Armed for Apocalypse - The Road Will End | Review

I recall listening to Armed for Apocalypse’s 2009 debut ‘Defeat’ (or at least tells me I did). But the impression if left wasn’t very strong. Strength however, is the first thing that comes to mind with sophomore effort ‘The Road Will End’. Featuring former members of Brain in a Cage and The Abominable Iron Sloth, among others, this California quartet delivers 42 minutes of absolutely devastating sludgecore.
Right out of the gate vocalist/guitarist Kirk Williams’ scream penetrates the cortex as guitarist Cayle Hunter, bassist Corey Vaspra and drummer Nick Harris wreak downturned and impactful vengeance on the stunned listener. Huge riffs, heavy as a lead boot tone, and Williams’ battle cries grab you by the shirt and hurl you to the ground (“Better World”). Once there the listener is dragged through the mud as the album progresses. Heaving and muscular riffs pound the listener into the sludge over and over with chugging rhythms and some of the sickest breakdowns this side of the swine flu.
“The Well” showcases AforA’s propensity for dynamics amidst their punishing assault. Starting with a heavy as fuck doom riff (think Serpentcult’s ‘Weight of Light’) and the aforementioned crushing breakdowns, the track gradually opens up with Crowbar-esque tone. The clouds part in the face of soaring guitars rising into the sky, building with momentum to burst apart in an explosion of light. “The Well” completes its journey from the subterranean to the sky bound and back again in epic fashion.
The remainder of ‘The Road Will End’ is no less spirited. Hardcore forcefulness, pit-rousing groove, Helmet worship, and d-beat swagger put the meat on the bones of the living breathing weapon that makes up one of the flat out heaviest records of the year. As angry as the band sounds, the spirit of battle and perseverance resonate from the immensely powerful sludge of AforA. It all builds to a climax on “Happy Hour (Disciple of Death)” and finishes with the acoustic dénouement of “Ends Meet” leaving the listener beaten and sore but invigorated and yearning for more.

Matt Hinch

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Matt Hinch lives an unassuming life on the backroads outside Forest Mills, Ontario, Canada. He packs in as much metal as he possible can amid factory work, raising three daughters with his wife and working the land. In addition to Scratch the Surface Matt also writes for Hellbound, Ghost Cult Magazine, About Heavy Metal and his own blog, Kingdom of Noise.
Keep up with him on Twitter @MetalMatt_KofN.