Warsaw-based band, led since the mid-1980s by singer and songwriter Tomasz Budzyński.
Having been active on the music scene for over two decades, Armia is recognized as one of the most original and distinctive alternative rock bands in Poland. Although based primarily on punk rock and hardcore, Armia's music also integrates elements of classical music, hard rock, heavy metal and progressive rock. Its dense, monolithic sound provides the perfect backdrop for the poetic, spiritual lyrics of charismatic singer Tomasz Budzyński.
Armia was founded in 1985 by Budzyński (formerly of Siekiera), along with guitarist Robert Brylewski (of Kryzys, Brygada Kryzys and Izrael) and philosopher, clarinettist and trumpet player Sławomir Gołaszewski. In 1987 the band recorded its first single, Aguirre, along with a self-titled debut album featuring a number of guest musicians. Horn player Krzysztof "Banan" Banasik joined the band as well, significantly helping to shape its majestic sound. However, the album Armia, released in 1988, suffered from several serious mixing and mastering errors; most of the songs were later re-recorded and released in 1992 on the album Czas i byt.
Armia spent several months in the studio in late 1990, working on songs that would appear on what is probably the band's most famous album. Legenda, released in June 1991, is an almost symphonic wall of sound backed by Budzyński's lyrics, heavily inspired by the concept of gnosis and Christian mysticism. Drummer Piotr "Stopa" Żyżelewicz and bassist Dariusz "Maleo" Malejonek made up the new rhythm section. Armia also toured extensively, releasing several of its live recordings in 1992 on the album Exodus.
Brylewski left the band in 1993 and was temporarily replaced by Michał Grymuza (formerly of Róże Europy). After Triodante, an album inspired by Dante's God's Comedy, Armia found a new guitar player: Dariusz "Popkorn" Popowicz of thrash metal band Acid Drinkers. What followed were the albums Duch and the more meditative Droga, which gave lyrical expression to Budzyński's fascination with Christianity. The band returned to a more aggressive sound in 2005 with Ultima Thule, heavily influenced by rock. Then in 2009, Armia released two albums: Der Prozess, a concept record based on the writing of Franz Kafka, and Freak, which showcased the new influences of free jazz and experimental music.
Armia is currently made up of five members: Budzyński, Banasik, bass player Krzysztof Kmiecik, guitarist Rafał Giec and drummer Tomasz Krzyżaniak.
Author: Maciej Sienkiewicz, November 2010.