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'Win Hands Down'
(Metal Blade Records)
Release date: June 2nd 2015

Jeff Kunze

jeff kuntze

armored saint

The march of the Saint continues to stomp forward with the band's seventh studio offering 'Win Hands Down'. This album contains all the trappings expected but branches into new territory as well.

There's more musical freedom throughout, as songs aren't tied to traditional structures. The finished product is a blitz of Metal worthy of the Armored Saint name.

The five-year drought of new music is quickly erased as the opening track, 'Win Hands Down', breaks the silence with a dose of Metal adrenaline. A short, almost jazz infused, interlude is inserted out of nowhere. It's just one of the unexpected moments that keep things unpredictable.

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Another rocker entitled 'Mess' is next. Chants of "annihilate" and heavy riffing drive this beast. A surprising short sitar section jumps into the mix just long enough to add another dimension of sound and dynamic to the song and more twists and turns are found in 'An Exercise In Debauchery' and even more so on 'Muscle Memory'.

The verses on 'Muscle Memory' have a great vibe with the vocals riding on top of the bass line and a guitar tone that seems to be floating around the lyrics. The bridge into the solo is a powerful shift and is as memorable as the chorus.

The power Metal grooved 'That Was Then, Way Back When' fuels a galloping pace to a song Bush wrote about his generation's desire to connect online.

My favorite track is a first in the band's catalog. Never before has Bush shared lead vocals with a female. Pearl Aday joins Armored Saint on 'A Full Head Of Steam' and nails it. The two play off each other perfectly as the musical engine fires on all cylinders.

The dark toned haunting vocal and acoustic guitar begin 'In An Instant'. A song inspired by the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon. A dose of harsh reality that life can be changed forever in a single second. For the first ever a piano was used as the lead instrument for the brilliant song 'Dive'. An example of Vera not being afraid to push the boundaries that's defined them for three decades.

The last song, creatively titled 'Up Yours', is a big Metal stamp that brings the album to its conclusion.

'Win Hands Down' delivers everything you would want and expect from a band with such a rich history in Metal. Packaging the vintage Metal sound and adding a modern feel and production. The songs are full of riffs, ripping guitar solos, and musical imagination. It's all things Armored Saint... and more!

John Bush - Vocals
Joey Vera - Bass
Phil Sandoval - Guitar
Jeff Duncan - Guitar
Gonzo Sandoval - Drums

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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