I first got into ARTILLERY in late 2013 thanks to a friend of mine with their Legions album. And what I can tell you is that this is without a doubt one of my favorite Thrash Metal bands on the planet ever since. 2016’s Penalty By Perception was another strong outing by the boys, and now here we are with new record The Face of Fear, out now on Metal Blade Records. The usual suspects are all present, with brothers Michael Stützer and Morten Stützer laying down machine gun guitar riffs, while bassist Peter Thorslund and drummer Josua Madsen drill holes into concrete with their foundation. Meanwhile vocalist Michael Bastholm Dahl once again reminds me that he’s the best singer this band’s ever had, case closed.
As far as the songs go, right away opener and title track “The Face of Fear” goes for the jugular, all speed and power with a chorus you’ll be singing again and again. This oughta be their opener for a live set. Next up is “Crossroads to Conspiracy” which showcases those killer Stützer riffs we all love so well. Plus, the track takes off at a neck-breaking gallop that should have many of you seeing a doctor the next day. “Sworn Utopia” is another headbanger from start to finish, while “Through the Ages of Atrocity” shows off a really cool melodic touch, making it one of the record’s best cuts.
“Thirst For the Worst” is an almost mid-tempo number with a very anthemic chorus that many of you will enjoy. And now we come to my runaway favorite with “Pain.” This song is so fucking awesome that I’m kind of at a loss as to what else to say about it. Showing a different side of the band, it nevertheless captures their melodiousness and intensity on the hooks. Dahl knocks it out of the park vocally, and the brothers Stützer deliver some magnificent guitar parts that intertwine perfectly. I could listen to this one again and again. Proper closer “Preaching to the Converted” is one of the most ferocious songs on the record and ends things with a nice exclamation point, plus some killer guitar solos.
As a bonus we get re-recorded versions of “Mind of No Return” from 1985 and “Doctor Evil” from 2013. The former makes me want to hear more of the band’s early stuff redone with Dahl singing, while the latter only reminds me of the fact that it’s one of my favorites in the band’s arsenal. At the end of the day ARTILLERY have delivered another killer record with The Face of Fear. The songs really rock balls, and I truly hope we get a U.S. tour from the boys in 2019. If anyone out there is reading this who can help facilitate that, please make it happen. And for those of you who haven’t picked this one up yet, what are you waiting for?!?
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Face of Fear”, “Pain”, “Through the Ages of Atrocity”, “Preaching to the Converted”, “Crossroads to Conspiracy”