ALBUM: Armor For The Broken – The Black Harvest

Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Label: Tragic Hero Records
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/armorforthebroken

Rating:

Armor For The Broken are an American metalcore band from Salem, New Hampshire. This, ‘The Black Harvest’, is their second album, their first with Tragic Hero Records, and it kicks off in suitably heavy style with ‘Gold Rush’, sounding similar to early Architects with down-tuned guitar riffs and screaming vocals throughout. Unlike quite a few heavier bands, Armor For The Broken have a nagging sense of melody throughout, and this comes to the fore in the towering clean vocal choruses of album highlights ‘You Complete Me’ and ‘Captivate’.

The singing/screaming combination doesn’t appear on every song however, and thankfully doesn’t outstay its welcome. In fact, the little doses it appears in provides needed respite from the screaming, and gives the music a whole new dimension. This extra string to their bow makes the other songs sound more brutal in comparison, ‘Drought Of Truth’ for example, sitting between ‘Captivate’ and the heavier A Day To Remember-esque ‘Empty And Alone’ both in possession of humungous choruses, sounds like a bear with a sore head who smokes 60 cigarettes a day.

When the album sounds like it’s dragging slightly, and you feel that they need another dimension to their sound to provide some variety, along comes title track ‘The Black Harvest’. A slow song driven by piano, showcasing purely clean vocals and some very good close harmonies, it acts as the calm after the storm. As with many bands in their genre, the listener is half expecting a crushing, metallic power ballad-esque finale, however, what conspires is an electro-acoustic ending, which surprises and complements the track perfectly.

The musicianship on this album is very tight and accomplished, while the screaming vocals are deep and brutal and the clean vocals are very good, without the need of auto-tune which plagues some identikit bands. Overall, ‘The Black Harvest’ is a very solid album with some really good tracks, ‘Empty And Alone’ and ‘Gold Rush’ probably being the two best. Being a relatively new band, Armor For The Broken could be ones to watch in the future if they carry on maturing and find a little niché for themselves within the metal/hardcore scene.

Written by Alex Mitchell-Fox