WHEN Artillery released their last album 'Legions' it was clear that they were still a vibrant metal band, but come 2016 they have stepped their game up yet further on their latest release on Metal Blade 'Penalty By Perception'.

This is an album that not only deserves a place in the collection of all thrash fans, but deserves a wider audience beyond the realms of thrashers.

It is, however, more of a grower than an instant like. On first listen it comes across as another of the heritage thrash albums kicking around at the minute. But, if you persist there is a lot going on.

This is a nuanced release from the Danish veterans that gives back in spade loads with every listen of this 11-track monster.

While the guitar work of the Stutzer brothers has the trademark Artillery riffing what makes this album really rise is the rhythm work on each track. Josua Madsen (drums) and Peter Thorsland (bass) maintain a dynamic performance throughout, propelling the band, and allowing the Stutzers and singer Michael Bastholm Dahl to deliver to the highest levels.

The band grew up as contemporaries of the growth of thrash, and on 'Penalty By Perception' they take the template and give it a firm kick up the backside. 'Mercy of Ignorance' and 'When The Magic is Gone' are among the stand-out tracks, which are both familiar in sound and fresh in output, with a heavier attack than on 'Legions'.

Michael Stutzer states this is something intentional.

 "'Penalty by Perception' has the typical Artillery riffing, with powerful drumming and melodic singing," he said. "[It's full of] catchy hook-lines. We also wanted the sound to be a bit heavier and more powerful than on 'Legions'."
When, after a couple of listens, you get the lyrical content dealing with religiosity and its inherent danger to humanity's progress, you may get a sense of injustice.

That injustice is the status of Artillery...

The so-called 'Big Four' and other Bay Area and mid-European bands have produced little new (apart from some notable exceptions such as Anthrax's new release). At the same time as the big bands enjoy success playing old standards and re-treading riffs Artillery have attempted, and largely succeeded in keeping their sound fresh.

One can only hope that they gain more exposure with this release. What they do have is a sound fanbase to build upon.

"We have some of the most dedicated and diehard fans from the early days of Artillery still supporting the band," he said. "It's awesome to meet them when we are on tour.

"The difference is that now they are coming with their sons and daughters and this is amazing. Half of our fans were not even born when we released our first album, 'Fear of Tomorrow', but our new fans know all the songs!"
Whether any get the lyrical references to Superstring theory on 'Cosmic Brain' or the nod to Plato on the title track remains to be seen, but will no doubt be informed by any forthcoming interviews that the band give.

What is sure that if you give this album a chance it will reward you. Don't listen to it on streaming services, take the risk and but it!

Review by Jonny

Authors: Jonny

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