Artillery - My Blood
2011 Metal Mind Productions
Ray Van Horn, Jr.
Danish thrashers Artillery couldn't have asked for a better comeback party with Metal Mind Productions as their hosts. 2009 saw the return of the Stutzer brothers with Artillery's When Death Comes, their first album in a decade since B.A.C.K. Unfortunately, B.A.C.K. was indicative more in title than in actual standing. Despite a pleasant critical reception, Artillery packed up their amps shortly after its release.
Talent has never been the issue with this band. If not for a flushing of their interests back in the early nineties, Artillery might've made more of a transcontinental impact. Fear of Tomorrow, Terror Squad and By Inheritance are likely albums you never got to hear the first time around, though Metal Mind has made sure you don't miss out this time with their reissues. You know all the fanfare Metal Mind has placed behind Artillery has been a bit of a pacification to make up for the lack of label support that did in these speedy Danes--along with the band's internal squabbles.
My Blood is Artillery's latest and honestly, if there's any complaint to the thing, duration is it. The songs are well-crafted and performed. Vocalist Soren Adamsen has been more than a catalyst for this band; taking the control helm for My Blood, he lends more than just professional singing graces to Artillery. His voice is highly welcome, he knows how to drag a long caterwaul without making it cheesy, and his pentameter is sharp as a cutlass. He also captures his compatriots with a solid ear for detail.
Describing My Blood as having "an almost rock 'n roll feeling in some of the songs," Adamsen isn't wrong. Bits of "Death Is An Illusion" and "Mi Sangre (The Blood Song)" actually deliver some hip-shaking groove when slowing the velocity down a tick. Then there's the melodic power anthem of "Ain't Giving In," which dabs and bobs with pure rock motifs on the verses before cutting loose on the thrash-minded choruses. Intricacy meets blunt force.
It's this rock 'n roll spice that creates a slightly new dimension for Artillery and My Blood. Frankly, the spirit of rock makes My Blood rather enjoyable at its core. Even the articulation Artillery tinkers with on My Blood is worth keying in on. The instrumental interlude "Prelude to Madness" is as progressive as anything from Yes or Testament, particularly when followed by the unapologetically fast "Thrasher." Listen for that rock 'n roll shake-up on "Thrasher's" breakdown segments. It's one reason the song kicks so much tail, aside from the reckless beat by Carsten N. Nielsen and the delicious shredding by Michael and Morten Stutzer.
The digipak edition of My Blood includes two bonus tracks, which means you're in for a treat if you're a big fan of this group. As it is, My Blood clocks in well past the 50-minute mark. Despite some nifty work from the band all-around, My Blood could've made a better impact if kept to 35-40 minutes. Why has Amon Amarth grown as artists? Shaking up their blistering songwriting schisms is one reason, which Artillery can likewise boast. A shortening of Amon's recent albums' playing time is a different key component altogether.
Certainly Artillery might feel a bit entitled to pelt out to their hearts' content. Their hiatus obviously festered some creativity, much less a desire to purge their beasts. Once again, there's absolutely no criticism of their work, per se. Artillery shows they have tons of metal heart and can stand in there with anybody. Perhaps the next go-round, they'll trim the fat a bit, or hold a few songs for yet another release thereafter. Create your own job security, gents.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Artillery - My Blood