BravePicks 2020 - ARMORED SAINT's Punching The Sky #7

December 25, 2020, 3 years ago

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BravePicks 2020 - ARMORED SAINT's Punching The Sky #7

If there was any year that music was a true saviour, it was 2020. The ultimate diversion, as the world sits in virtual stagnation waiting anxiously for a fix. We will keep it brief here with the COVID commentary. Let’s let the music speak for itself. It is time to unveil our annual BravePicks countdown, where the devout scribes at BraveWords cast their votes at the hits and misses of the year! So who will be our #1? You’ll find out as we count down the BravePick Of 2020 each day in December! 

Everybody has an opinion and it’s time for ours! And stay tuned in January for the writers’ individual Top 20s (new studio albums ONLY), Top 5 Brave Embarrassments (a fan favorite!), What/Who Needs To Stop In 2021? and Metal Predictions For 2021. Sadly no concerts. But all will be showcased come the New Year!

This virus can go to hell! Let’s let the Top 30 releases of 2020 rock your world!

BravePicks 2020

7) ARMORED SAINT - Punching The Sky (Metal Blade)

Veteran metallers Armored Saint never seem to miss a beat. Five years after the sturdy Win Hands Down, new salvo Punching The Sky doesn’t whiff as the long-running lineup of John Bush, Gonzo Sandoval, Phil Sandoval, Jeff Duncan, and Joey Vera have again high-quality heavy metal. No weak jabs to found here as the Saint lands their punches with great ferocity. The guitar tandem of Sandoval and Duncan stands out with phenomenal riff work and Bush as usual kills it vocally, proving once again he is one of the best singers in metal. Punching The Sky is a pure knockout and sees the Saint standing tall once again with their fist raised in the air. 

Scribe Rich Catino praised the album in his review: And talk about settling into a groove, damn, if "End Of the Attention Span" instantly doesn't grab you to bang your head and sing, well then maybe you are losing your metal ear. Lots of great solo work too in this one. Drums begin "Bubble", the music more of a modern rock radio interplay between the rhythmic riffs, bass, and drum patterns. Again, more well phrased lead work. Vera takes the helm for the moody "My Jurisdiction", while drums build up the punch (of the sky) for "Do Wrong To None", and wow how this one settles in the catchy, riffy, crunchy rhythm. Really enjoy how this flows between variety in the tempo, riffs, and delivery. "Missile To Gun", "Never You Fret" are the only two that have that direct old school ‘80s Saint feel. "Bark, No Bite" creates a counter balance with the melodic verses and angrier chorus. Bush singing really smooth and clean, grit-less for "Unfair", his moment in the spotlight.   


BravePicks 2020 Top 30

7) ARMORED SAINT - Punching The Sky (Metal Blade)
8) ANNIHILATOR - Ballistic, Sadistic (Silver Lining)
9) ALCATRAZZ - Born Innocent (Silver Lining)
10) NAPALM DEATH - Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism (Century Media)
11) UNLEASH THE ARCHERS - Abyss (Napalm)
12) BLACK STONE CHERRY - The Human Condition (Mascot)
13) HAUNT - Mind Freeze (Shadow Kingdom)
14) ANAAL NATHRAKH - Endarkenment
15) AC/DC - PWRϟUP (Columbia/Sony)
16) BENEDICTION - Scriptures (Nuclear Blast)
17) KATAKLYSM - Unconquered (Nuclear Blast)
18) BLACKGUARD - Storm (Independent)
19) MEXICAN APE-LORD - Survival Cannibalism (Unable)
20) THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER - Verminous (Metal Blade)
21) ENSIFERUM - Thalassic (Metal Blade)
22) PROTEST THE HERO - Palimpsest (Spinefarm)
23) SODOM - Genesis XIX (Steamhammer)
24) INCANTATION - Sect Of Vile Divinities (Relapse)
25) MIDNIGHT - Rebirth By Blasphemy (Metal Blade)
26) NAGLFAR - Cerecloth (Century Media)
27) RAVEN - Metal City (SPV/Steamhammer)
28) KIRK WINDSTEIN - Dream In Motion (Entertainment One)
29) VANDEN PLAS - The Ghost Xperiment: Illumination (Frontiers)
30) GREEN CARNATION - Leaves of Yesteryear (Season of Mist)

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