Artillery – X

X Album Cover Art

Artillery – X
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 07/05/2021
Running Time: 45:48
Review by Simon Black
9/10

This album was a delightfully pleasant surprise. When a band has been at it for forty years and its members cracking on a bit, you expect the engine to not be running at the kind of ferocity that it did when they were younger, back when wearing studded leather straps in public was a bit rebellious and dodgy moustaches were the thing. Well, that dodgy look may be long gone, but Artillery have managed to turn out what feels like one of their finest hour’s with this, their tenth record (although I still think the anthemic ‘In Thrash We Trust’ from the second track on the disk would have been a better title).

Back in the day, Artillery were one of those bands that hadn’t quite registered on the radar much here in the UK when Thrash was exploding world-wide. Although I had come across their rather explosive debut “Fear Of Tomorrow”, they didn’t tour enough to push themselves into the consciousness of us Brits in the way other European stalwarts of the scene did and so unless you had seen them on the bill at a festival over there, you were probably blissfully unaware of them. Taking most of the 1990’s and 2000’s off probably did not help with maintaining a profile here though. The band have also endured some recent tragedy with the passing of founding guitarist Morten Stützer, suddenly, in 2019. You would have forgiven his surviving brother Michael for wanting to hang up his axe at this point, given that the brothers were the song-writing engine at the heart of the band, but having on boarded long-time friend Kræn Meier the band have taken that emotion and forged what is head and shoulders the strongest album since their debut in 1985.

This does not sound like a band who have been around for such a long time. It sounds as fresh, focussed and energetic as that crucial first record, with the added benefit of experience and the kind of crisp and modern production values which although more affordable and technically achievable in this day and age, still many bands struggle to find. They’ve been working with Producer Søren Andersen for a while, but this time he really seems to have nailed their sound with a rich and well produced piece of work. Thrash and high production values did not always go together historically, so this is important. In days gone by the best thrash albums were often the ones with the weaker production, given that the speed and urgency borne from necessity of limited budget and studio time often leant the recordings an energy that became conspicuous by its absence when bands got better established and hard more time to polish their chops. Andersen crucially has managed to capture both the immediacy without sacrificing the quality here.

But then when you have song-writing of this calibre to work with, half the work is already done. The eleven songs on here positively fly by in a blur of technically proficient and blisteringly accurate speed. Artillery’s sound is subtly different from many Thrash acts, as Michael Bastholm Dahl’s clean vocal style stands out from the usual guttural delivery of the sub-genre. Personally his wailing tone adds an emotional timbre so often missing from Thrash, and allows the meaning of the words to emerge clearly. This counterpoints superbly with the aggressive and frenetic delivery of the instruments and I am left with an album that I am not done with yet. The band also vary the tone in unexpected ways – ‘The Ghost Of Me’ is the kind of ballad that you would not expect to find in the genre, but it works and really shows just what Dahl’s voice can achieve. Equally the more Traditional Metal sound of ‘Eternal Night’ brings a refreshing change from the all-out speed and illustrates a band with song-writing maturity and confidence that experience naturally brings, but who have not lost their mojo. A resounding hit for me.

‘In Your Mind’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Devil’s Symphony
02. In Thrash We Trust
03. Turn Up The Rage
04. Silver Cross
05. In Your Mind
06. The Ghost Of Me
07. Force Of Indifference
08. Varg I Veum
09. Mors Ontologica
10. Eternal Night
11. Beggars In Black Suits

LINE-UP:
Michael Bastholm Dahl – Vocals
Michael Stützer – Guitars
Kræn Meier – Guitars
Peter Thorslund – Bass
Josua Madsen – Drums

LINKS:

Artillery Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Artillery – Penalty of Perception

Artillery – Penalty of Perception
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 25/03/2016
Running Time: 53:44
Review By Dawn King
8/10

Being not too familiar with the music of Danish band, Artillery, I jumped at the chance to review their new album “Penalty of Perception” which was released on 25th March 2016 by Metal Blade. Known for their highly energetic, riff-centric, and often fast paced music I knew I was going to enjoy this one.

Formed in 1982 in Tasstup, a suburb of Copenhagen, by drummer Carsten Nielsen and guitarist Jørgen Sandau, they took the name Artillery from the Tank track “Heavy Artillery” which featured on the “Filth Hounds of Hades” album, and have seen many line-up changes over the years, including the departure of both founding members in 2012 and 1989 respectively.

Now in their second reunion after reforming in 2007, this is the eighth studio album released by a band who are still a strong tour de force on the metal circuit, and, this time round, they have produced a traditional, classically driven thrash metal album, that really does kick you in the teeth, and then some.

Opening with ‘In Defiance of Conformity’, a song I think most of us as metal heads can relate to lyrically, the album is a gritty, technical and aggressive aural assault, packed with fast, intense, adrenalin-fuelled riffing, stylish up-tempo gallops and melodic harmonies, all mixed together with tight thrash rhythms.

At 53 minutes, considered too long by some, the continuing pace is relentless, only slowing slightly for “When the Magic Is Gone,” before “Cosmic Brain,” one of the best songs on the album, kicks in again with a thunderous roar. There are hints of many bands in their playing, in particular the very Dream Evil-esque “Deity Machine”, but they bring together the various elements of thrash beautifully.

The band is tight, the riffs of the Stützer brothers, Michael and Morten, defining their sound, the rhythm section of bassist Peter Thorslund and drummer Josua Madsen holding their own and singer Michael Bastholm Dahl choosing more melodic tones than the harsh, brutal ones favoured by some.

This is a sometimes powerful, sometimes straightforward album, with technical riffs and breakneck shredding but has just the right balance of melodic touches and hard-hitting sections.

This album doesn’t break any new ground for the band, following on from where 2013’s Legions album, which I also checked out along with this one, left off, their sound already well-established………

……….but it should secure their position as one of the most respected veterans of the genre.

Track Listing:
1. In Defiance Of Conformity
2. Live By The Scythe
3. Penalty By Perception
4. Mercy Of Ignorance
5. Rites Of War
6. Sin Of Innocence
7. When The Magic Is Gone
8. Cosmic Brain
9. Deity Machine
10. Path Of The Atheist
11. Welcome To The Mind Factory

LINE-UP:
Michael Bastholm Dahl – vocals
Michael Stutzer – guitars
Morten Stutzer – guitars
Peter Thorslund – bass
Josua Madsen – drums

LINKS:

artilleryband2013_638

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Metal Gods TV. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Reproduced here with kind permission from Metal Gods TV