Armored Saint

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Armored Saint
Armored Saint - Waterkant X-Mas Bash 2015 02.jpg
Armored Saint performing at Waterkant X-Mas Bash in Germany in 2015
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Heavy metal
Years active1982–1992, 1999–present
Associated acts
Members John Bush
Joey Vera
Jeff Duncan
Gonzo Sandoval
Phil Sandoval

Armored Saint is an American heavy metal band, formed in 1982 in Los Angeles, California. Since 1990, the band has consisted of John Bush on lead vocals, Joey Vera on bass, Jeff Duncan on rhythm guitar and the Sandoval brothers, Gonzo and Phil on drums and lead guitar, respectively. Of the current lineup, Bush and Vera are the two constant members. To date, they have released seven studio albums, one EP, two live albums and one compilation album.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of nearly four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.


As one of the leaders of the Los Angeles heavy metal scene, Armored Saint achieved moderate success during the 1980s with their 1983 self-titled EP and first three studio albums: March of the Saint (1984), Delirious Nomad (1985) and Raising Fear (1987). [1] Prior to the release of their fourth studio album Symbol of Salvation (1991), the band was plagued by extended inactivity, due to record company issues and the death of their original guitarist Dave Prichard, who died of leukemia in 1990. Armored Saint eventually broke up when Bush joined Anthrax in 1992 to replace Joey Belladonna, but reunited in 1999, and has continued to tour and record since then.

<i>Armored Saint</i> (EP) 1983 EP by Armored Saint

Armored Saint (EP) is the first studio effort by American heavy metal band Armored Saint. It was released in 1983 on Metal Blade Records. Chrysalis Records signed the band in 1984 after listening to the EP. Opening track "Lesson Well Learned" was previously featured on Metal Blade's compilation Metal Massacre II in 1982. The EP is featured on the 2001 compilation Nod to the Old School.

<i>March of the Saint</i> 1984 studio album by Armored Saint

March of the Saint is the first album by American heavy metal band Armored Saint. It was released in 1984 on Chrysalis Records and recorded with producer Michael James Jackson who previously worked for Kiss. The debut album yielded a minor MTV hit with "Can U Deliver", but Joey Vera and John Bush later recalled the album's recording as a frustrating and disappointing experience, explaining that Jackson's approach was much more commercial than the heavy metal sound the band had wanted. As Vera recalled in 2006: "At the end of the record we were very unhappy with the production, the mix, the way we worked and who we worked with. And the producer and our manager let us spend over ($)300,000 on our first record. To this day we are still in debt for that one."

<i>Delirious Nomad</i> 1985 studio album by Armored Saint

Delirious Nomad is the second album by American heavy metal band Armored Saint. It was released in 1985 on Chrysalis Records and recorded with producer Max Norman who previously worked for Ozzy Osbourne. While recording the album guitarist Phil Sandoval left the band.


Early career (1982–1989)

Armored Saint was formed in 1982 by brothers Phil Sandoval (lead guitar) and Gonzo Sandoval (drums) with lead guitarist Dave Prichard, while attending South Pasadena High School. Next to join were singer John Bush - also a South Pasadena High School Alumnus - and bassist Joey Vera. Gonzo Sandoval conceived the name Armored Saint on his own in the parking lot, at a theater in Monterey Park, after watching the Movie Excalibur. Armored Saint recorded a five-song demo that landed the song "Lesson Well Learned" on the compilation album Metal Massacre II . Three of these demo songs were then used for the band's self-titled EP on Metal Blade Records in 1983. The group then signed with Chrysalis Records in 1984.

Dave Prichard was an American guitarist mainly known as a member of the heavy metal band Armored Saint.

South Pasadena High School is the one public high school serving grades 9-12 in the city of South Pasadena, California. With the South Pasadena Middle School and three elementary schools it makes up the South Pasadena Unified School District.

Joey Vera American musician

Joseph "Joey" Vera is an American heavy metal bassist who is known as a member of the heavy metal band Armored Saint and the progressive metal band Fates Warning. In 2004-2005 he replaced Frank Bello in Anthrax as the band's bassist, but did not record with them. He was also a member of Engine, recorded with Tribe After Tribe, and appears on the OSI album Free. His first solo album, A Thousand Faces, was released in 1994. His current solo project, A Chinese Firedrill, released an album titled Circles in 2007.

Armored Saint released their debut album March of the Saint in 1984 followed by 1985's Delirious Nomad . The debut album yielded a minor MTV hit with "Can U Deliver?". During the recording of Delirious Nomad , lead guitarist Phil Sandoval left the group. Their third album, Raising Fear , was recorded by the remaining four members. Throughout the 1980s, Armored Saint toured, or played selected shows, with many acts such as Judas Priest, Metallica, Aerosmith, Whitesnake, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Saxon, Ratt, Testament, Exodus, W.A.S.P., Dio, Accept, Fates Warning, Y&T, Grim Reaper, Malice, King Diamond, Great White, Stryper, Leatherwolf, Lizzy Borden, Savatage, Helloween and Danzig. [2] [3] By the end of the decade, however, the band was unhappy with their lack of success on the Chrysalis label, and returned to Metal Blade. Soon after the release of their first live album Saints Will Conquer , the band added Jeff Duncan, formerly of the L.A. club band Odin, as rhythm guitarist who is still in the band to this day.

MTV American pay television channel

MTV is an American pay television channel that serves as the flagship property of owner Viacom Media Networks and is headquartered in New York City. The channel was launched on August 1, 1981, and originally aired music videos as guided by television personalities known as "video jockeys" (VJs). At first, MTV's main target demographic was young adults, but today it is primarily teenagers, particularly high school and college students.

<i>Raising Fear</i> 1987 studio album by Armored Saint

Raising Fear is the third album by American heavy metal band Armored Saint. It was released in 1987 on Chrysalis Records. They recorded the album as a four-piece as guitarist Phil Sandoval quit the band during the recording of its previous album, Delirious Nomad. After Raising Fear was released, Chrysalis dropped the band. This was the last Armored Saint studio album with guitarist Dave Prichard, who died of leukemia in 1990 before the next album, Symbol of Salvation.

Judas Priest British heavy metal band

Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band formed in West Bromwich in 1969. The band has sold over 50 million copies of their albums to date. They are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the latter half of the 1970s, the band struggled with indifferent record production and lack of major commercial success or attention until 1980, when they adopted a more simplified sound on the album British Steel, which helped shoot them to rock superstar status.

Death of Dave Prichard, Symbol of Salvation and split (1989–1998)

In 1989, while writing and recording rough four-track demos for their next studio album, guitarist Dave Prichard was diagnosed with leukemia. [4] Prichard succumbed to the disease on February 27, 1990, shortly before the recording sessions of Symbol of Salvation began. After a brief hiatus, Phil Sandoval returned to the band and switched from rhythm to lead guitar to replace Prichard. Symbol of Salvation was released in 1991 to widespread critical success. It featured two hits "Reign of Fire" and "Last Train Home". The album was dedicated to the spirit and memory of Dave Prichard, whose solo on the demo recording of the song "Tainted Past" was painstakingly and carefully transferred and used on the album. The tour for Symbol of Salvation was successful; they opened for Suicidal Tendencies on their Lights...Camera...Revolution! tour and Savatage on their Streets tour. They also toured with the Scorpions, Wrathchild America and Sepultura. [2] [3] [4]

Leukemia group of cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow

Leukemia, also spelled leukaemia, is a group of blood cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal blood cells. These blood cells are not fully developed and are called blasts or leukemia cells. Symptoms may include bleeding and bruising, feeling tired, fever, and an increased risk of infections. These symptoms occur due to a lack of normal blood cells. Diagnosis is typically made by blood tests or bone marrow biopsy.

<i>Symbol of Salvation</i> 1991 studio album by Armored Saint

Symbol of Salvation is the fourth album by American heavy metal band Armored Saint. It was released in 1991 on Metal Blade Records and was their last album before going on an extended hiatus that would last until 1999. The songs on this album were written and demoed between 1988 and 1990 with original guitarist Dave Prichard, who died of leukemia in 1990 prior to recording. The first guitar solo on "Tainted Past" was lifted from a 1989 4-track demo recorded by Prichard. The album was produced by Dave Jerden, who had produced Alice In Chains and Jane's Addiction albums beforehand. Jerden would go on to produce vocalist John Bush's first album with Anthrax, Sound of White Noise in 1993.

Suicidal Tendencies American crossover thrash band

Suicidal Tendencies are an American crossover thrash band formed in 1980 in Venice, California by vocalist Mike Muir, who is the only remaining original member of the band. Along with D.R.I., Corrosion of Conformity, and Stormtroopers of Death, they are often credited as one of "the fathers of crossover thrash". Their current lineup includes Muir, guitarists Dean Pleasants and Ben Weinman, bassist Ra Díaz and drummer Dave Lombardo. Notable musicians who have contributed to the band's studio or live activities include guitarists Rocky George and Mike Clark, bassists Louiche Mayorga, Robert Trujillo, Josh Paul and Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner, and drummers Amery Smith, Jimmy DeGrasso, Brooks Wackerman, David Hidalgo Jr., Thomas Pridgen and session musician Josh Freese.

In 1992, the band contributed the song "Hanging Judge" to the Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth soundtrack, as well as made a brief appearance in the film. Several months later, John Bush was offered the position of lead vocalist in the very successful thrash band Anthrax. Unsure of Armored Saint's future, Bush accepted the job. The Sandoval brothers attempted to audition new members to create a new chapter, yet after many failed attempts, Armored Saint was officially disbanded.

<i>Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth</i> 1992 film by Anthony Hickox

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is a 1992 American horror film and third installment in the Hellraiser series. It was directed by Anthony Hickox and stars Doug Bradley, Terry Farrell, Paula Marshall, and Kevin Bernhardt. Ashley Laurence, who starred in the previous two films, has a cameo. Following the events of Hellbound: Hellraiser II, in which the demon Pinhead (Bradley) is imprisoned in a statue, he resurrects himself by absorbing the life force of unlucky humans. After converting several power-hungry youths into new Cenobites, Pinhead goes on a rampage, opposed by a reporter (Farrell) and the spiritual manifestation of his good half.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter is often sympathetic to liberal social issues and often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Anthrax (American band) American thrash metal band

Anthrax is an American heavy metal band from New York City, formed in 1981 by rhythm guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker. The group is considered one of the leaders of the thrash metal scene from the 1980s and is one of the "Big Four" thrash metal bands with Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer; Anthrax is the only one of the four from the East Coast, and often credited as one of the early thrash metal bands to emerge from there, along with Overkill and Nuclear Assault. The band has released 11 studio albums, several other albums, and 26 singles, including collaborating on a single with American hip hop group Public Enemy. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Anthrax sold 2.5 million records in the United States from 1991 to 2004, with worldwide sales of 10 million.

After Armored Saint disbanded, Joey Vera kept busy playing with such bands as Fates Warning, Lizzy Borden and Chroma Key. He released a solo album in 1994 and started a successful second career as a producer and engineer. The Sandoval brothers formed Life After Death... Life after Death released a self entitled record on the now defunct John Sutherland record label Indivision, and released the Record on the now defunct European label Rising sun, and Jeff Duncan formed DC4 with brothers Shawn and Matt, and former Dio guitarist Rowan Robertson.

Reunion (1999–present)

In 1999, with Anthrax on temporary hiatus, John Bush and Joey Vera decided to reform Armored Saint. The entire Symbol of Salvation lineup returned to the studio, and in 2000 the album Revelation was released. It included the band's first song with Spanish lyrics, Written by Gonzo Sandoval & John Bush "No Me Digas". A small club tour opening for Dio and Lynch Mob followed.

The following year, the band released Nod to the Old School , a collection of rarities, demos and outtakes (many from the Prichard years), plus a few new tracks. Soon after, John Bush returned to the studio with Anthrax, and Armored Saint was once again placed on indefinite hiatus.

In 2004, Vera rejoined Bush in Anthrax on a temporary basis, filling in for bassist Frank Bello. Early in 2005, Anthrax's Scott Ian announced that their classic Among the Living -era lineup was reforming, leaving the membership of Bush and Vera in question. Bush stated his involvement with Anthrax was over.

This move gave hope to many that Armored Saint would once again record. A one-off show with the Revelation lineup took place in 2005, and in 2006 the band embarked on a new tour.

As part of their 20th anniversary, Metal Blade released a 3-CD special edition of Symbol of Salvation in 2003. This contains the original CD, a second CD of demos of the songs plus the first part of an interview of the band members by Metal Blade founder Brian Slagel. The third CD contains the second half of that interview. Also reissued was the band's long out of print live video A Trip Thru Red Times.

The band released their sixth album titled La Raza on March 16, 2010.

On December 7, 2011, the band was invited to play 1 of 4 shows @ the 30th Anniversary of Metallica. The show was at the Legendary Fillmore in Beautiful San Francisco California.

On February 11, 2013, Vera officially announced via Facebook and Twitter that the band had begun working on their seventh studio album. The album, titled Win Hands Down , was released on June 2, 2015. [5] Win Hands Down debuted at #183 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. [1] The album sold double what their previous effort, La Raza, sold upon its release in 2010. The album also reached #33 on the German Top 100 albums charts. [6]

On February 24, 2017, Armored Saint released their first live album in 29 years, Carpe Noctum. [7] [8]

Asked in March 2017 about the follow-up to Win Hands Down, Bush stated, "We haven't really collectively started working on anything. Sure, all the guys are accumulating some stuff in their minds. I have a lot of lyrical ideas written down, but we haven't started writing any songs yet. Armored Saint, sometimes, we don't move at the quickest pace. I think it would be a good idea if we wanted to make a new record to move on it a little quicker. I've said numerous times I'd rather have the quality of the material than feeling pressured to put out something in a certain amount of time be the primary motivation for it. That being said, we're no spring chickens, I ain't going to lie. Trying to wait ten years, five years for a new record, it's probably a little bit too long. If we do make a new record and if we can try to make the material be as high quality as Win Hands Down, then it would be cool to be able to get something out sooner than later. That being said, we haven't worked on anything yet." [9] On May 23, 2019, Armored Saint announced on their Instagram page that they have begun writing and demoing songs for their new album. [10]


John Bush was invited by drummer Lars Ulrich to audition as singer for Metallica in 1983, following the release of their debut album, Kill 'Em All , as frontman James Hetfield was not confident in his own singing abilities and wanted to focus on playing guitar. However, Bush turned down the offer as Armored Saint was still gaining popularity at the time. In 1986 during the Raising Fear recording sessions, Metallica contacted Joey Vera to replace bassist Cliff Burton after his untimely death.

It was revealed in an outtake from the documentary film Metallica: Some Kind of Monster that Phil Sandoval was involved in an altercation with Ulrich while attending a 1982 party. At that time, every time they heard "Ace of Spades" by Motörhead, they would begin dog piling each other. During one of these outbursts, Dave Mustaine misread the scenario and thought Sandoval pushed Ulrich to the ground; he got involved and purposely ended up breaking Sandoval's ankle. Mustaine recounts that to this day he feels bad about the incident[ citation needed ], but that he was simply defending his band mate. Mustaine later made amends by apologizing to Sandoval and giving him one of his own ESP guitar s, as closure.

In 1992, Armored Saint appeared in the film Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth , performing the song "Hanging Judge" in the club that Terry Farrell's character visits.

Band members

Current members
Former members


Armored Saint



YearTitleLabelOther information
1983 Armored Saint EP Metal Blade 3 song EP
1984 March of the Saint Chrysalis
1985 Delirious Nomad
1987 Raising Fear
1988 Saints Will Conquer Metal Blade Live album
1991 Symbol of Salvation Reissued in 2003 with 3 disc Deluxe version
2000 Revelation
2001 Nod to the Old School A few new tracks plus rarities, demos and live material
2010 La Raza Released: March 16, 2010
2015 Win Hands Down Released: June 2, 2015
2016Carpe NoctumLive album

Other appearances

YearTitleLabelOther information
1982 Metal Massacre II Metal BladeCompilation featuring "Lesson Well Learned"
1985Crazed - an all out metal assaultJSI (Jelto Concepts Incorporated) recordsCompilation of various metal bands featuring "Can u deliver"
1988 The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II (soundtrack) Capitol/I.R.S.Soundtrack to the movie of the same title. Featuring "You Can Run..."
1996MetalmeisterMetal BladeCompilation featuring "Creepy Feelings"


YearTitleLabelOther information
1987A Trip Thru Red TimesChrysalisLive bootleg video. Re-released by Metal Blade in 2004
1992Hellraiser III
2004Lessons Not Well LearnedMetal Blade

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<i>Saints Will Conquer</i> 1988 live album by Armored Saint

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<i>Revelation</i> (Armored Saint album) 2000 studio album by Armored Saint

Revelation is the fifth studio album by American heavy metal band Armored Saint. It was released in 2000 on Metal Blade Records. Armored Saint reformed in the entire Symbol of Salvation lineup to record Revelation in 1999 after six years of being disbanded. The result was a solid album, a natural sequel of their previous effort. The limited edition came with bonus CD-ROM including the complete A Trip Thru Red Times video.

<i>Nod to the Old School</i> 2001 compilation album by Armored Saint

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Win Hands Down is the seventh album by the Southern California heavy metal band Armored Saint. It was released on June 2, 2015. The vocals were recorded at Bridge Recording in Los Angeles, guitars and bass were recorded at Travis Dickerson Studios in Chatsworth and drums were recorded at Clearlake Audio in Burbank.


  1. 1 2 Armored Saint - chart history,
  2. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 8, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. 1 2 "KNAC.COM - Features - Exclusive Interview: JOHN BUSH Of ARMORED SAINT". KNAC.COM. August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  4. 1 2 ARMORED SAINT Announces North American Tour; Band To Perform Symbol Of Salvation In Its Entirety
  5. "Armored Saint To Release Win Hands Down Album In June". March 4, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  6. "ARMORED SAINT – Win Hands Down Debuts On Billboard Chart". Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  7. "ARMORED SAINT: 'Carpe Noctum' Live Album Details Revealed". November 10, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  8. "ARMORED SAINT: Official 'March Of The Saint' Performance Video". January 12, 2017. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  9. "ARMORED SAINT Singer Doesn't 'Want To Alienate Any Particular Possible Fan Because Of A Political Belief'". March 11, 2017. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  10. "ARMORED SAINT: 'We're Writing A New Record'". May 23, 2019. Retrieved May 23, 2019.