Artillery - Penalty by Perception

Artillery Penalty by Perception cover
Penalty by Perception
Metal Blade Records
You have to give it to a band like Artillery that might have made a bit of a name with their three first albums in thrash for as long as they were active in the 80s (well typically up to 91) and despite facing a good deal of lineup changes, with a good number of drummers but mostly vocalists going through their ranks after a false restart in the late 90s, decided to pick up the pieces and reunite again towards the end of 00s, having released what 3 or 4 albums since then. And although the band has graduated since from their blackened thrash early days on Neat’s roster (a Danish band on a British label – I wonder how on earth that happened) to a more refined power metal inspired speed thrash hybrid, the bite is still present, just not manifested in the same almost manical way that it did on their earlier works. Which might irk some people, but makes em a lot more listenable at least to my ears.
Artillery’s modernization has nothing to do with following trends and such, as they’re unlikely to appeal to non-metalheads. They haven’t become flakey as a lot of other bands have, but have just progressed as musicians, the lineup is the same as it were, for “Legions”, which was the baptism of fire for the then new vocalist Michael Bastholm Dahl and drummer Josua Madsen, who here, sound as if they have been with the band for a long time completely at home. Aided by Soren Andersen on production Artillery have probably one of the best sounds they ever did. And it’s not only that, the band has also written some of their best songs, post reunion, with opener “In Defiance of Conformity”, the title track and “Live by the Scythe”, “Rites of War” and “Path of the Atheist” each impressing in different ways. They even have time for a quasi-ballad?! In the form of “When the Magic is Gone”.
When former “glories” of the genre keep releasing albums that insult their legacy and fans – having to re-record the old hits or offer gimmicks and extras to convince people to buy their albums, which double as an excuse to mount another tour, charging young bands and arm and a leg to “open” for them, and newer ones only able to “ape” the old ones, badly at that, it’s great to see some people, in this case Artillery, keeping the faith and delivering the goods. Yeah while it might not be as “thrashy” as some thrash-only morons might have liked, this is an excellent album and I feel sorry if you won’t bother with it, because it was released after 1989 and it’s actually well performed and produced. Well 2 finger salute!
People, who have enjoyed the Danes in the past, should have no big problem enjoying them nowadays and new “blood” takes a cue on how to be “truer” than those “true poseurs” out there.