Leaders and stalwarts of the American heavy metal scene since the early 80s, Armored Saint's eighth full-length Punching The Sky sees them returning hard. A diverse, attitude-drenched collection, it's everything the band's faithful have come to expect from them while pushing their signature sound forward. "The goal is to write really good music. I know I'm stating the obvious here but that's about the size of our agenda," says bassist Joey Vera. "We've been able to shed a lot of expectations that sometimes plague a band like ours that has been around a long time, and we've recently moved into a comfort zone with just being ourselves. We have this kind of freedom now that we didn't really have early in our career, and we can take some chances and make the kind of music that we want to hear. This record is a reflection of where we are at, right now." Exploding to life with the crunchy, rousing "Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants" and not letting up until the closing ruthless riff of "Never You Fret", the record is possessed of an urgency and vigor which very much places it in the right now, but could only be the work of Vera, guitarists Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan, drummer Gonzo Sandoval and vocalist John Bush. "When you're a band that began four decades ago, you really have to push yourself harder than ever when it comes to making a new record," states Bush. "The last thing you ever want is for it to appear as though you were going through the motions or that you're just putting a product out to do some touring. The records are immortal. They'll be here long after us. Every one needs to count in its own individual way."