Armored Assault: Progressive Thrash from the Midwest
Written by Brett Kihlmire
Many bands form in high school, but few stand the test of time and commitment. Unlike many others, Armored Assault of Des Plaines, Illinois is a success story that has been going strong for more than a decade.
Though much of the original band remains, by the end of their high school years Armored Assault parted ways with their original singer and picked up their now longtime vocalist, Andy ‘Pindy’ Pindelski after his own band split due to college and other commitments.
With Pindelski at the helm the band really began coming into its own and honing their sound, which they describe as progressive thrash metal. For the next few years the band’s lineup remained stable, recording several demos, a rough self-made full length, and a professional recorded debut extended play entitled ‘Dead Before Dawn’ before parting ways with founding guitarist, Rob Suttner.
Following Suttner’s departure Tony Notardonato of Miles From Exile joined the band to fill the void while they performed “our own little Star Search” according to Pindelski.
“We didn’t want to get whoever we could get right away. We wanted to get someone we knew was good and would match with us.”
Eventually, the band brought in Tony’s nephew, Marc Notardonato, who has been with the band ever since and was featured on their second extended play ‘Call the Beast.’
“We were lucky to get him right when he got out of college,” says Pindelski, who says the younger Notardonato had jammed with the band many times before. “When he got home and it was like ‘ok, so you want to do this, right?’”
With the band whole again, Armored Assault pushed on and evolved their sound with the input of their new guitarist.
“Honestly, Marc has brought a lot to the table. He’s been very influential. His material has definitely pushed us to work harder and it’s been great. It’s one of those things where you’re never exactly sure how it’s going to go, but it’s awesome.”
Three years after their official debut EP, Armored Assault recorded their follow up EP ‘Call the Beast’ in 2014. Though it’s been two years already Pindelski says the band won’t be releasing any new material until 2017 due to their wish to put out a quality product and never rush anything out. In that spirit, the band has taken up a DIY approach and will be recording the next EP themselves.
“We just started doing the recording process. We have the songs pretty much complete,” says Pindelski. “It’s gonna be another EP, but we want to see what we can do.”
Though money is always a factor for independent musicians, the band’s reasoning for self-recording their third release is due to the changing environment of the music industry.
“It’s so much more efficient to record a one-off track and release it online,” says Pindelski. “If we can get it down to a system where we’re releasing single songs every couple of months that’d be almost better than recording an EP. DIY is definitely the way to go in the music scene.”
Though the band used to play as many show as possible, whenever possible, Armored Assault is focusing on playing select shows these days.
“We’re trying to space them apart more so,” says Pindelski. “People reach out to us rather than us having to reach out to them.”
In reaction to the band getting more known in their region they’ve realized their value as well as the value of playing fewer shows due to the fact that a show is more memorable when there’s only a few chances to catch one. As well, the band has been playing around the Midwest, but Chicago is without a doubt the band’s home base.
As of this writing Armored Assault is focusing on getting their next EP out and mastering their DIY production skills. As well, they have their minds set on new merchandise, spreading into new markets, and getting their name out further. Least to say, Pindelski isn’t kidding when he says “2017 is going to be an awesome year for us.”