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Armed In Advance - Harder Times EP Review

06 Feb 2014 // A review by Carl Hayman

It's already February 2014 and I'm on the hunt for some new music. Sick of listening to the same old bands I've been listening to for the last 10 years give or take a few exceptions, a close friend suggested to me the fresh sound from Auckland band Stitches. I have actually seen these guys play live once or twice, and from what I remember for a 3 piece band, they were incredibly tight and polished, and their sound was huge.

Eager to hear what they might lay down in the studio, I spoke to the lead singer/guitarist J.P Carroll and got invited to review their brand new EP Harder Times. After having heard their debut single Blood On Your Harem which featured on The Rock's 'Off The Record' segment, I was looking forward to this. I loaded up the playlist, plugged in the surround sound, and hit the go button .. then after about 20 seconds, I hit the stop button. Why would I do this you might ask, well the answer is that low volume does not do this band justice. I tweaked the volume a touch over 3/4 and sat back with a smile on my face. Dissonant guitar chords, off time drum beats, gravelly vocals that flow creatively into some of the most amazing hard rock songs that have come out of Auckland in a long time.

It is honestly straight up hard rock, not like these bands who write 'we are a hard rock band' in their band bio but sound very much to me like pop. Track 1 is their first single Blood On Your Harem which is an amazingly catchy track, deemed good enough for national radio play on NZ's most popular rock station, this sets the standard for an amazing 20 minute EP. The stand out songs for me are track 2 (Light) and track 3 (Shadow Puppets).

If I was to describe the vocal lines, I would suggest that early Daniel Johns (Silverchair) meets Brett Scallions (Fuel) meets Brandon Boyd (Incubus). The rest of the band (Daniel Purchase on drums and Hugh Hokopaura on bass) groove tightly together with intricate licks and hard hits mimic something a little more similar to the likes of Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, or Deftones. This combination makes for a growley, smooth but aggressive, heavy EP which is so easy to listen to.

It's hard for me to write the words to describe how much I enjoy Harder Times as a creative masterpiece, all I can suggest is that for all of you who have an ear for fine heavy rock on a global scale, get out of your chairs and support kiwi music buy buying this EP, its one you will be listening to for years to come


About Armed In Advance

Armed In Advance are a heavy rock trio from Auckland with a penchant for ruthlessly efficient, hard hitting post-grunge songs laced with pop sensibilities and thought provoking undertones. Hailing from Auckland, the band is made up of JP Carroll (guitar and vocals), Hugh Hokopaura (bass) and Ryan Thomas (drums).

Since starting out in 2013 under the moniker of Stitches, AIA have released an EP (Stitches EP, 2014) and a full length (Change/Evolve, 2016), and have subsequently had the honor of 5 songs gracing the NZ rock radiowaves over that time. The most recent success of rotation play for single Same Old Story on the country’s biggest rock radio station, the Rock FM, paved the way for a debut full length album described as “refreshing… modern hard rock with a point of difference.” (Muzic.net.nz)
Change/Evolve reached #9 on the NZ album charts, and was accompanied by a sold out Auckland release show. Two tracks from Change/Evolve were deemed worthy of NZ On Air funded music video grants (Same Old Story, Running You Down).

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Armed In Advance


Year: 2016
Type: Album
Harder Times
Year: 2014
Type: EP
Stitches EP
Year: 2014
Type: EP

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