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3.79 | 18 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2009

Filed under Thrash Metal


1. When Death Comes (5:54)
2. Upon My Cross I Crawl (5:28)
3. 10.000 Devils (5:20)
4. Rise Above It All (5:32)
5. Sandbox Philosophy (4:44)
6. Delusions of Grandeur (5:10)
7. Not a Nightmare (5:30)
8. Damned Religion (5:10)
9. Uniform (5:00)
10. The End (5:22)

Total Time: 53:13


- Søren Adamsen / vocals
- Michael Stützer / guitars
- Morten Stützer / guitars
- Peter Thorslund / bass
- Carsten Nielsen / drums

About this release

Full-length, Metal Mind Productions, June 15th, 2009

The CD was recorded at Medley Studios in Copenhagen with producer Søren Andersen at Medley Studios in Copenhagen.

Digipak bonus tracks:
11. Refuse To Live, Part 2 (4:07)
12. Warhead (4:53)

The Japanese release contains an extra song:

Thanks to Time Signature, UMUR, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

In retrospect, Artillery's 1999 comeback album B.A.C.K. turned out to be overoptimistic in its titling, for no sooner had the band come back than they broke up again. (In fact, that ill-fated rebirth had fizzed out before B.A.C.K. was even released!) Another decade of dormancy later and When Death Comes kicked off the present, more long-lasting revival of the band, and although it does have some personnel changes - Flemming Rönsdorf is replaced on vocals by Søren Nico Adamsen, and the By Inheritance-era rhythm section of Carsten Nielsen on drums and Peter Thorslund on bass are back in their posts after missing the previous reunion.

The reconfigured lineup and decade of recuperation seem to have made all the difference, because on here Artillery sound like a band decades younger, turning out an accessible and engaging style of thrash metal which feels a bit more straight-ahead than the experiments of By Inheritance but which hits the spot if you want something to put on rotation with classic-era Metallica and Slayer. Just listen to Sandbox Philosophy and see if it doesn't get your blood pumping. Over time I find it shrinks on me just as the more nuanced By Inheritance grows on me, but Artillery fans will not be disappointed with this.
"When Death Comes" is the 5th full-length studio album by Danish thrash metal act Artillery. The album was released through Metal Mind Productions in June 2009. There have been a few significant lineup changes since "B.A.C.K. (1999)", which was the last album released by Artillery before they split-up for the second time (Artillery disbanded the first time in the early nineties). Lead vocalist Flemming Rønsdorf has been replaced by Søren Adamsen and drummer Per M. Jensen (Invocator, The Haunted), who played session drums on "B.A.C.K. (1999)", has been replaced by original drummer Carsten Nielsen. That means that besides the change on the lead vocalist spot, the lineup on "When Death Comes" is the same lineup that recorded the now legendary "By Inheritance (1990)" (the 3rd album by the band).

The music on the album is powerful yet melodic thrash metal. While there´s high speed and raw thrash metal riffing in spades on this album, there´s a rare sense for melody and memorability too, that you won´t hear every day on a thrash metal release. I´d point towards the raw US power metal style as a strong influence in addition to more regular technically well played thrash metal. I´d even say there are nods towards more traditional heavy metal on the album too (when it´s most melodic I´m thinking Iron Maiden). Fans of the band probably held their breath when they heard that longtime lead vocalist Flemming Rønsdorf had been replaced by Søren Adamsen, but let me tell you straight away, that there´s nothing to fear. Søren Adamsen has the right raw and rusty voice for Artillery´s music and while there are a few things that set the two vocalists apart, I probably wouldn´t have noticed that there was a new vocalist in the band, if I didn´t know. Søren Adamsen is fully capable of taking up the heavy legacy of Flemming Rønsdorf and while they do sound very much alike, Søren Adamsen does put is own mark on the music enough for him not to sound like a clone.

The music is extremely well played with a tight rhythm section and the blistering guitar work from the Stützer brothers. Some of the riffs on this album are absolutely crushing. Take a listen to the chorus in "10.000 Devils" for an example of that. I´m still sore in the neck from bangin´ so hard to that one. Just fantastic riffing there and that actually goes for the whole album. The great thing about "When Death Comes" is the level of sophistication and melodic variation that is on display all the time. While the album certainly is crushingly heavy and quite aggressive too, there are several melodic sections on the album with harmony guitar melodies and other memorable hooks to keep the tracks from drowning in aggression. Of course the recognizable and hook laden vocal lines sung by Søren Adamsen also help to achive that. The songwriting is of high quality and again the variation between raw and hard hittin´ and the more melodic are in the high seat. A song like the power ballad "Delusions of Grandeur" is the best example of the melodic side of the band while you can take the two opening tracks "When Death Comes" and "Upon My Cross I Crawl" if you want to hear the band at their most aggressive.

It is quite impressive that Artillery can release consistent high quality thrash metal albums that sound like they never left the scene, even though they´ve split-up twice in the last 20 years and they´ve only managed to release 3 albums in that time. Not only once but twice they´ve released a great comeback album, and I have to agree that it´s quite the achivement. Even though "When Death Comes" is undeniably an old school thrash metal album, it´s not like the band sound like dinosaurs from eighties (far from it). But they´ve stayed true to their sound, and you know what? Sometimes that´s what works. There are no unneccesary experimentation or suckin´ up to the taste of contemporary audiences on this album. What you get is a high quality melodic thrash metal album with a powerful production, quality songwriting and excellent musicianship. It doesn´t get much better than this. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is more than deserved.
Time Signature
When Artillery comes...

Genre: thrash metal

Perhaps some would argue that I'm being too generous, but I thibk that "When Death Comes" is a thrash metal masterpiece worthy of comparison with thrash metal classics such as "Master of Puppets", "Rust in Piece", "Impact Is Immanent", "Arise", "Weave the Apocalypse", "The Legacy", "South of Heaven" and their own "By Inheritance". It's totally old school, and that's one of the things I like about it. There are no influences from 90s metal or 00s metal. This is pure thrash. Yet, there is a sense of it being totally up to date. In a way, it's both modern and retro, and, for my money, an instant classic.

Each song contains a flurry of high energy riffs, and even the mid tempo songs have that energy to them; and it's hard to imagine that this high energy music is performed by greying and balding middle aged men (of course, skill comes with age, and these guys are higly skilled rock musicians). Notable tracks are "When Death Comes", "Upon My Cross I Crawl", "10,000 Devils", and "Sandbox Philosophy"... and all the other songs on the album.

The vocals suit the music very well, and while I prefer Flemming Rønsdorff's vocals, sick as they are, their present singer, Søren Adamsen does a very, very, very good job indeed. Hats off!

This should appeal to any fan of early Testament, early Slayer, early Exodus, early Metallica - in short, any fan of classic thrash metal.

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