The Kodan Armada - Collections Vol. 1 (Cover Artwork)

The Kodan Armada

Collections Vol. 1 (2004)

Magic Bullet

I was introduced to the Kodan Armada about four years ago, when bassist Cory Popp was roommates with a guy I knew in college. Cory was actually responsible for introducing me to a lot of good bands, one of which was his Louisville native Kodan Armada. Since then, the Armada has all but disbanded, forming new bands and leaving just a few out of print records behind. But that was my introduction to the band. This album would serve as a pretty good combination introduction and retrospective to anyone trying to get a taste of what the Armada was about.

This song is about my dad raping my sister.
That's the first line of the album, that's how most people would be introduced to the Armada, and it really shows you what you're about to get into. The band was about, if anything, making the most of life, even at its absolute worst and most fucked up of times. The music is reminiscent of Circle Takes the Square, City of Caterpillar, and Saetia, but with a lyrical bias towards positive outlooks in times of an overly aggressive media, personal strife, and messed up social situations.

Throughout the album, live clips are dispersed between songs, clips from shows when the band would say what a song is about or why they wrote it. It's an interesting approach and the only negative part is that it is severely uneven; while the studio recordings are the smoothest and best produced of the Armada's catalogue, the live clips are static ridden and hard to make out.

The song choices for the album collect what are the best of Kodan's full-length, Ohio Killed the Grey Ghost, and various splits and out of print seven inches. Most of them sound re-recorded for this collection, which is good, because a lot of the prior recordings were uneven. I'd say the only negative part about the selection is that the choices are all very anthemic in quality; while listening to their separate albums, these songs serve as longer buildups between chaotic and short energetic spurts of shouting and mayhem. When you have songs that all resemble the same formula of an extended intro that leads into an extraordinarily fast and loud climax, the songs can lose some of their intrigue by the end of the disc. Notable exceptions are "Bullshit Buffet" and "Cops!," where the band basically just gets down to business and wreaks havoc for a minute.

In the end, if you're a fan of the very screamy hardcore that has metal influences (which come in amazingly well on the re-recorded "Butterfly Effect"), this album would be recommended. While not as well-written lyrically as the aforementioned Circle Takes The Square, it does possess a similar energy while still taking the time to actually be accomplished in the fashion of musicmanship. If you want some personal recommendations, I'd go with "iwishididn'," "Short Walks Down Long Roads" and "Butterfly Effect."