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Armored Saint - New Album + interview

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Armored Saint - New Album + interview

Old 03-18-10, 10:59 PM
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Armored Saint - New Album + interview

I just posted an interview I did with Joey Vera of Armored Saint (who just released their new album, La Raza, on Tuesday).

Here are some highlights...

Symbol of Salvation is considered by many to be the musical high water mark for Armored Saint (and I consider it to be one of the 10 best Heavy Metal albums of all time), but with the passing of Dave Prichard that must have been an extremely difficult time for the band. How did you get through the making of that album, and did you guys have any idea just how good the album would turn out to be as you were recording and mixing it?

- We felt compelled to see the record through knowing that Dave (and us) had worked so hard on the writing. It was pretty difficult emotionally but we were driven by desire. We knew that we had done something special when it was done.

After Nod to the Old School did you think that Armored Saint would do another album? And if so, did you think it would be another 9 year stretch between albums?

- I had no idea, really. We dont work in the sense that we say, in 2 years well do another record. We just let things be. But, honestly looking back, I would not have guessed it would have taken 9 more years.

The new album is called La Raza and will be out shortly. What can you tell us about the progression of this album from the last couple of all new Saint albums (Symbol and Revelation)? Is this more of a progression, or did you take a different approach this time?

- For me, like life, its all about progression. For me, I hope to think that I become a better songwriter with each year that passes. So, my goal was to really exercise that idea. I think the songwriting on this record is some of the best Ive ever written for Saint.

How did you guys get together to start writing for La Raza, and what was that process like?

- Again it came out of a conversation between John and I around May 2008. I gave him a couple of tunes and he wrote lyrics for them, and we demoed them. We got on a roll and wrote 4 tunes, then we decided to talk to the other guys about making a new Saint record and they all agreed. So John and I continued to write for the next 9 months, writing when we found time to do so. We had a great time working on this because we were pretty much writing from a place where we had no time table or obligations.

Was there a point prior to Raising Fear where you guys had concerns that Chrysalis might not be the best label for Armored Saint?

- Yeah about 2 weeks after we signed our record deal in 1984. We were approached by Cliff Burnstein (manager for Q Prime) and we were about to sign with him. And his first words were I hate Chrysalis records.

You worked with Michael James Jackson on March of the Saint. What did you think of him as a producer, and what was it like working with him?

- He was going through some personal issues during the whole time. Maybe getting divorced or something so he was constantly on the phone. We did not connect with him at all and in hindsight, we should have not worked with him. But the label really wanted it. It was not really a fun record to make, but what did we know? It was our first.

After that you worked with Max Norman on Delirious Nomad. What was it like working with him, and how was that different from working with Jackson?

- More like it. Max understood metal and he is British. We connected and made a really good record. He was way more on the same page as us. He was a bit of a task master and in some cases a little challenging but in the end we made a good record.

Then there's Symbol of Salvation, which you co-produced with Dave Jerden. What was it like working with Jerden?

- Working with Dave was great. Hes such a vibe guy, he know when to make a band be their best without making anything his own. And when it came time for him to let someone in the band run the show, he would leave the studio and come back later. I took production credit because there was a lot of times that I was amking decisions that he felt like I know better, so he left. But I knew that he was overseeing the big picture so it was a good chemistry.

I thought the production job that you did on Revelation was fantastic. You actually did a lot of the engineering yourself, and Bill Metoyer (who did a lot of stuff for Metal Blade in the 80's) did the mix. What was it like working without a net and handling the production chores on an Armored Saint album all by yourself?

- Like flying by the seat of your pants. I knew that I had to deliver something good but I just wanted it to be like listening to Iron Maiden Killers. Just raw and in your face.

And now there's La Raza, which you again produced. Back from Symbol of Salvation was Bryan Calstrom, who engineered both. How was the recording and mixing process different this time (as opposed to Symbol or Revelation, or even the earlier albums)?

- Very different. We used the demos as templates for each song and Gonzo played along with the demos. Then we went back and replaced the bass, guitars, vocals etc. And in the end we kept a few things from the demos such as vocal tracks and guitar overdubs. Also, we made this record with all analog outboard gear which added to the vibe. It was like working how we did during the 80s. But we had to work fast. 5 weeks total.

The full interview can be read here (I posted about half of the interview above)...

Old 03-18-10, 11:01 PM
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Re: Armored Saint - New Album + interview

Here's the new single...

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Old 03-19-10, 07:06 AM
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Re: Armored Saint - New Album + interview

Big Armored Saint fan. I heard a few tracks on Eddie Trunk. I'm still waiting for the album to come from Amazon.
Old 03-19-10, 10:20 AM
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Re: Armored Saint - New Album + interview

I knew this album was dropping, but didn't realize it was already out. Gonna have to stop by Best Buy on the way home.

Thanks for posting the interview. Vera is one of the coolest (and hardest working) guys in metal and he's become a pretty good producer.
Old 03-20-10, 07:34 PM
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Re: Armored Saint - New Album + interview

I did an extensive review of La Raza here:

Bottom line? It's a good album, and well worth buying if you're an Armored Saint fan, but it isn't as good as Revelation or Symbol of Salvation.

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