Label: Tmina Records/SoulPeddler
Date: July 7th, 2020
It was about time! Armageddon finally released a new album “Master of Piece”.
Formed in 1987, Armageddon has been recognized as a one man project of Đorđe Letić. Armageddon mastermind, who has always had ability to conjure metal and other music genres did it once again. Armageddon established itself as the first symphonic metal band not just in Serbia, but in East Europe. I can freely say that if they were not from this region, their worldwide success would be guaranteed. Unsurprisingly, the band is the least popular in home country. As the first Letić’s band, Tornado, was very popular in Germany and Japan, Armageddon it seems collected the fans in surrounding countries. Everything but not the homeland. Why I am not surprised at all?
Speaking of “Master of Piece”…
The first surprise and a big plus is limited 12″ vinyl. Hell yeah! Six songs are well packed and selected.
A side (Dark Side of Krsman) and B side (Dark Side of Shandor) guide us to an extraordinary, unusual idea of dividing songs into two groups adjusted to vocals.
Besides main vocalists, Miloš Krsmanović and Zoran Šandorov, some people involved in this project I know in person, to some I collaborated with, so I will try to be as much objective as I can.
At the beginning, I would avoid mentioning all the musicians, because, for sure, I will miss someone or in the worst case, I will tangle myself in a Gordian knot. On the hole, Armageddon delivers the perfect combination of formally trained musicians as well as high quality metal vocalists.
Considering the number of musicians involved in this project, it was not surprising that it took three years to assemble all the elements. Album, as complex as it is, required good organization and superhuman powers to gather a large number of musicians.
Let’s start with the side A.
The perfect album opener is “Kill the Leader”. Tragically, the song was written back in 1994 and still, 26 years later, still an actual theme. No matter if you are in Serbia, Hungary, Turkey or Belarus at the moment, with a small number of functional brain cells, you will stand behind the lyrics, that I will quote with pleasure and with no hesitation:
“Kill the leader, the leader of the night,
He is a madman, disguised Antichrist,
Kill the leader, break demonic spell,
Kill him now, before we all burn in hell.”
When You Tube marks the video as inappropriate or offensive, than you know you have a powerful weapon in your hands! In this case, “Just One Bullet”. This song, I would characterize as the song closest to Tornado style (firstborn band of Đorđe Letić). The message is really strong and as I interpret it is aimed at the individual’s struggle with depression.
“Vapmire Queen (Draculas Bride)” successfully closes the first chapter and we are entering the realm of B side…
“Demon Hunter (St. Gerasimos) ” with relatively incomprehensible but great scream vocals, beautiful mezzo soprano, great structure, galloping rhythm, catchy melody, strong male vocals simply cries out for another spin.
“Freedom Call” is the song dedicated to all the victims of energy vampires, mobbing and mortgage slaves all around globe. Neoclassic guitar, strong message, the words depict the lives of citizens of dictatorial countries…
Whether it was intentionally or not put to an end or it is complete coincidence, the last song on this album is the last complete poem of Edgar Allan Poe. Mr Šandorov, Mr Friš and Mr Garčević immortalized the death of a beautiful woman named Annabel Lee, an ideal, unusual strong love. Well done! In the extended version of the song “Annabel Lee” you can hear the original sounds of the bells from 1865 and the organ from 1890, which belong to the Christian Reformed Church in Novi Sad.
“Master of Piece” is more social engaged album than any previous. Armageddon steps away from the classical metal themes: demons and wizards, myths and legends, witches and fairies…
Although Šandorov’s vocals more suits to my temperament and musical taste than those delivered by Miloš Krsmanović, although I may object the rhythm machine instead of a drum, incredibly good but incomprehensible scream vocal on “Demon Hunter”, I can sign and seal: this is a masterpiece!
At the end, I have to mention cover art. A century old, an authentic human skull on a blue background is signed by established artist Csaba Nemeth.