The power-thrash veterans Artillery are back with their eighth studio album, despite being around since the 80's. So how does it fare? Have they gone the way of quality over quantity or does it lack a certain spark? Continue reading to find out!
This is what I call Power-Thrash! Showing an equal flare for both catchy melodic hooks of power metal and thrashing blasts of sound, Penalty By Perception blends the two perfectly. The opening "In Defiance of Conformity" especially showcases this, with breakneck speed, a singing guitar solo, and an empowering chorus that has the resonance of a powerful cannon blast. Not to mention it's middle-eastern sounding intro, that harkens back to the intros of the classic By Inheritance and the more recent My Blood. "Sin of Innocence" also has a quite nice middle-eastern intro before inviting the listener for a mosh. The band goes beyond intros, with "The Path of the Atheist" which has powerful middle-eastern guitar crunching reminiscent of Melechesh.
This album is a jackpot for powerful choruses, "Live by the Scythe" and "Welcome to the Mindfactory" highlight this trait. Not that this is all catchy power-choruses, as the guitar riffs will go from thrashing the skin from your body to beating you over the head with a hammer (Or perhaps scythe in this case). The title cut does both at once, along with having one of the best sing-along choruses on the album. At the beginning the riffs are a bit slower, but waste no time giving the listener a brutal thrashing. Speaking of brutal thrashing, take a listen to "Deity Machine", and that is what you will certainly get plus a killer solo. The band will even throw in some well-placed groovy riffs, as heard in "Rites of War". The band also isn't afraid to slow it down, with the beautiful "When the Magic is Gone" which may as well be Artillery's "Fade to Black".
Michael Bastholm Dahl's vocal performance is that of a power metal vocalist, but fits perfectly with the music. His vocals have a similar vibe to Artillery's previous vocalist, as well as reminding me of Torben Askholm (Ex-Anubis Gate) at times. This is heard most in "Mercy of Ignorance", which certainly has a Askholm-era Anubis Gate-esque chorus. The production is awesome, perfectly complimenting the power-thrash sound. It creates the mood of being at a large outdoor arena surrounded by a great wall of sound.
Track after track, this is an absolute killer album. It's hard to pick any highlights, as each song will kick your ass and make you sing-along at the same time. If you love power and thrash, this is probably one of the best combinations out there. Artillery is a band that has seemed to gotten better with age, and this album further proves my conjecture.
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