Artillery – “The Face Of Fear” (Metal Blade Records)
Battle Helm Rating
With their debut “Fear Of Tomorrow” still considered a cult classic, this Danish thrash band have been on a roll since their reformation just over a decade ago. Steadily releasing albums and returning to touring, Artillery are one of the few old school thrash bands that can proudly proclaim to have generations of fans from fathers to sons and even grandchildren who come to their shows! No spring chickens themselves, the core of the band has always been the Stützer brothers – Michael & Morten – whose heavy but catchy riffing has been the defining point of Artillery ‘s popularity. Now with a solid line up including vocalist Michael Bastholm Dahl and Josua Madsen on drums (both of whom joined in 2012), and continuing to work for the fifth time with producer Søren Andersen (Glenn Hughes, Marco Mendoza, Mike Tramp etc), “The Face Of Fear” is the band’s 9th album, and continues Artillery’s tradition of no frills, but catchy old school thrash. Indeed, the inclusion of limited edition re-recorded tracks like ‘Mind Of No Return’ from their 1982 demo “We Are The Dead” only serves to add even more sauce to this generous goose. Opening ferociously on the title track ‘The Face Of Fear’ the shredding tone of the heavy twin guitars accompanied by Madsen’s twacking snare soon lead to the catchy singalong chorus as Bastholm Dahl adds his own stylistic tones to immediately hook you into the album – no time wasting here! Bringing an epic feel to the slower ‘Thirst For The Worst’ allows the newer lads to showcase their talents through plenty of drum rolls and double bass drumming rhythms, along with lots of soulful and high singing before the Stützers come blitzing in with some truly guitar god soloing both melodic and exotic – wow. Giving Bon Jovi a run for his money on ‘Pain’, the initial plucked guitar intro soon erupts into trademark Stützer power riffing and thundering snare that really puts some steam into this thrash ballad, completed by a classic NWOBHM melodic solo – nice! Chundering heavily back on ‘Preaching To The Coverted’ you soon realise where Metallica got their heavy back end thanks to Peter Thorslund rumbling bass lines, along with some very catchy lead breaks and pure heavy metal solos once again from the Stützers, although it’s Bastholm Dahl’s multiple vocal styles that really ensure the hooks sink in deep here. Artillery once again deliver another solid release resplendent with killers, so if you (still) haven’t heard these guys, I can’t think of a better time to check this classic band out!