The Armed’s most recent album, Only Love, came out almost seven months ago, at the end of April 2018. Six weeks later, we ranked it at #39 on our list of 2018’s 50 Best Albums So Far. Remember that? Any of that? No? No, it’s understandable. When it comes to new music, seven months might as well be three years (and three years might as well be a decade). Consider: There’s absolutely no way to calculate how many albums are released in a given year, but as of 2015, the number was apparently approximately 100,000. (!!!) It’s safe to say the total today is substantially higher than it was way back then. There’s no way to keep up, obviously. There’s no way, even, to keep up with ONE PERCENT of the new music released in one year. Worse than that, though: There’s really no way — no meaningful way, at least — to keep track of the new music with which you have kept up.
There are 11 songs on Only Love, and “Heavily Lined” is one of those songs. It kicks off the album’s final third, sequenced after the triad of “Parody Warning,” “Fortune’s Daughter,” and “Luxury Themes,” an unholy three-song run that stands alongside any I’ve heard in 2018. Today, the Armed share a self-made “short film” scored by “Heavily Lined.” (The song clocks in at 2:28; the accompanying video is just shy of seven minutes.) According to the press materials that came with the news announcement, the Armed released the video “to remind everyone that they put out one of the best experimental hardcore/punk albums of the year.”
I wish more bands would do this. It often seems as though we stop talking about a new record roughly a week after it enters the world. In the case of records like Only Love, though — records full of complex, adventurous, unexpected, exciting, earth-scorching, trail-blazing music — it’s virtually impossible to metabolize the work in such a timeframe.
The Armed don’t make it easy, mind you. As I wrote about the LP in the aforementioned Best Albums So Far list:
Only Love belongs to a species of music never before encountered by humans. It is highly intelligent, advanced, and evolved. It is unimaginably fast, violent, and powerful. It is unbound by any known parameters or laws. It is a magnificent beast to behold, even as it annihilates you.
The Armed fill two minutes of time with 20 minutes of music. AND THEN, they pair that with high-concept visuals that don’t exactly sync with the music and can’t even be parsed unless properly contextualized. For instance: The short film for “Heavily Lined” is a sequel to the short film made by the band for their 2015 track “Paradise Day.” Do you have to be familiar with the “Paradise Day” clip in order to truly understand the song “Heavily Lined”?
This isn’t rhetorical. I honestly don’t know. I don’t know that I truly understand “Heavily Lined,” much less Only Love. I do know that I love it, and I love that it refuses to reveal itself right away. It doesn’t require a long-term commitment — it instantly sounds absolutely fucking amazing — but it encourages curiosity, it draws you deeper, it gives you more and more, and it promises more, still. If you needed a reminder, you’ve got one here, today, now.
Here’s the video for “Paradise Day,” the short film for which “Heavily Lined” serves as a sequel:
The best thing you can do, honestly, is listen to Only Love beginning to end. I’ll make it easy for ya:
Only Love is out now via No Rest Until Ruin.