I have never been a huge fan of Atom Goren's past projects. Whether it was his sloppy but albeit fun pop-punk outfit, Fracture, whom existed in the early 90's, or when he used to crisscross the nation with a sequencer he goofily called "His Package." It's not that Fracture wasn't catchy or Atom and His Package wasn't charmingly cute. I just couldn't ever stomach Goren's vocals, as it seems he just hit puberty as he squeaked out songs about black metal kids and Jews to the masses of punk and hardcore kids.
So needless to say I was quite hesitant when I heard he teamed up with his long time friend, Dr. Dan Yemin, Mike from Kill the Man Who Questions, and Jeff from Affirmative Action Jackson to form a melodic hardcore side-project super-group, Armalite. I was quite pleased to hear Goren team up with Mike McKee in a few duets in the first couple songs on their self-titled debut. However after that Goren pretty much takes over the majority of the vocal duties for the rest of the songs with McKee only chiming in for a few choruses. Oh, Atom, Mrs. Goren would be so proud of her boy if he would finally reach manhood and have his voice finally break. Maybe Mrs. Goren and I are asking for a bit too much.
Oddly enough Goren's nasally screech of a voice works in Armalite as they storm though thirteen tracks of hardcore that harkens back to D.C. Revolution Summer days of Grey Matter, Dag Nasty, and to really stretch it, Rites of Spring. All the tracks shimmer with a pop-punk gleam as Yemin throws out happy simple bass riffs that would never cut it as Lifetime songs and would be laughed out of Paint it Black practices. They however match Goren's sarcastically silly lyrics about sellouts, bad parenting, and diabetes.
For the most part I like Armalite and all their melodic hardcore pop-punk remembering the halcyon days of Washington D.C. hardcore. After listening to their self-titled debut I find myself humming choruses and other catchy non-sense throughout the day. That's all I could ask from a Philadelphia super-group punk band with a members of Lifetime, Kill the Man Who Questions, and a squeaky nerd for a singer in their ranks.
8.0 / 10
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