Armed to the teeth with more riffs than you can shake a Howitzer at, Danish thrashers Artillery return with X (Metal Blade Records), their self-explanatory and succinctly titled tenth album. Sadly, guitarist Morten Stützer, brother of fellow founder member and co-guitarist Michael Stützer, passed away in 2019 meaning the band were forced into a change in personnel. His replacement, Sacrificial axeman Kræn Meier, pulls off an excellent job under the darkest of circumstances and this latest record stands as one of their strongest to date.
‘The Devil’s Symphony’ blasts off to a raucous start followed by ‘In Thrash We Trust’, an equally pacey track bolstered by a simple but effective chorus. ‘Turn up The Rage’ takes a heavily melodic turn as frontman Michael Bastholm Dahl really lets his voice fly while ‘Silver Cross’ is another absolute banger.
‘In Your Mind’ is a mid-paced stomper fuelled by a fierce staccato main riff while the excellent ‘The Ghost of Me’ hits power ballad territory square on with hints of Scorpions and Accept. The savage ‘Force of Indifference’ reapplies the speed pedal once again before the band deals out another of their favoured Middle Eastern style riffs on ‘Varg I Veum’.
‘Mors Ontologica’ (roughly translated to “when the spirit is dead”) and ‘Eternal Night’ are further delicious unions of thrash and melody before the album climaxes with the monstrous ‘Beggars In Black Suits’, a song which wonders where financial contributions to certain causes actually end up.
While Dahl’s soaring vocals and the twin guitars of Stützer and Meier draw the attention first, the rhythm section of drummer Josua Madsen and long-serving bassist Peter Thorslund should not be understated in any way, the pair driving each song forwards with relentless precision. Bursting with razor-sharp riffs, frantic shredding, and more hooks than a fisherman’s tackle box, X is another outstanding example of classic Danish thrash.
Buy the album here: https://www.metalblade.com/us/artists/artillery/
8 / 10