Artillery - Penalty by Perception
Metal Blade
Thrash Metal
11 songs (53:40)
Release year: 2016
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Goat

Classic heavy metal, whether thrashy or straightforward and true, is a rare commodity when done well nowadays, and although there are plenty of bands that make perfectly acceptable metal of this sort, those that are really good at it are rare on the ground. Thank Satan, then, for the likes of Denmark's Artillery, the sort of thrash metal band that thrives on tunefulness rather than pure speed, and although perhaps not up to their 80s heyday, still perfectly capable of cranking out a set of good songs despite being older than a fair few people reading this. Frontman Michael Bastholm Dahl may have only been with the band since 2012 but he's a good fit, having a clear, almost Candlemassy singing voice, perfect for belting out the big vocal lines and leading the tight and capable band through the songs. After all, they should be capable, all but drummer Josua Madsen have been doing this since 1982! Walking a tremendous fine line that allows for plenty of big riffs, melodic leads and infectious vocal hooks with minimum room for experimenting, Artillery have made a solid, fun album here, their eighth full-length in total.

It's almost power metal at moments, albeit US power metal rather than its frillier European cousin. Everything is guitar-driven, the band's experience shining through in the powerfully good riff writing and grasp of what makes metal catchy. Opener In Defiance of Conformity has a powerful, classic metal opening that has more than a little doom in it thanks to Dahl's vocals, but makes its thrash leanings clear with some galloping riffs and a wild bit of lead guitar. Live by the Scythe goes for a more anthemic power metal feel with crushing riffs and one of the catchiest choruses on the album, followed by the crunching heaviness of the title track and Mercy of Ignorance something like classic Anthrax sped up at moments.

Even deeper into the album's tracklist, the likes of Rites of War are still intense and enjoyable, while the slight Eastern focus to Sin of Innocence is restricted to the song's intro. Hell, even mandatory ballad When the Magic is Gone is anything but dull, focusing on some lovely lead guitar and not outstaying its welcome, allowing the following Cosmic Brain's riffs to resume the headbanging mood. Perhaps at over fifty minutes this is just a bit too long – if any track falls into the filler trap, it's Path of the Atheist, which is the one song present that unfortunately avoids the catchiness and listenability of those surrounding it, even if it does have a nice solid groovy central riff. Still, that ten out of eleven tracks are outright killer is a big mark in Artillery's favour, and it's hard to think of many other thirty-four year old metal bands making albums as solid as this. Recommended.

Killing Songs :
In Defiance of Conformity, Live by the Scythe, Mercy of Ignorance, Rites of War, Cosmic Brain
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Artillery that we have reviewed:
Artillery - By Inheritance reviewed by Thomas and quoted CLASSIC
Artillery - My Blood reviewed by Thomas and quoted 70 / 100
Artillery - When Death Comes reviewed by Thomas and quoted 85 / 100
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