Band Site: www.johnnoarms.com
John No Arms hails from Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. The band plays a high octane pub rock, mixing up some punk and metal influences. At times they manage to sound like Tom Angelripper's side project “Unkel Tom” or some German party metal like Tankard, at other times like a California hard core punk band, or even Southern rock, at other times eschewing the NWOBHM sound, but the blend is something that John No Arms manage to make their own.
The band was started in 2002 by frontman Renato BT with some personages with monikers reminiscent of the early Brazilian thrash scene: Mauricio Desecrator on guitar, Kim on bass, and Malufucker on drums. With this lineup the band released two demos. Following some personnel changes, moving up on the local scene, playing some festivals with Suffocation, Napalm Death and other world renown performers and losing a band member to a ‘mui guapa’ chick (I guess that would mean a hot samba babe?) the band managed to persevere.
We get to 2012 and the current band lineup of Renato BT (vocal), Sir Arthur (guitar), Leo Krieger (bass) and Fábio Krieger (drums). According to the band, the album, “Bar” was completed and released in 2015.
I can't say that there is a bad song on this album, although some choices were a little strange to say the least. “One Minute to Midnight” is a piano pub tune with layered screamo/death metal vocals that leave you wondering exactly what were they thinking. “Troll Lament” also fills a little strange as it inhibits the flow of the album and is some kind of a strange bass solo with some industrial dirt thrown on top. “Bar Drink Company” starts as a flamenco tune and devolves into some layered bar drunkard style choruses that might also be not quite on par with the quality on the rest of the album, although it smells of bear and sweat, which is probably why it included. The rest of the tunes are quite solid and walk a fine line, sometimes changing several styles in a single tune and doing it well. If I have to pick favorite tunes, for me it would be the CD's first three songs - “John No Arms”, “Beer Book” and “Mafia Queen”. “John No Arms” is a solid Motorhead style bruiser. “Beer Book” and “Mafia Queen” pretty much continue in this direction while adding some more sophisticated NWOBHM melodies. “Viking Life” starts off like an Amon Amarth intro then meshes into a mishmash of styles, blended well together, with some razor sharp tempo changes. “Why” reminds me of a D.R.I. Tune, short and sweet delivery. “This Guy is a Black Metal Maniac” blends punk with black metal, to pay homage to Quorthon of Bathory fame. Overall, John No Arms provides quite an enjoyable listening experience, and makes a blend of styles uniquely their own.
Reviewed by A. Dorian