Mystery’s played out, apparently. No one cares if you’ve got no press photos anymore, or if you go by a pseudonym or a single letter. Jungle did it best, and we’re all fed up with it, right? Wrong. Just ask The Armed.
There’s very little to know about The Armed, because any information they do give out feels like it could be a joke. Within the hardcore scene, they’re already near-legendary, their ‘Only Love’ LP warping the boundaries of the genre, while granting them the attention and adoration of iconic scene figures like Converge’s Kurt Ballou. Oh, and somehow, they appeared on a Ford advert. Nope, no idea how either. The whole thing would feel like an exercise in irony, if there wasn’t so much conviction backing their every move. They’re like the KLF, but with mosh-pits rather than money piles.
The closest anyone’s ever got to the group came with a recent Noisey interview, which, to be honest, only posed more questions. There’s countless cases of mistaken (or misleading?) identities, to the point where no-one can be totally sure the band even exists. On numerous occasions, the ‘members’ of The Armed (or possibly their stand-ins?) flat-out ignore questions and just say random sentences. There’s also this frankly incredible image: “The Armed’s guitarist is still wearing his swamp-leaf ghillie suit. He wore it the entire four-and-a-half-hour drive home, sitting in silence. No one laughs, jokes, or even acknowledges this.” Sure.
The Armed’s dedication to their art, though, is no joke whatsoever. From live shows which have already seen them pinned as one of heavy music’s very best bands, to an ongoing, surrealist, self-directed music video series, which feels more akin to the work of a Hollywood director than a hardcore band, they’re a group like no other around. Their upcoming UK tour is absolutely essential.
The video for ‘Heavily Lined’, premiering below on NME, is a harrowing watch. Predominantly soundtracked by glitched-out, skittish electronica, and depicting a haunted individual going about his everyday mundanity, it takes over 4 minutes for things to kick off. But my god, do they kick off.
As ‘Heavily Lined”s spasmodic, frenzied hardcore takes centre stage, our protagonist hits the streets, custom-built boombox on his back, bellowing in the face of everyone in sight. He pops into cocktail bars, nicking snacks and shots, and scrapping with security guards all across town. At one point, the cops show up. He gives ’em the slip, naturally.
It’s the perfect encapsulation of The Armed’s mantra. Heavy but hilarious, weird and wonderful – now’s the time to get on board. The Armed play the following UK and European shows next year: