Unfortunately, good bands come and go no matter how big they become all the time. Personal conflicts, outside responsibilities, frustration with the industry, among countless other things all take their toll on performing musicians. While fans often lift them up as super-human, they are not. Most musicians I know, big or small, share a single, what should be obvious goal: to share a piece of themselves through their undying passion for music. The Hollywood glitz and glamor media crowd would have you believe it to be driven by money, fame, girls or whatever other vice fascinates the artist being the driving factor.
I am calling bull-shit on this for the vast majority of artists out there scratching and clawing just to play local venues to small crowds or even a couple of people that are willing to come out and give a band some love. These artists have but one vice: the music and its connection to the heart. Sure, money and fame are nice but are results of a connection to something they have created and gifted their fan base, not something their fans gave them. Band members know this has to be earned and do their best to make these deep connections with others through sharing pieces of themselves in the musical arena. Such is the case with Modern Day Escape, I Woke Up Early For My Funeral, Spun and Lit Up; all successful endeavors, be they local and/or international touring acts. So what happens when frustration with the main-stream music industry pushes these bands beyond the breaking point but they refuse to give up their dreams? Bands like Armada are formed to breathe new life into what has become a job instead of a passion.
Based out of Orlando, Armada is a supergroup of the aforementioned band members that formed in March as an effort to push back against what they dislike about the industry and putting their own skins in the game. Why do anything if it is perceived to be pointless, frustrating and brings you nothing but a paycheck? Life is do damned short for this foolishness. Members Jerimiah James on vocals, Tee Jay and Ryan Danley on guitars, Mike Ferrell on bass and drummer Josh Lough have aligned their talents and just released an incredible, six song EP entitled Of An Ocean doing what they want because it is on their dime; the industry demands be damned. “A form of musical anarchy in a way” as stated on their media outlets. This takes some serious onions to turn their backs on the “industry”, especially with their combined achievements; again proving that success is driven from within, not from one’s surroundings. Falling into Metalcore, Armada’s “music is tough, heavy, loud, aggressive, raw, and the performance of each member every night is even more breathless in a form of sweat, blood, and tears coming from the most honest and truthful form in themselves.” One listen will drive this point home like Thor pounding thumb tacks. The music is much heavier than any of the bands Armada’s members formerly belonged to; mixing catchy guitar riffs with melodic rhythms, often mathy leads, a mixture of screamed verses with many clean, emotive choruses, blasting drums and interesting time changes throughout. Five months from conception to Of An Ocean? What in the hell is this devilry? The sheer quality of sound, lyrical content and production should not be possible in such a short period of time but showcases the brute talent, focus and single-minded direction the band and its individual members took from its onset. Consider me extremely impressed and speaks volumes of the honest passion Armada puts forward into their brand of self-actualization. To be brutally honest, I am generally not a huge fan of most Metalcore but find Armada contagious and an absolute pleasure to listen to because they are so emotionally raw, so honest, so driven and obviously enthusiastic about their music. It is something tangible and real that runs straight through me. This is the connection that makes bands like Armada great and cannot be artificially manufactured. Songs included on this extremely candid release include “Like An Anchor”, “The Fire the Flame” and “Riot the Kings”, reflecting the positive perspective self reliance and having faith in yourself while “The Fire the Flame” and “Carousel” encourage that no one is alone if they know who really has their six or simply seeing the beauty around you if you open your eyes to it in “Wake Me Up”. Even with no throw-aways to fill time, the real stand out on Of An Ocean is “Bury the Wolf” which directs rage with laser precision at the music industry and those dream slayers that shattered bands of the past while warmly thanking fans for sticking with them over the years and turmoil; almost as an apology for what may have felt like an abandonment of their fans. Very, very moving, thoughtful and mature material throughout.
This Metalcore leviathan (sorry, I had to succumb to at least one sea monster reference), Of An Ocean is available now on iTunes, Amazon and everywhere music is sold. In all seriousness, please support Aramada and bands like them because their music, their passion, their message and their outright love of their fans is what makes Metal a family, not just something to kill time in the background. To you, Armada proudly states on their site: “Without you there would be no US!!! Thank you!!!!”.