Artillery – “Penalty By Perception” (Metal Blade Records)
Shellshock!!! It’s been 16 years since I heard Artillery’s “Fear Of Tomorrow”, a cult thrash release that really put Denmark on the map! With strong follow up albums in “Terror Squad” and “By Inheritance” sadly the band folded in 1991 with a short lived reactivation at the turn of the century. However, in 2007 the Stützer brothers – Morten and Michael – both decided to get back full time and since then have rapidly regained lost ground through heavy international touring, regular releases and of course, festival appearances! Still, “Penalty By Perception” is something of a shock, bombarding the listener with an ultra loud, powerful sound production that I recommend the band keep, as it really does their material justice. Centered around the dual shredding axes of the Stützers, expect very heavy n raw riffing still ringing true of that underground 80s sound matched by a thundering rhythm especially in Josua Madsen‘s double bass runs and kit smashing. The skill of the Stützers cannot be understated – anyone wanting to know the secret of thrash need only to look at the massive hooks and catches of their riffs, very often delivered in rapid succession and masterfully traded off one another. Equally, Artillery skillfully balance their furor with intelligent additions of melody, especially in Michael Bastholm Dahl’s soulful yet equally powerful vocals, not to mention once again, the Stützers tasteful soloing incorporating neo classical, classic rock, rock n roll as well as heavy metal styles – awesome! I am immensely praiseworthy of this album, which has done these grandads (along with old thrashers like me) proud to a new generation of fans many of whom weren’t even born when the first shells started to rain from these Danes!!!