Armored Saint

While most people associate the 1980s L.A. scene metal with big hair, sexy sleaze, and power ballads, Armored Saint specialized in the hard-driving type of metal pioneered by British acts like Judas Priest. The band started with high school classmates Dave Prichard (guitar), Gonzo Sandoval (drums), and Gonzo’s brother Phil Sandoval (guitar). They original five-man lineup solidified with the additions of Joey Vera (bass) and John Bush (vocals) in 1982. Their eponymous debut EP in 1983 led to a record deal with the major label Chrysalis. They released a trio of albums for the label (1984’s March of the Saint, 1985’s Delirious Nomad, and 1987’s Raising Fear) and although they were well known among metalheads, they never achieved the breakout success of other metal acts. They rejoined Metal Blade at the end of the 80s, but tragedy struck when Dave Pritchard died of leukemia in 1990. The group managed one more album, 1991’s Symbol of Salvation, before going on an extended hiatus during which time Bush became the lead singer of Anthrax. It took nearly a decade, but the band reformed for 2000’s Revelation, and they toured together in 2006 after Anthrax parted ways with Bush. They managed a new album, La Raza, in 2010, and 2015’s Win Hands Down, was a top 40 album in Germany. Nearly forty years into their star-crossed career, they issued Punching the Sky in October of 2020.

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