After a decade-plus, Christopher Amott (guitars/clean vocals) and his band ARMAGEDDON returns with just-released new record Captivity & Devourment, now available on Listenable Records. I had to sit with this one for a little while before I could review it. I’m not sure why that is, but I couldn’t figure out what to say about it. Not because the music or vocals were bad, on the contrary. But I just couldn’t find a way to write anything until now. Sometimes this happens. I’ll get a record I’ve been dying to hear, I pop it in, let it wash over me, and I simply can’t come up with anything. So I give it another go, and usually this is when I decide if I’m going to like it or hate it. I already knew I liked the music on it because, let’s face it…it’s ARMAGEDDON. But I was drawing a blank as far as what I wanted to say.
Well, now that I’m over that silliness, let me tell you people that Captivity & Devourment is one hell of an addition to the group’s discography. As soon as the title track delivers the uppercut/roundhouse combo to the face you’ll see exactly what I mean. Vocalist Matt Hallquist is a goddamn fire-breathing dragon and one listen to “Locked In” and “Rendition” should convince anyone who believes otherwise. “Rendition” has a killer riff courtesy of Amott and fellow axe man Joey Concepcion that slices through bone and the deep growls are on a par with any I’ve heard in a long time. Amott’s cleans are right on target and the two styles complement each other perfectly. Everything about “Fugitive Dust” points to it being one of the album’s best and one of my personal favorites. From the space-age intro to the throwback riff, this one hits all five points on the star.
Imagine you’ve kicked a hornet’s nest and a bunch of angry stingers are headed your way. That’s exactly how angry the guitar sound is on “Conquer”, and the running leads throughout are the sonic equivalent of what happens when those stingers meet your flesh. “Thanatron” starts off with an acoustic intro followed by a thunderous beat courtesy of bassist Sara Claudius and drummer Márton Veress who show that this song is theirs, and the rest of the band is lucky to be playing with them. Without a good rhythm section your band sucks, and these two are outstanding, here and across the board. “Background Radiation” brings in some more acoustic guitars for a two-minute upbeat interlude that gives way to a triumvirate of “HOLY-FUCK-HOW-AWESOME-IS-THIS?!?!?” songs in “The Watcher”, “Equalizer”, and “Giants.”
The vocal harmonies in “Watcher” just might melt your pants off like they did mine. The combination of melody and death during “Equalizer” will have many of you reaching for your inhalers and closer “Giants” is just that…a giant. It’s one big bastard of a song that is not only a sensational way to end the disc, it’s also one of the best it has to offer. ARMAGEDDON has returned with way more than a vengeance, my friends. With Captivity & Devourment they are on a mission to burn the village to the ground and claim the spoils of war. My advice would be to either join them or get the hell out of their way!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM