California extreme sludge crew Armed for Apocalypse have zeroed in on their razor-sharp take on sludge through touring with Hatebreed, Sepultura, Napalm Death and Crowbar in addition to two albums in 2009 and 2013 before taking a five-year hiatus from recording. That drought is over, as Armed for Apocalypse stream Palm Reader, one of the most blistering takes on sludge metal I’ve ever heard.
“In the past 5 years, a TON has gone down,” drummer Nick Harris explains. “Both personally and to the band… we’ve had a lead singer and a bass player quit. I’ve been married and divorced, and from that I’ve lived in Chico, Santa Barbara, San Clemente, Palma De Mallorca, Spain and then back to Chico… Nate and I each lost our dogs, Cayle had another baby and my father passed. We wrote and recorded these new songs throughout all of that, always keeping a positive attitude and knowing we were in this for the long haul. I mean, we have literally been put through the fucking ringer and we’re still standing. Fuck that – not just standing, stronger than ever! The best we’ve ever been as a band!”
Palm Reader certainly makes a strong case for Armed for Apocalypse being stronger than ever. To get an idea of what Armed for Apocalypse are about, imagine the previously mentioned tourmates with a dash of Meshuggah’s relentless, almost mechanical, chug. “Worlds Beneath” is where they embrace the grindier side of their sound; the hardcore influences are loud and clear on “Forced to an End.” Palm Reader takes all of those pieces to the extreme, dishing out a scathing fourteen minutes.
“Since our last release, this band has faced an incredible amount of adversity,” guitarist/vocalist Nate Burman says. “I think most bands would have just called it quits. So much was betting against us, and I think that was even more of a driving force to prove to everyone that we aren’t going away. The lyrics in ‘Mass Oblation’ are a direct reflection of that.”
Hear it for yourself below: