In the Eighties ARTILLERY released two albums that deservedly are viewed as cult nowadays. Unfortunately they could not close the gap to the top sellers and their hammer epos “By Inheritance” (1990) was supposed to bring them the breakthrough, which it of course didn’t. 10 years later the Danes tried again with “B.A.C.K.”, which went completely under and could not keep up with the old classics. So I was extremely sceptical when I heard the news that ARTILLERY had come back with a new album: “When Death Comes”.
And I have to say that this piece really blew me away, they could not have made a better album at the intersection of Speed and Thrash Metal. This has it all, starting with the production over the cover to the songs! Because those really carry some weight with them. Of course it is a valid question: Who sings for Flemming Ronsdorf and how is he faring? The new man is called Søren Adamsen and he is doing a brilliant job! His voice is melodic, but if needed can sound raw and gnarly as well. He never sounds very brutal, though, which might be a detriment to some older fans.
Other than that one killer riff chases the next, plus very good melodies and hooks, perfectly placed breaks and solos, basically perfect fodder for any headbanger. The guitarists conjure up world class riffs and I had thought that Thrash had seen it all! Hah, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Granted, we do not get anything really new, but it is the combination that makes it, fits like the ass on the bucket! Biggest surprise: “Delusions Of Grandeur”, which is a track for the ages. This very melodic song doesn’t have anything to do with Speed or Thrash metal, but who cares, it is just great. The structure, the vocals, just great! The album mostly, though, consists of faster tracks that still give your neck a workout and are “old school as fuck”, but without sounding dated.
Despite all potential, though, I will predict that “When Death Comes“ won’t be a mega seller, ARTILLERY are just too good for this world, which has not disappointed me to date. Of course I would be happy to see that these sympathetic Thrash freaks finally would get the success they deserve, but then again, do we really want to have all the trend kids like ARTILLERY? You’ve got your answer!
(Online July 21, 2011)