(Album Review) “X” by ARTILLERY

Danish thrash metallers Artillery have hit a huge milestone reaching their tenth album – the aptly named ‘X’. Their career begin in the mid-1980s and the band soon established themselves in the thrash movement. After almost forty years, the metallers have faced some difficulty with the loss of guitarist – and Stützer’s brother – Morten Stützer in 2019. ‘X’ is the first album writing without Morten but with their new guitarist Kræn Meier, who has performed live with Artillery since 2017.

“We wanted to have the typical Artillery trademarks, like the riffs and hook lines in the usual combination together with aggression and melody. We always try to combine melodic thrash metal with elements from the heavy sounds of the 70s and the 80s, and this time with new elements in some of the songs,” says guitarist Michael Stützer.  “We don’t have to push ourselves hard when we’re writing a record because we love what we’re doing.”

‘The Devil’s Symphony begins in an oriental setting with traditional instruments layered over spoken voices in the background before diving into their intensely, heavy sound. It’s a somewhat unexpected opening but works and does provide something different. The lead vocals soar high above the instrumentation below; their sound is full and impactful with the full range of low and high tones explored across the instruments and vocals. The contrast of Michael’s vocals isn’t jarring but rather elevates the whole track. The energy is uncontainable; Artillery play with the dynamics and structure of the track but the energy simply adapts and doesn’t diminish. They deliver powerful choruses and catchy riffs throughout the music. ‘Turn Up The Rage’ brings in a catchy lead riff along with an epic soaring chorus. ‘Mors Ontologica’ is another track on the album that brings in an anthemic element through soaring vocals, and the haunting toll of the bell in this track adds an extra something to the overall atmosphere. Despite having a distinctive sound, compiled through the powerful vocals and instrumentation, Artillery manage to compose each track so that it has its own identity. They explore different tones and textures which all interact thematically with the lyrical nature of each song.

Artillery’s sound is incredibly well polished. The guitar tones used across the tracks blend perfectly to enhance the overall sound, whilst standing out where they need to. The guitar solos are an important aspect of the music. The solos in their tracks all fit well – none of them feel like they have been included merely for the sake of it. ‘Silver Cross’ sees contrasting higher and lower tones used in an alternative pattern for the solo giving it an extra depth of sound. Whilst ‘Force of Indifference’ features a solo that is just ridiculous fast paced. Full on, intense shredding skills are displayed here. ‘Beggers In Black Suits’ concludes the album with a bang. From the ludicrously fast guitar lead running above the rhythmic chugs and percussion, through to the compelling melody line belonging to the lead vocals. Once again, their energy doesn’t falter – if anything it seems to increase in velocity.

Artillery have produced a stupendously powerful album in ‘X’. The alluring melodies across the instruments and vocals, against the aggressive heavy sounds, create an intense contrast that works fantastically. From start to finish the energy and skill doesn’t let up. The album is a very apt celebration of the milestone they have reached in their musical career.

Tracklisting:

  1. The Devil’s Symphony
  2. In Thrash we Trust
  3. Turn up The Rage
  4. Silver Cross
  5. In Your Mind
  6. The Ghost of Me
  7. Force of Indifference
  8. Varg i Veum
  9. Mors Ontologica
  10. Eternal Night
  11. Beggars In Black Suits


Artillery Line-up:
Michael Bastholm Dahl – vocals

Michael Stützer – guitars

Kræn Meier – guitars

Peter Thorslund – bass

Josua Madsen – drums

Artillery online:

http://www.artillery.dk/
http://twitter.com/artillerymetal

Check out the blistering music video for “In Your Mind” by Artillery below:

Author: Holly Royle

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