Review Summary: Artillery continues on the road they set forth on since their reunion, and they release one of their most ambitious albums yet.
Artillery is a name many thrash fans should know. Hailing from Denmark, they released three great technical thrash albums before splitting up. They reunited briefly and put out the horrendous B.A.C.K.
album. They reunited later with new vocalist Søren Nico Adamsen and released the album When Death Comes
. My Blood
continues on the path that Artillery set forward on the previous album, and it continues to succeed on the same levels.
Now first things first. Many criticized When Death Comes
for Søren’s vocals. Many vastly preferred Fleming Rönsdorf’s vocal style. While I will agree that Fleming is probably my preferred vocalist, don’t brush off Søren simply because he’s NOT Fleming. Søren is a great vocalist in his own right, reaching great highs and some excellent death growls. There’s never a particularly bad moment in the vocals, but the songs Mi Sangre (The Blood Song)
and Death Is An Illusion
are two standout tracks when it comes to Søren’s delivery.
Unfortunately, the things that Søren sings this time around aren’t so good. The lyrics on this album are probably the worst in Artillery history. While there are still more good lyrics than bad, there are still some cringe-worthy moments scattered throughout the album. The song Monster
is the worst offender when it comes to poor lyrics, yet I can’t help singing along on the infectiously catchy chorus or pumping my fist with the verses. The members of Artillery have mastered the art of creating a mood of aggression, but temper it with a dose of melody to create the best of both worlds. A major contributor to that is the skill of the brothers Stützer.
Michael and Morten Stützer definitely know their way around a guitar. They manage to create tons of memorable riffs and solos, and all of them are fantastic. Even the tamest song on the album, the mid-paced Ain’t Giving In
has a perfected air of aggression around it, put in place by their fantastic guitar work. They have also included more Middle Eastern influence in their songs, particularly the song Mi Sangre
. However, instead of being limited to one or two songs like in the past, here there is a little bit of the influence in all of the songs. Not one particular song outshines the others on guitar, because all of them are so great.
The bass playing of Peter Thorslund is surprisingly robust for a thrash metal album, particularly modern thrash metal. You can constantly hear it, and it provides a good dark undertone for all the songs. While not particularly technical or outstanding, it is pretty solid.
Cartsen Nielsen’s drumming, however, is another story. It is consistently great, technical, and fast. In other words, it’s pretty awesome. I can think of no other drummer in the thrash metal genre that has astounded me so. He’s not as fast paced as say, Dave Lombardo of Slayer fame, but he’s pretty damn good.
Overall, this album surprised me a bit. The expanded Middle East influence was a pleasant surprise, and the 7 and a half minute opener Mi Sangre
took me aback as well. While those are two great surprises, the surprise of the poor lyrics at some point, was not as much of a good surprise. Overall though, the blemish of some lyrical missteps is a small price to pay when you compare it to the package you’re getting from the album. Worth any thrash metal fan’s time.
-Astounding Guitar Work
-Fast, Technical Drumming
-Some truly awful lyrical moments
Mi Sangre (The Blood Song)
Death Is An Illusion
Note: The special edition version contains two re-recorded tracks from Artillery’s debut album Fear of Tomorrow
. While interesting, the originals are superior, and not really worth the extra money to get the tracks. Only get these if you are a big Artillery fan or prefer Søren’s vocals over Fleming’s.