Armored Saint

Delirious Nomad

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Having launched their career in promising fashion with the very well-received March of the Saint album, Los Angeles-based Armored Saint now seemed poised to take things to the next level and become one of the '80s biggest metal stars. Further buoyed by widespread critical approval, the band and their label, Chrysalis, were especially careful when planning to record 1985's all-important follow-up, Delirious Nomad. Enlisting the services of top metal producer Max Norman was supposed to be the final piece of the puzzle, and all involved were confident that this would be the band's "career" album. But while Delirious Nomad was certainly a more refined, more confident effort than its predecessor, it also felt somewhat less vital and spontaneous -- contrived even. Standouts like "Over the Edge," "For the Sake of Heaviness," and "In the Hole" are meticulous studio creations which proved the band's songwriting talents were indeed improving from strength to strength. But while the band was convinced that they'd successfully captured their "live sound" for the first time, many old-school fans flatly disagreed. For these, Delirious Nomad was missing that certain elemental spark of excitement which had made their debut so memorable, and the off-the-cuff looseness of rehashed older material like "You're Never Alone" and "Released" arguably proves their point. Still, the stunning beauty of the epic "Aftermath," with its glorious smorgasbord of harmony guitars, represents a career peak by any standard. Finally, for a band which always took itself perhaps a bit too seriously, Armored Saint was approaching maximum paranoia here, with songs like "Nervous Man" and the aforementioned "Over the Edge," both brimming with high-strung tension. Apparently, so was the band, who parted with founding guitarist Phil Sandoval as soon as the album was completed.

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