Armored Saint

March of the Saint [Bonus Tracks]

(CD - Rock Candy #CANDY 016CD)

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Throughout the '80s, you'd be hard-pressed to find an American heavy metal band who sounded more British than Armored Saint. While most of their contemporaries seemed preoccupied with the fast-growing thrash metal movement, here was a group of committed purists who were simply updating traditional metal at its best for the '80s generation. By the same token, the band was never able to benefit from the perks of being associated with a "scene" per se, which might explain their relative obscurity despite consistently issuing such quality material. But, for the record, with the exception of 1990s also stellar Symbol of Salvation, never was the group's bombastic style better represented than on their 1984 debut March of the Saint, which is so straightforward a metal record, it's almost hard to describe. An orchestrated guitar theme introduces the memorable title track, and further highlights such as "Can U Deliver," "Madhouse," and the astonishing "Take a Turn" are as commendable for their maturity and power as they are for their sense of economy. The dual-guitar team of Dave Prichard and Phil Sandoval is simply incredible considering their young ages (too bad they would soon fall out), dueling it out for solo after amazing solo throughout the disk. The album's second half isn't quite as strong as the first, but March of the Saint still qualifies as an overlooked classic of American metal. [This edition contains bonus tracks.]

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