Artillery - My blood 4/5

Reviewed: 6-1-11


1. Mi sangre (The blood song)
2. Monster
3. Dark days
4. Death is an illusion
5. Ain't giving in
6. Prelude to madness
7. Thrasher
8. Warrior blood
9. Concealed in the dark
10. End of eternity
11. The great
12. Show your hate
13. Eternal war 2011

The 6th full-length CD from these Danish speed metal/thrash veterans is nothing short of excellent and it's essential for those who treasure CD's like Metallica's 'Ride the lightning', Exodus' 'Bonded by blood' and Overkill's 'Taking over'.

It seems thrash fans have had an embarrassment of redemptive riches of late. The sub-genre that started to carve away at heavy metal in the late-80s had long waned, and was much slower to return to strength than the resurgence of pure metal and power metal bands providing us glory over the last 15 years. However, over the past few years, bands like Heathen, Exodus, Testament and Overkill have returned with some of their best work ever, inspired and effective, while other bands like Megadeth and Metallica have at least returned to respectability. Artillery's latest CD 'My blood' continues that former trend with devastating power and skill.

The line between massive success and obscurity in the music business can be a delicate thing. Artillery was there at the very beginning with 1985's 'Terror squad', and along with 1987's 'Fear of tomorrow' proved they could not only dole out the frantic aggression of their angry peers, but that they weren't going to forget the importance of a melody and a song within all of that. In 1990 they released 'By inheritance', their masterwork to that point, pulling everything together with deadly aplomb, and produced by none other than Flemming Rasmussen ('Master of puppets'), could easily have caught on with the utter stratosphere of metal. It wasn't for 12 years that the band would release another CD, 'B.A.C.K.', and then another decade would pass before 'When death comes', a superb return to form.

'My blood' delivers on all that promise with everything you could ever want in this type of CD. It is a masterfully inspired blend of the compelling instrumental composition of Metallica, circa 'Ride the lightning', the guitar tones honed to razor sharp perfection; the melodic songwriting sensibility and innate lyrical impact of Rage; all combined with enough of the frantic aggressive undertone of Destruction and Kreator. The band steadfastly has their own voice and identity, but brings together just the right diversity in the style of songs to keep the whole work compelling.

Sřren Nico Adamsen, also the vocalist on 'When death comes', does a great job tying the songs together with strong, aggressive presence, and imagining a powerfully melodic blend of the singers for the bands mentioned above would give you a good idea of his style, if you haven't heard him. Michael Stützer and Morten Stützer on guitars provide a dazzling arsenal of superb riffs, leads and crisply delivered power chords, all working together to drive the songs forward, and making it pretty impossible to avoid clutching power chords into your air guitar. Carsten Nielsen on drums and Peter Thorslund on bass provide the thunderous rhythm section that can thrash as hard as anything, but which also weaves through an intricate variety of tempos and feeling.

The CD starts with the devastating epic quasi-title track, "Mi sangre", beginning with a middle-eastern feel before blazing into full on power, but driving a compelling, ominously human chorus. Tracks like "Death is an illusion" and "End of eternity", with their involving lyrics won't take long until they're haunting your thoughts and happily stuck in your head. Somewhat in contrast, "Thrasher" couldn't be a more deconstructed and nostalgic 80s thrash ditty, but for all that self-aware recreation, its exuberant leads stretching across the fretboard still bring something new to their classic favor.

Simply fantastic, powerful and completely engaging, it's a must for any fan of thrash and speed metal.




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