Armageddon
Armageddon


3.5
great

Review

by e210013 USER (37 Reviews)
October 26th, 2015 | 36 replies


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An obscure band from the 70’s resurrected from the ashes in the last years and which really deserves to be better known.

Armageddon is an English hard rock band formed in 1974. The choice of the name Armageddon was very symbolic and it does symbolises the site of the last final and epic battle between the good and the evil in the end of the times, or the positive and negative. The group recorded only one album, their self-titled debut album “Armageddon”, released in 1975. However, after that first release as a vinyl record, the album inconspicuously disappeared without leaving a trace, until Esoteric Recordings unearthed the album in 2009, to the new CD format. I know the album since it was originally released.

The line up on the album is Keith Relf, Martin Pugh, Bobby Caldwell and Louis Cennamo. Armageddon is somewhat a super group. Relf had been the lead singer of the Yardbirds throughout the 60’s. As many know, the Yardbirds was a band with three of the best guitarists ever, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. In 1969, Relf has been also one of the co-founders of Renaissance, participating on the first two albums of the group, “Renaissance” and “Illusion”, the albums of the first Renaissance incarnation. Pugh had been the lead guitarist of Steamhammer. Caldwell had been the drummer of Captain Beyond. Cennamo had been the bass player of Renaissance, he played with Relf on the same both Renaissance albums, and had been also the bassist of Steamhammer playing with Pugh, on the Steamhammer last work, “Speech”. Unfortunately, the life of Armageddon was very brief. Relf tragically was killed by an electric shock, at home in 1976, when he was playing his guitar. At the time, it was said that Relf was in the process of putting back together the original Renaissance line up, which would eventually be called Illusion. However, after is death, the remaining Renaissance's members, of the first incarnation, formed Illusion and released two albums “Out Of Mist” in 1977 and the self-titled “Illusion” in 1978. Recently, Illusion released a new album called "Through The Fire" in 2001.

Armageddon was somewhat out of time when their album was released. In 1975 the musical environment wasn’t exactly conductive for a band taking their first steps on the heavy rock/prog scene. With punk a little over a year away and many of the bigger bands entering a fallow patch of creativity, if not popularity, the omens weren’t good. Add to that a record company who were unwilling or unable to give the band the push and promotion needed, and an album cover that made the band look like a very heavy metal act. So, all had already been started to be inscribed on the wall, that it would be an unknown album, and consequently, a commercially big failure. And it was really a shame because the album is a fine hard rock album with some progressive elements, despite they’re somewhat a little underplayed.

“Armageddon” can be listed as both, hard and progressive rock, though I believe that the hard rock sound is more obvious on it. The fact, four of the five songs are over 8 minutes long and would suggest a progressive act, and it’s true that the longer songs wander outside the usual standard rock song format, but much of the length is taken up by jam sessions and extended guitar solos. So, this album is mostly a hard rock affair with some great riffs, excellent guitar solos and a Caldwell’s great drumming work. It was Caldwell’s driving with his hard hitting beats that pushed the group into a heavier direction, which supposedly we would expect. Those were probably influences of Captain Beyond.

Recorded in L.A., this is a deceptively complex, multi-layered album that demands multiple listens. It’s an intriguing blend of bruising proto-metal riffs, progressive rock and heavy psychedelic blues. “Armageddon” was, in some aspects, an album slightly ahead of its time, prefiguring the 1980’s rise of heavy metal whilst also stealing a march of the punk explosion that was just around the corner. The final result is an album much in the mould of the hard rocking mid-70’s acts, such as, Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep and Deep Purple. The mainly difference is that this quartet placed more emphasis on creating ambitious, progressive style long suites, a stylistic streak showcased on an impressive debut album containing just five interlocking pieces of music. This really became a truly great album of the 70’s.


Conclusion: “Armageddon” is an obscure album made by an obscure band in the 70’s. However, the band had almost what was needed. They were a great group with great experienced artists. Yet, two things changed drastically the story of the band, the time and the circumstances, which were the punk movement and the tragic death of Relf. Both events brought the album and the band to the obscurity, until the arrival of the 21st century, when it was brought to the light of the day by the hand of the Esoteric Records. So, thank you Esoteric, for have rescued a great album from the obscurity. However and despite “Armageddon” is a great work of the 70’s, it isn’t really an album that would sit comfortably alongside collections that are only comprised of blues albums or classical rock releases. It’s certainly mainly for those with wider tastes and who are not adverse to the heavier side of the music. Now here is the opportunity for people to catch it.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
October 26th 2015


678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

As I promised, here it is the third part of what I called a trilogy. A trilogy that began with both albums of Renaissance Mk. I, Renaissance and Illusion and that ends with the self-titled album of Armageddon.

A trilogy of what? A trilogy about Keith Relf. Keith wasn't for sure of the best artists ever. However, his presence on the Yardbirds, Renaissance, Armageddon and certainly on Illusion, if not his tragically premature death deserve certainly some attention. So, I really think that deserve a special mention, his name and the works where he participated. Both deserve to be better known, certainly.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the Armageddon's album, and as usual, criticism is always welcome.

manosg
Contributing Reviewer
October 26th 2015


9562 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Props for reviewing this one! Nice work too, pos. Only a couple of errors,



"However, after his dead,"

*death



"Anyway, despite “Armageddon” be a great work of the 70’s, isn’t really an album..."

This reads a bit weird, you may want to fix it.



One of my favorite obscure albums from the '70s. Let me return the favor by recommending you three albums; Warpig - Warpig, Gypsy (U.S.) - Gypsy and Nosferatu - Nosferatu.

Digging: Witchwood - Litanies from the Woods

SharkTooth
October 26th 2015


13433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice album choice, buuut...

" I know the album since it was released."

Sentence is kinda weird, so you mean the CD re-release or the original release?

e210013
October 26th 2015


678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes, you are right SharkTouth. The English isn't my mother language.

What I really mean is that I know the album since it was originally released on a vinyl copy.

Thanks dude for your help and support.



e210013
October 26th 2015


678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks manosg.

Thanks for your contribution and for your tips about obscure albums and bands. When I have some time I'm going to check them.

rockandmetaljunkie
October 26th 2015


5946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

props for reviewing, this is an amazing album

wham49
October 26th 2015


1759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

very cool, haven't thought about this for a while, a rummage sale find, great album, also Gypsy is awesome

e210013
October 26th 2015


678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks rokandmetaljunkie, this is really a great album.



e210013
October 26th 2015


678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks wham 49. Yeah, When I decided to review the album, I felt that it was unknown or was forgotten about for a while by many of us. I'm glad that you liked.

rockandmetaljunkie
October 26th 2015


5946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

almost as good as Captain Beyond's debut

MrSirLordGentleman
October 26th 2015


9315 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES m////////////





awesome review dude!

e210013
October 26th 2015


678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, rokandmetaljunkie, I completely agree with you.

e210013
October 26th 2015


678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, SirLord. I knew that you would like that someone was going to do this review, finally.

MrSirLordGentleman
October 26th 2015


9315 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Buzzard has easily one of the coolest riffs ever

SharkTooth
October 26th 2015


13433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah this album rules \m/

e210013
October 26th 2015


678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah. Buzzard is one of my favourite tracks on the album with Silver Tightrope and Paths And Planes And Future Gains.

SharkTooth
October 26th 2015


13433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Buzzard's just a perfect opener tbh

e210013
October 26th 2015


678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah SharkTouth, you can bet on it without any doubt, and Buzzard is really perfect.

TheIntruder
October 26th 2015


142 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hey man, I haven't heard about this album for a while. I almost forgot it.

Thanks for you have reviewed it. And yes, man. A awesome review, really. Have a pos.



e210013
October 26th 2015


678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks dude. I'm really happy because somehow I also resurrected this album some time after Esoteric Records have done the same.

Once more, thanks for your support.



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