fan, and always will be. Thank you guys, from the bottom of this fan’s heart, for the opportunity to see into your creative souls, even for a moment.