Arma Angelus – The Grave End of the Shovel EP

Arma Angelus
The Grave End of the Shovel EP

Arma Angelus is a solid Midwestern hardcore band from the windy city of Chicago. The band is comprised of ex-members of Race Traitor and Extinction, two of the better hardcore bands out of Chicago in recent memory. Race Traitor was one of the most significant hardcore bands from the last few years as they injected politics, debate, and thought into an ideologically stagnant hardcore scene. Arma Angelus continues along these lines, although in a different way. The message is not as up-front and in-your-face as Race Traitor’s, but, as the hardcore scene seems to have become predominantly devoid of thought again the past couple of years, Arma brings a mix of gloom, introspection, and politics that force the listener to think.

The six-song EP starts off with an intro featuring tribal sounding beats and down tuned, heavy guitar sound. It’s a sign of what’s to come as Arma is just getting warmed up. The intro fades with a sample and moves right into “The Mortal Escapist.” Pete Wentz’s growling vocals mixed with some chugging guitars propel the song forward until it finally ends with a barrage of pick squeals and mosh riffs that truly hit hard. One of the other standout tracks is “The Death of Sociopathic Americana.” This song brings a touch of melody to the heaviness, a counterpoint to Wentz’s vocals. “Misanthrope” is another solid track featuring sludgy chords mixed with Slayer type leads at times – not as elaborate as those metal giants, but the mix fits perfectly into the feel of the record.

Overall, this EP is a powerful mix of Black Sabbath riffs and Damnation AD heaviness with a surprising element of melody in some of their songs. This gives the album a slightly eclectic feel and sets their sound apart from other bands out there. There are some interesting samples sprinkled throughout the record as well that add to the depressing tone of the music. The lyrics are more personal but definitely focus on the dark side of humanity. The songs deal with depression and frustration with an apathetic society.

Arma Angelus is one of the best hardcore bands going in the Midwest at the moment. Not only does their debut EP deliver, but they pack a wallop of a live show as well. Their next release is set to be out on Eulogy Records sometime near the end of the year. If Grave End is a sign of things to come, then Arma Angelus should be one of the bands to watch in the near future.