Armory – The Dawn Of Enlightenment (2007, independent release)
Faith In Steel
Riding The Cosmic Winds
Heart Of Dreams
Forged In Dragon Flames
The Eyes Of Time
The Dawn Of Enlightenment
Flight Of Icarus* (bonus track)
Dr. Wily* (bonus track)
Adam Kurland – Vocals
Joe Kurland – Rhythm/Lead/Acoustic Guitars, Session Drums
Chad Fisher – Rhythm/Lead/Acoustic Guitars
Thomas Preziosi – Bass
Peter Rutcho – Keyboards
Tom Vieira – Live Drums
Produced by: Armory
Total Time – 1:09:48
Armory is a Heavy Metal band from Townshend, Massachusetts…..my backyard! Living in Rhode Island, I have a very sparse scene, you have to go seek it out. I look all over New England for new Hard Rock/Heavy Metal bands but I totally missed Armory. The band was formed in 2001 by Chad Fisher and Joe Kurland and, by 2004, they had recorded their first album, THE DAWN OF ENLIGHTENMENT. The 2004 version got some attention but the band decided that they would be better served if they went back to the studio and re-recorded the album and produced a more professional looking package. The result is the 2007 version of THE DAWN OF ENLIGHTENMENT and the 2004 is now considered a demo.
So what does the band sound like? Armory is a blend of Traditional Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Progressive, and Thrash. There are times I compare them to Blind Guardian, Primal Fear or Hammerfall, sometimes Dragonforce, Helloween, and Gamma Ray, there’s also some Manowar in there. There’s a superb twin axe attack with some really fiery guitar solos, pounding double bass drums, keyboards that enhances the Metal and isn’t overbearing, and great lead vocals. Now many people may roll their eyes and say that if you’ve heard one Power Metal band then you’ve heard them all but this isn’t the case with Armory. I’ve sat with this record for weeks comparing it to classic albums from my collection and, while there are influences from the bands above, there is a uniqueness, a freshness to the music.
‘The Tempest’ is an atmospheric instrumental intro that leads right into the blazing ‘Faith In Steel’, a song title worthy of the mighty Manowar and music lead by blazing guitars and that trademark double bass drum. Right away, I noticed that lead vocalist Adam Kurland has great pipes and doesn’t have to hit the highs all the time, there’s a control that Adam has that keeps him within the song rather than way above it…..an annoying aspect many more famous bands use. ‘Riding The Cosmic Winds’ is a classic waiting to be discovered by the Metal masses and is probably the best example of what Armory is all about. It’s epic, has twin leads and double bass but the vocals are really great. The band sounds like Power Metal veterans three songs in.
The slower ‘Forever Triumphant’ starts out with a clean soft guitar and keyboard background. The Manowar influence comes out with the chorus, the background vocals make it big and bombastic and it sounds almost exact. What I like is the guitar solo about two minutes in that seems a little out of place but keeps the song fresh. ‘Heart Of Dreams’ has a more melodic approach that really sets it apart but it’s all Metal. I’d say this would be a single because the chorus has a catchy hook, one of my favorite tunes on the album. The dueling guitars on ‘Warrior Forlorn’ do not disappoint and I find that Adam Kurland keeps getting better with every song and he has to be considered one of the best up and coming U.S. singers in the genre.
‘Forged In Dragon Flames’ is an instrumental track that lets the band loose and show off what they can do. Want to hear amazing musicianship from a new band? Listen to this. ‘The Eyes Of Time’ has some amazing drumming that just duels the guitar. The bass is a little higher in the mix, or maybe it’s my system, but I like that bass. One of the highlights of the album is the bass playing and it can be hard to notice with everything going on. ‘Mystic Star’ is another melodic song with some really soaring guitarwork but the jewel of the album is the 13+ minute title track. Talk about epic! This song has so many layers to it, so much to listen to, that the listener can get a little overwhelmed. I’m glad they left it as the last proper album track because it feels like the other nine songs were building momentum to get to ‘The Dawn Of Enlightenment’. The song may be a little too long for some people but I really enjoyed it…..I had to remind myself that this wasn’t a Metal band with 20 years under their studded belts, that’s what makes this song and album so good.
Armory decided to add a couple of cool bonus covers in for good measure. As you all know, I hate covers but ‘Flight Of Icarus’ is probably my favorite Iron Maiden song and Armory does one of the best dead on covers I’ve ever heard. It’s extremely close to the original. Where these guys came up with the ‘Dr. Wily’ theme from Nintendo’s Mega Man 2 video game is beyond me but it’s really amazing. I would never think to cover a video game theme! I went online to find the original because it’s been many moons since I last played Mega Man 2 but I got shutout and I couldn’t compare the two.
Hard to believe that Armory is basically a rookie band with only one proper album because they are leaps and bounds better than some of the Metal bands signed to labels right now. Usually you find this quality Power Metal coming from Europe but it’s nice to see a band from the U.S. staking their claim and releasing a powerful record. I’m looking forward to another Armory album in the future because these guys are the real deal. People need to check this album out, I haven’t stop playing it since it came in the mail. Favorite songs: ‘Faith in Steel’, ‘Riding The Cosmic Winds’, ‘Heart Of Dreams’, ‘Mystic Star’, ‘The Dawn Of Enlightenment’, and ‘Flight Of Icarus’