Vocalist John Bush has mostly remained in semi-retirement since leaving iconic heavy metal group Anthrax in 2006. Since he turned his back on the rock star grind to focus on his marriage and children, metal fans have cherished his intermittent recordings and rare live performances as part of his original band, Armored Saint.
Birthed out of the Los Angeles metal scene of the early 1980s, Armored Saint made their presence felt thanks to a thrash metal edge smoothed out by a flair for catchy songwriting and melodic hard rock. From their 1983 self-titled debut EP through 1991’s Symbol of Salvation (which we named one of the “Top 20 L.A. Metal Albums of All Time“), the band’s strong musicianship was enhanced by Bush’s ability to marry a powerful vocal range with world-weary roughness.
The group disbanded in 1992 after Bush replaced Joey Belladonna as Anthrax's vocalist. Armored Saint reconvened for the 2000 reunion album Revelation, and once again became Bush's primary musical outlet after he left Anthrax in 2005.
On June 2, the group will release their first album in five years, Win Hands Down. Their seventh record overall is another excellent slab of anthem-laden metallic goodness. Bush’s vocals are as strong as ever, and the songwriting prowess of Bush and bassist Joey Vera has not dulled in the five years since 2010’s La Raza.
Today, L.A. Weekly debuts a new track from Win Hands Down. “An Exercise in Debauchery” is a hard rocker that fulfills the need for riffage thanks to the stellar-as-always guitar work of Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan. Lyrically, the song is inspired by the deepest and darkest corners of a mind that is lost forever to sexual deviancy, as Bush explains:
“Michael Fassbender’s character in the movie Shame — along with certain members of society’s obsession with porn — was the catalyst for ‘An Exercise in Debauchery.’ That dark, twisted world that people fester in was good motivation for some ball busting. I mean, we all like sex, but no one’s that horny. Do your business and then move on. Read a book or something.”
But before you go read that book or something, listen to Armored Saint’s “An Exercise In Debauchery” below.
Armored Saint performs at the House of Blues in Hollywood on Saturday, May 30.