Formed in 1982, LA metallers Armored Saint have been well respected and revered by fans and peers alike throughout their colourful and sometimes tragic career. Vocalist John Bush was given the opportunity to sing for Metallica after the release of their debut Kill ‘Em All as James Hetfield wasn’t confident enough as a singer and wanted to concentrate on guitar duties. We all know how that story ended, but I’ve often wondered how that collaboration would have sounded. Bush left Armored Saint in the 90s to join Anthrax after Joey Belladonna exited and that was effectively the end of Armored Saint until they reformed in 1999.
Their fourth album ‘Symbol of Salvation’ was released in 1991, this was the first album featuring guitarist Jeff Duncan after original member Dave Prichard died from leukemia before the recording of the album. Prichard had demoed a lot of the material that would end up on SOS and one of his guitar solos was used on the track Tainted Past. The album would go on to be well received and remains a fan favourite.
To celebrate the thirtieth birthday of ‘Symbol of Salvation’ we have been given a fantastic live recording and DVD of the album played in its entirety. Recorded in 2018 at New York’s Gramercy theatre, it captures the band in full flight. Bush sounds incredible (as always) and the band consisting of bassist Joey Vera, guitar duo Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan and Gonzo Sandoval on drums put in a fantastic performance. The album benefits from a punchy and clear mix and the album is available in various eye-catching formats. You can choose from a 2 CD/DVD digipak autographed by the band or a gatefold double vinyl ‘splatter’ LP. The vinyl version features demos from the 1989 writing of the album by Dave Prichard.
This is a great live album that really showcases one of metals most underrated bands that really should have crept up the ladder of success further than they did. Bassist Joey Vera sums up the album as follows – “All we’ve ever wanted was to make our own music, to take joy and take pride in doing it. The fact that we also have very loyal fans who continue to support what we do is the best icing on this cake. I try to look at our records as objectively as possible, and when I can do that, I’m very proud that this record is a huge part of the band’s legacy, and I am extremely humbled that I’m a part of that.”
Author: Kenny Kendrick