After the success of 2015’s Win Hands Down and quite a bit of touring it only makes sense that ARMORED SAINT would put out their first live record in almost 30 years to celebrate all the goings on. I’m pretty picky/hard to please when it comes to my live albums. If the power and energy of the band doesn’t come through on the audio recording then chances are being there isn’t much better. Thankfully I can count on onE hand the amount of boring ones I’ve had to sit through. So, does Carpe Noctum (February 24, Metal Blade Records) pass muster? You better believe it.
Recorded at the band’s 2015 Wacken Open Air set as well as their headlining show in Aschaffenburg, Germany, the quintet gets to work immediately with “Win Hands Down,” sending an immediate message that the intensity is on “10” so you better keep up. This point is only hammered home further by “March of the Saint” which has rows of razor sharp teeth. Vocalist John Bush…man, I don’t know how he does it. That voice is every bit as strong as it was on Saints Will Conquer. Gonzo Sandoval on drums bangs, slides, and grooves his way through the songs, especially “Stricken By Fate”, guitarists Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan riff serve up riff after riff, and bassist Joey Vera is the longtime glue holding these tunes together.
“Last Train Home” from 1991’s Symbol of Salvation was a favorite from first listen. It’s one of those moments where you can just tell everyone is locked in, and again, Bush’s voice is just insane! And the same can be said for newer track “Mess” which has even more attitude and bite than its studio counterpart. When “Aftermath” starts it gets one of the biggest crowd reactions and rightfully so. When that riff gets its hooks into you, coupled with the sinister slowed down parts, that’s a wrap. Such a great weapon in the ARMORED SAINT arsenal, and well-represented here.
“Left Hook From Right Field” with its crunching guitar tone and Bush’s screams of “HEAVEN!” and “Reign of Fire” serve as the perfect way to close out a fiery live set of tunes. All of them rock especially hard, and if I had one complaint, it’s just that the record is a bit short at only eight songs. I would have loved two or three more, but that’s really a small issue, and certainly doesn’t take away from the ferocity of Carpe Noctum. In fact it’s one you’ll probably find yourself spinning multiple times a day, like I’ve been doing. Get your copy February 24 and crank that shit, Jackson!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Last Train Home”, “Win Hands Down”, “Left Hook From Right Field”, “Aftermath”