Armory – The Dawn Of Enlightenment (2007)

Armory - The Dawn Of Enlightenment (2007)

Armory – The Dawn Of Enlightenment (2007, independent release)

  1. The Tempest
  2. Faith In Steel
  3. Riding The Cosmic Winds
  4. Forever Triumphant
  5. Heart Of Dreams
  6. Warrior Forlorn
  7. Forged In Dragon Flames
  8. The Eyes Of Time
  9. Mystic Star
  10. The Dawn Of Enlightenment
  11. Flight Of Icarus* (bonus track)
  12. Dr. Wily* (bonus track)

Band Lineup:
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 official website
Armory MySpace page

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.

Bottom Line:
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’

Van Halen tour cancelled!

UPDATE – 4:00 pm, 3/3/08: The Dallas show tonight at the American Airlines Center has been postponed. The venue’s website and automated phone systems were down for most of the day, I tried both to get information. More as it happens!

 Eddie Van Halen & Diamond Dave 2008

From Bravewords:

Sources tell TMZ the VAN HALEN tour has just been canceled. The report reads as follows: “We’re told arrangements are being made right now to cancel hotel stays for the tour — which was scheduled to continue through April 19th. Sources tell us the reason for the cancellation is Eddie — that he is having ‘issues.’ The last three shows had already been canceled. There have been reports that Eddie was out of it during concerts — and video of recent performances in which his guitar playing was atrocious. Reps could not be reached for comment.”

From Melodicrock.com:

VAN HALEN TOUR CANCELLED:

Gossip website TMZ.com is reporting all remaining 2008 Van Halen tour dates have been cancelled.

“I can confirm, 100% that this is absolutely correct and there will be no further live shows at this time. We can get to the reasons behind this decision in a later update – but right now I can confirm that the tour is off, but I’m told that there is still some hope that dates might be rescheduled at a later date (to be determined at some other point in time…). I can add that any possible issues with vocalist David Lee Roth are not behind the tour cancellation.” — Andrew McNeice (Melodicrock.com)

————————————————————–

If anyone would be able to confirm this it’s Andrew. I’m usually skeptical when TMZ reports something but Andrew is a top flight music reporter and he has inside connections in the Van Halen camp. If he can confirm it, I’d bet it’s true.

Thank god I didn’t buy a ticket! They were going for $100 for a good seat in Providence, RI.

— Steve

R.I.P. – Jeff Healey (1966-2008)

Jeff Healey

R.I.P. – Jeff Healey (1966-2008)

From JeffHealey.com:

March 2, 2008

Guitarist and bandleader Jeff Healey dies in Toronto hospital.

Following a lengthy struggle with cancer, Healey passes away on the eve of the release of a new blues rock album.

Jeff Healey, arguably one of the most distinctive guitar players of our time, died today (Sunday March 2) in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Toronto. He was 41, and leaves his wife, Cristie, daughter Rachel (13) and son Derek (three), as well as his father and step-mother, Bud and Rose Healey, and sisters Laura and Linda. Funeral and memorial arrangements are pending.

Robbed of his sight as a baby due to a rare form of cancer, retino blastoma, and he started to play guitar when he was three, holding the instrument unconventionally across his lap. He formed his first band at 17, but soon formed a trio which was named the Jeff Healey Band. After his appearance in the movie Road House, he was signed to Arista records, and in 1988 released the Grammy-nominated album See the Light, which included a major hit single, Angel Eyes. He earned a Juno Award in 1990 as Entertainer of the Year. Two more albums emerged on Arista, with lessening success as the ’90s passed. Various “best-of” and live packages were released, and he recorded two more rock albums, before turning to his real love, classic American jazz from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s. By then, however, Healey was an internationally-known star who had played with dozens of musicians, including B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and recorded with George Harrison. Mark Knopfler and the late blues legend, Jimmy Rogers.

A family man with a three-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter he preferred to stay close to home. “I’ve traveled widely before — been there and done that,” he told friends, determined to avoid the lengthy, exhausting tours that marked his life in his twenties and early thirties. A long-running CBC Radio series saw him in the role of disc jockey — My Kinda Jazz was a staple for a while, but in recent years he had hosted a programme with a similar name on Jazz-FM in Toronto. A highlight of his broadcasts was always the use of rare — and rarely heard — music from his 30,000-plus collection of 78-rpm records. As his rock career wound down as the millennium came, he recorded a series of three album of early jazz, playing trumpet as well as acoustic guitar in a band he called Jeff Healey’s Jazz Wizards. The most recent was It’s Tight Like That, recorded live at Hugh’s Room in Toronto in 2005, with British jazz legend Chris Barber as guest star.

At the time of his death he was about to see the release of his first rock/blues album in eight years, Mess of Blues, which is being released in Europe on March 20, and in Canada and the U.S. on April 22. The album was the result of a joint agreement between the German label, Ruf Records, and Stony Plain, the independent Edmonton-based label that has released his three jazz CDs.
Mess of Blues was recorded in studios in Toronto, with two cuts recorded at the Jeff Healey’s Roadhouse in Toronto and two at a concert in London England. The backup group on the upcoming CD — the Healey’s House Band — played with him regularly at the downtown Roadhouse, and at a previous club bearing his name in the Queen-Bathurst area.

Early last year, Healey underwent surgery to remove cancerous tissue from his legs, and later from both lungs; aggressive radiation treatments and chemotherapy, however, failed to halt the spread of the disease. Despite his battle with cancer, he undertook frequent tours across Canada with both his blues-based band and his jazz group; he was set for a major tour in Germany and the U.K. and was to be a guest on the BBC’s famed Jools Holland Show in April.
Remembered by his musicians — and his audiences — for his wry sense of humour as well as his musical playfulness, Healey was a unique musician who bridged different genres with ease and assurance.