The Detroit-based punk outfit has operated largely pseudonymously for roughly 14 years, preferring renegade one-off shows at gas stations or rec centers to tours. Its self-produced, highly weird music videos have a “Jackass”-meets-David Lynch aesthetic, with surprisingly advanced production values for an obscure Midwestern hardcore group. Its rare interviews read more as absurdist gonzo journalism than traditional profiles: The Armed has shown up with blunt-smoking bodybuilders or driving a $200,000 Porsche, handed out false or even stolen identities, and provided Hegelian philosophical tangents in response to basic questions like, “Who, exactly, is in the Armed?”

Full feature:

“An intense-looking chap is busting out some choreographed moves on a street corner. He has a bandaged hand and what appears to be a head injury. He might not be OK. Although the music is upbeat he dances with a grim concentration that’s a little more emotional breakdown than it is spontaneous joy. He’s also watching himself through binoculars while lip synching ‘Let me hear those lies…’”

Full review:

"While not an exclusive concept, the idea surrounding The Armed’s fifth album is the truth. Peeling back the ruthless layers of hardcore distortion, the self-professed World’s Greatest Band are further revealing their subterranean pop core without forfeiting any of their principal frameworks. They’ve deftly evolved into a group that could, with the whipping crack of a lightning strike, take over."

Full review: [9/10]

"For years, Detroit’s The Armed have been the strange, shady oddballs of the US’s bubbling hardcore scene. They’ve operated anonymously for their last three albums, up to 2021’s ‘Ultrapop’, which merged the feral mathcore of their earlier releases with arena-rock hooks — helping to set the stage for the current hardcore scene to become the dynamic, diverse force it is now."

Full review: [4/5]