Published May 04, 2018The Armed are an unpredictable and unrelenting force in noise music. The Detroit collective never keep a stable lineup, perform secret shows under made-up names, and on their third full-length studio album, Only Love, the band craft a vicious mix of hardcore punk and noise rock with a heavy dose of electronics injected throughout.
Opening track "Witness" gets the album off on a heavy start, with drums furiously pounding away underneath thick guitars and synthesizers. The song's aggressive yet uplifting feel sets the pace, with tracks such as "Role Models" and "Apperception" following in the same suit. That isn't to say the entire record is happy aggression though. Songs like "Fortune's Daughter" and "Luxury Themes" bring out the gloomier side, with dense noise, heavily layered vocals and an almost cinematic quality.
The band use each instrument on the record as a building block to create a massive wall of sound. The album is best suited to listen to through headphones, due to the complex layering of each noise, but upon each listen, there are new elements to be discovered. The band's use of shoegaze elements and clean singing are a breath of freshness amongst the hardcore shrieks, squealing guitars and blast beats, but are still elaborate and packed with layers of noise.
Only Love finds itself drifting between violent, chaotic madness and a heartwarming atmosphere. While the record is ambitious and at times difficult to unpack, the band have something to offer for any fan of experimental heavy music. (Throatruiner Records)