Long-running Southern California metallers ARMORED SAINT have released the official music video for the song "Lone Wolf". The clip was directed by Robert Graves who previously produced the videos for ARMORED SAINT's "End Of The Attention Span" and "Missile To Gun".
"Lone Wolf" is taken from ARMORED SAINT's eighth full-length album, "Punching The Sky", which came out last October via Metal Blade Records.
Graves comments: "With 'Lone Wolf', the band and I agreed right away that this was an opportunity to create a narrative driven video that would convey the song's lyrical themes, while also creating an engaging visual experience. And so a noir-styled heist in the heart of L.A. just seemed to fit the song perfectly.
"We decided to keep the story simple and allow the tone of the video to help convey the song's significance. This gave us (the crew) the opportunity to create an aesthetic that intensified the song's mood, while also getting some incredible action scenes to tell the story. Needless to say, ARMORED SAINT fans are in for a ride. I think they're gonna love it!"
Bassist Joey Vera adds: "Working again with director Robert Graves was incredible. Not only is this video great to watch, but underneath the storyline lies a layer of allegory, metaphor and symbolism. Kind of a first for us. John Bush's great lyrics twist and turn into meanings not visible at first sight. It's a view into a person's journey through life and how they maneuver through it all and what they gain from that experience in the end. The neo-noir look Robert created in both the story and the band performances make this a great addition to the ARMORED SAINT video catalogue."
Vocalist John Bush adds: "Working with Robert is awesome. The guy is truly amazing. He's gonna be a star.
"This time we pushed the dialogue. It was challenging for me, but I had fun with it. For motivation, I tried to channel some of the great actors who come into the casting studio that my wife and I run.
"'Wolf' tackles the view of people who spend a lot of time on their own. Something I spent years doing. The solitary individuals that always keep us guessing. This video is dedicated to them."
Leaders and stalwarts of the American heavy metal scene since the early 1980s, ARMORED SAINT's "Punching The Sky" saw them returning hard. A diverse, attitude-drenched collection, it's everything the band's faithful have come to expect from them while pushing their signature sound forward.
"The goal is to write really good music. I know I'm stating the obvious here but that's about the size of our agenda," said Vera. "We've been able to shed a lot of expectations that sometimes plague a band like ours that has been around a long time, and we've recently moved into a comfort zone with just being ourselves. We have this kind of freedom now that we didn't really have early in our career, and we can take some chances and make the kind of music that we want to hear. This record is a reflection of where we are at, right now."
Exploding to life with the crunchy, rousing "Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants" and not letting up until the closing ruthless riff of "Never You Fret", the record is possessed of an urgency and vigor which very much places it in the right now, but could only be the work of Vera, guitarists Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan, drummer Gonzo Sandoval and Bush.
"When you're a band that began four decades ago, you really have to push yourself harder than ever when it comes to making a new record," stated Bush. "The last thing you ever want is for it to appear as though you were going through the motions or that you're just putting a product out to do some touring. The records are immortal. They'll be here long after us. Every one needs to count in its own individual way."
With Vera acting as producer, he recruited the same engineering team that worked on "Win Hands Down", with drums recorded by Josh Newell at El Dorado Studios in Burbank, California, guitars tracked by Bill Metoyer at Skullseven studios in North Hollywood, California, and vocals, bass and additional recordings by the bassist at his studio.
"I like working with people that I trust and have a good personal rapport with," Vera said. "That same reason is why I hired Jay Ruston (ANTHRAX, AMON AMARTH, STONE SOUR) to mix the record. It's important to be able to work with people who understand what the end goal is."
The process of realizing the album was a lot of hard work, Vera admitting he took on too many of the tasks himself, but he states that overall it was a good experience and everyone brought their A-game to the table and the right attitude for getting things done.
"At the end of the mixing stage, I always have a hard time walking away from the project we've been working on for so long," he said. "It's hard to let it go. The end result is good though. Everyone played and sang their asses off and it shows."
"Punching The Sky" features a few guest musicians further expanding its sonic palette, the whole thing kicking off with the sound of Uilleann Pipes, Vera finding player Patrick D'Arcy in Los Angeles and recruiting him to the cause. GUNS N' ROSES keyboardist Dizzy Reed also contributes, Vera giving both him and D'Arcy some general directions and letting them loose, both of them delivering strong performances. The band's own Gonzo Sandoval plays an American Indian flute on "Never You Fret" — a first for ARMORED SAINT and their drummer. Also Jacob Ayala, the son of a childhood friend who is a drum major in high school, added some marching snare on one of the tracks, which really stands out.
With the band's place in the metal scene firmly re-established with "Punching The Sky", they are staring down their four decade anniversary, which Vera reflected on.
"Part of me feels like I can't believe we've been doing this for that long. It's kind of incredible," Vera said. "So I feel pretty damn lucky really, that we've been able to have the support from fans and our record company for all these years. Without this support, we really couldn't do any of this. So this is the big part of what has kept us going, and when I stop and look around, I am humbled that we've had this opportunity to make music and tour for such a long time. That's what our initial goal was back when we were just 18 years old."