Detroit-based hardcore extremists, The Armed, are easily one of my favorite bands in the last decade. You never know what you'll get, you never know when you'll get it, and you don't even know with who you'll get it with! They've even been known to tour in secret, often performing at open mic nights under fake names, as seen via their live album, Unanticipated.
The first time I met one of their members I couldn't even be certain, because they've also been known to have actors pretend to be members of the band. Ever notice how all their promo photos feature different people on the same album cycle? But what can you really expect from a band that releases their live album straight to VHS with a limited edition spray painted VCR?
The Armed is a band shrouded in more mystique and confusion than any new age black metal band, and they've been holding that position longer than Ghost slapped on some paint for the first time. But that only tells half the story of a band who is keen on fucking with anyone paying attention, the other half is their absolutely flawless brand of chaotic hardcore that's been pushing boundaries for close to a decade. Their sophmore album, Untitled, made my best of 2015 list with the utmost regard, and they're back with a proper follow up for 2018, affectionately titled, ONLY LOVE.
Like their first two albums, which features the works of Chris Penne (The Dillinger Escape Plan) and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists, Sumac) respectively, ONLY LOVE features a new guest drummer, Ben Koller of Converge / All Pigs Must Die / Mutoid Man, and is once again produced by Kurt Ballou at God City Studio. The outcome is another batshit crazy, but masterfully creative and melodic opus that will confuse you, wrap you in a blanket of weird, and spit you out wanting more.