I’ve been lacking energy lately. I blame the frigid cold temperatures but, let’s be honest, I think it’s just me being lazy and probably my mental health taking a slide back into my comfort zone of depression and anxiety. Regardless, I am too busy to be this lazy and I need some music to jumpstart my motivation again. I have heard one single from Arm The Poor and although I never judge a band off of just one track, I have a feeling that their album ‘Vomnibus’ may be just what I need. So, with a fresh cup of coffee, and the heat cranked up further than my bank account would probably like, it’s time to see if this album does the trick for me.
“My Father’s Words” kicks this album off and I instantly knew that this was the perfect pick for me right now. Fast, loud, perfectly imperfect– it was seriously everything I needed. The vocals are reminiscent of old-school punk like The Casualties but, for some reason, some of the other elements in this track had me feeling something more like Anti-Flag. You know, that mix of pop-punk with harder street punk values. Regardless of what the mix is, I think it’s safe to say that, although less than two minutes long, this opening track had me sold.
The fury and energy continue for “Black Widow” which was an instant favorite of mine. With the prominent bassline and the frantic drumming, this song was just pure energy. The vocals have an edge to them. An almost bitterness can be felt with each word and I love that because, honestly, it seemed to mirror the bitterness I was feeling towards myself for my current state of laziness. (Yes, I’m aware the lyrics have nothing to do with that but sometimes the tone and presentation hit harder than words.) “Ballad of the Damned” is the third track on this album and although I struggle to call it a ballad in the classic sense, it did feel like a ballad when compared to the previous two tracks. At nearly four minutes long, this is the longest track on the album and it doesn’t fit the “classic punk” song structure but all of those things made it stand out. I feel like there’s a little danciness to it. Instead of harsh and bitter words, the words seem a bit more upbeat and almost optimistic (again, not so much the words, but the styling of them).
The bass line that kicks off “Blood On Our Hands” drew me in with ease. Sadly, I don’t have lyrics to read along with during this listen but this song struck me as highly political. Thinking back to the previous tracks, I’m realizing that this band is extremely political and, as a person who grew up protesting while listening to Anti-Flag and protesting alongside Rage Against The Machine after their show at the RNC up here in St. Paul, well, protest music is kind of in my blood and it just added another amazing element to this great band that I could not get enough of.
As soon as “American Youth” took over my speakers, I knew it was another favorite of mine. It has Rancid tendencies with a very strong feeling of being purely Arm The Poor. Angsty, ragey, and so full of energy, this quick song got about half a dozen listens before I could bring myself to move onto “Speakeasy”. I like the drums that kick off “Speakeasy” and the way it doesn’t quite give away the song. It captivates you as if to wonder what will come next. Even as the guitar came in, I was left with a sense of wonder as to where this track was going to go. The guitar tone is much cleaner for this track than the previous but I loved the change of pace. Still full of energy and speed, I kept waiting and waiting for the vocals to come in but they never did and that made me love this track even more. Punk bands are not typically known for their instrumental tracks but the way Arm The Poor pulls this one-off, makes me wonder if that’s something that should change. You get to see how this band is more than just speed and loud, there’s no shortage of intricacies and talent here.
Well, obviously I loved the track titled “Eat Shit” because I’ll always be the angsty thirteen year old trying to find music that will do nothing more than piss my parents off. Joking aside, this is a great track and I loved the feeling it brought to me and my house. I think my cats were a little less grateful for that feeling but I had a smile stretching from ear to ear as this track played. The smile didn’t leave as the album moved onto “Home Sick” but it did change along with the feeling I got from the record. There’s something oddly warm about this track. The vocals shift completely and, although the beat is still fast, there’s something a bit sweeter and more sensitive about this track that I could not get enough of. I know that Arm the Poor does fast and punk super well but I really hope to hear more tracks like this one from them in the future.
Did someone say ska? That’s what comes with “It’s Not A Tumor” and I wish I could say I was surprised but I’m not. I heard it in a couple of previous tracks but it was subtle so I didn’t want to say anything (I also clearly had a lot to say already). Arm The Poor do the ska thing well but I really think they do the punk thing better. It’s not that I didn’t like this track, because I did, but it just felt a little lackluster compared to the others (or it was just the mood I’m in). The ska vibe continues as “Martyrs & Murderers” closes out this ten-song album. The thing I like about this track is that although it’s very ska feeling, the vocals are distinctively that of Arm the Poor. I think that’s what I was missing in “It’s Not A Tumor”. Regardless, this track is the perfect ending to a great listen.
I needed energy and coffee just wasn’t cutting it. Thankfully, ‘Vomnibus’ by Arm The Poor cut it and then some. What a fun album with great energy.
My Favorite Track(s): “Black Widow”; “American Youth”; “Eat Shit”
For Fans Of: Punk; Fury; Fast Beats
Mosh-ability: 7 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Autumn slept upstairs after I kicked her off the desk; Artie laid on the back of the couch with his paws covering his ears (he has never been a fan of punk)
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 9 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 8.5 out of 10
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