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Armored Saint: Win Hands Down

West Coast heavy metal veterans keep their motor running

If consistency was a power source, Armored Saint could illuminate a small city. Few heavy metal bands can match what this LA crew have generated, and Win Hands Down has all the Saint finery.

Under no pressure these days, the band record albums when they feel the circumstances are right, which is why this is all fired up on every level. Phil Sandoval’s and Jeff Duncan’s riffs are disciplined yet riotous and John Bush’s vocals are smoothly incendiary.

What really clinches the deal, though, is that the quintet have recorded nine quickfire anthems, going for quality rather than lacing the album with filler. The title track rattles through the gears and sets the pace for what’s to come.

Mess, An Exercise In Debauchery and Muscle Memory continue the full-throttle revelry, and if Dive reins back a little, then Up Yours is a suitably blasting finalé. This might be their best album since 1984’s March Of The Saint./o:p

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. He would later become a founding member of RAW rock magazine in 1988.

In the early 90s, Malcolm Dome was the Editor of Metal Forces magazine, and also involved in the horror film magazine Terror, before returning to Kerrang! for a spell. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He was actively involved in Total Rock Radio, which launched as Rock Radio Network in 1997, changing its name to Total Rock in 2000. In 2014 he joined the TeamRock online team as Archive Editor, uploading stories from all of our print titles and helping lay the foundation for what became Louder.

Dome was the author of many books on a host of bands from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin and Metallica, some of which he co-wrote with Prog Editor Jerry Ewing.