There are few bands that constantly manage to baffle me the way The Armed does. In the 2010s, they made a name for themselves as a Hardcore band. The ensemble quickly became banner bearers for a new punk generation that lost its fear of contact with Indie. In 2021, they dropped a bombshell. On »Ultrapop«, The Armed fully leaned into the maximalist aspects of its influences. Indie crooning, Pop synths, Riot Grrrl vocals, mathcore riffs and dissonances that made Voivod look tame – The Armed operated all genres at the same time. »Ultrapop« felt like the advent of a new style. Alas, The Armed didn’t receive the memo. »Perfect Saviors« is straight-up Alt Rock. Its songs center around genres suitable for the masses. »Everything’s Glitter« is guided by Stadion Rock à la Foo Fighters. »Liar 2« mixes up Indietronica. The album ends with a silky double ballad. The Armed demonstrates musical mastery, nonetheless. All songs are concise and full of hooks. Hardcore and Noise continue to be integral constituents. The Japanese scene already has proven that there is no antithesis between harsh music and the mainstream. But in contrast to J-Rock, extremes are not primarily a means to amplify emotions here. The Armed’s approach is reminiscent of Sonic Youth’s: popular genres are a medium, in which avant-gardist ideas can unfold. I had hoped for »Ultrapop 2.0«. But to be honest, it’s been a while since I had as much fun as with »Perfect Saviors«. Disappointment of the year?
Perfect Saviors Black Vinyl Edition