1998 reissue on Repertoire featuring all five original tracks, including the four part suite 'Basking In The White Of The Midnight Sun'. The band features ex-Yardbirds members, including Keith Relf. The album was first rel... more »eased on A&M in 1975. Also contains the original cover art. This was the group's sole LP.« less
1998 reissue on Repertoire featuring all five original tracks, including the four part suite 'Basking In The White Of The Midnight Sun'. The band features ex-Yardbirds members, including Keith Relf. The album was first released on A&M in 1975. Also contains the original cover art. This was the group's sole LP.
Heavy classic from the 70's
bruceski | FLA United States | 11/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Armageddon was the last decisive battle for ex-Yardbird Keith Relf. The former lead singer and harmonica player of the band that launched Clapton, Beck and Page, Relf had abandonned his blues-guitar band roots when he founded Renaissance in the late 1960's. Relf left Renaissance after two albums (actually half way threw the second album) due to frustrations with the music business and being tired of touring. However, when he created Armageddon, he was involved with one of the best guitar rock albums of the 70's.
After the disolution of Steamhammer, Relf, and ex-Steamhammer members, Martin Pugh (guitar) and Louis Cennamo (bass) came to L.A. and hooked up with ex-Captain Beyond and Johnny Winter drummer Bobby Caldwell to form Armageddon. Armageddon combined the complex drum patterns of Caldwell, with Pugh's heavy and stylistic riffing and Relf's insightful and searching lyrics to create a haunting and enduring piece of heavy rock.
Criticized as sounding "dated" when initially released, this is one of the strong points of this album. Many of the best hard rock acts of the time (Purple-Stormbringer, Zeppelin-Presence, Sabbath-Sabatoge, etc) were moving on to slicker production of less gritty songs. Armageddon sounded like it was from an earlier and more "real" musical time.
The opening song "Buzzard" is usually listed by fans as the highlight of the album. Borrowing a riff from Steamhammer's "Penumbra," Pugh's guitar soars with speed, control and precision, while Relf's intelligent lyrics rap around the crashing, thunderous drums of Caldwell. It is an exhilarating eight minute flight worth taking over and over again.
While "Buzzard" is one of the album's highlights, it is by no means the sole reason to own this disc. Other particularly strong moments include: the beautiful and stylish "Silver Tightrope," which features an echoing guitar and more contemplative lyrics from Relf, and "Last Stand Before" a Zeppelinesque (Physical Graffiti era) rocker with descriptive and prophetic lyrics. In this one Relf sings "Lost a friend, met his end, way before his time" and "my brother's falling catch him if I can. I see him falling you can join him in his last stand," it makes one wonder if Keith was aware of his own fate.
It's too bad that this proved to be the last stand for Relf and Armageddon. Relf returned to England due to poor health shortly after this was released. Relf's health and reported drug use among some of the band lead to Armageddon failing to release any more material. Relf died shortly after returning to England, when he was electrocuted while playing guitar. He did record one more song "All the Falling Angels" that is included on an album by Illusion called Echanted Caress. (Illusion was the name the original members of Renaissance chose when they reunited. This was because Anne Haslem and her crew had become Renaissance).
Armageddon remains a powerful reminder of what artists where able to due when they were given the creative control to explore."
An unknown CLASSIC!
Richard Fisher | N.Y.C. | 11/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not to be confused with the 1970 German band Armaggedon. Bought this on 8 track and have been telling everyone to buy this ever since! Lead guitarist Martin Pugh (from Steamhammer)is AWESOME! "Buzzard" is one of the heaviest songs ever recorded. Though I'm not a huge fan of ballards, " Silver Tightrope" will send chills and sweat up and down your spine. The late Keith Relf of the great Yardbirds sings and though this album came out in '75, you would swear it is from the great 1969 - 1970 heavy/ hard rock period. Bobby Caldwell on percussion is super and it's a shame Relf died before a 2nd album could be made. If you dig Early 70's heavy Rock, BUY THIS and if you don't think it's GREAT, I will buy it off of you."
One Of The Best Hard Rock Albums Of The 70's
Chris Gerbig | Ontario, Canada | 09/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was Keith Relf's (ex-Yardbirds and Renaissance) last stand before his untimely death in 1976. He has never sounded better than on the haunting, melodic "Silver Tightrope" (which, uncannily, is a song about death). Guitarist Martin Pugh (ex-Steamhammer) is superb, particularly on the tremendous, driving riff of "Buzzard". He deserves to take his place alongside such 70's axe-Gods as Ritchie Blackmore and Jimmy Page. Louis Cennamo (ex-Renaissance and Steamhammer) lays down a solid bass foundation and the great energy of Bobby Caldwell's spitfire percussion (ex-Captain Beyond and Johnny Winter) rounds it out to make this a real tour de force of hard rock. Combining elements of heavy metal and 60's psychedelia this album absolutely wails!!! A classic masterpiece long overdue for a proper CD reissue. Fans of the Yardbirds, Captain Beyond, Budgie, Steamhammer or Hawkwind will not be disappointed. In my opinion, this is one of the ten best hard rock albums of the 70's. The two opening cuts are well worth the money in themselves. R.I.P. Keith Relf. If the Yardbirds didn't assure his immortality, this record will!"
JAMES MCCORMICK | cedar rapids, Iowa United States | 06/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"4 1/2 Stars= Minor Masterpiece Here is an album that was an obscurity even back in its day. A group who we're filled with second string names, but first class talent. Including myself I knew of only a handful of people who ever had this album back in the 70's, & I was turned onto it by a friend who had a friend record a couple of cuts from side two on cassette. I looked long & hard for this album before finding my copy in a used record store. The album cover is a classic, showing four long haired men in Army fatigues sitting amongst the wreckage of a war torn landscape, then the same four on the back cover sitting in the same position turned to stone in the blinding white light (Armageddon) of the midnight sun... a nuclear explosion? The front & back cover truly portend the music contained with in. The first song "Buzzard" starts out with a staccato buzzing of guitar that progresses into a molten assault on the ears as the rest of the group chimes in on their instruments, the galloping thunder of the drummer is especially good. The beautiful ballad "Silver Tight Rope" is a prime example of how 70's Heavy Metal could produce non clich?d gorgeous balladry unlike 80's power ballads. "Paths & Planes & Future Gains"" is just a killer fast paced 70's metal extravaganza on steroids running at high speed, maybe my favorite cut. "Last Stand Before" is epic in its structure with killer hooky riffs & smart lyrics of human self revelation. "Basking White in the Midnight Sun" is where this major masterpiece of an album falters into minor masterpiece status, though the lyrics are still sharp, the song is far to long & repetitive, but still when in the right mood can pack a wallop for me. As I stated before this was a rarity even back in its day, but now through the magic of CD reissues you can own this great document of obscure Rock history too! So discover or rediscover a cherished treasure from this band that sadly due to the death of singer Keith Relf only put out one album, but what an album! I think you'll be pleased."