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Monday, April 4, 2016

Artillery - Penalty by Perception

Artist: Artillery
Release Title: Penalty by Perception
Year: 2016
Label: Metal Blade Records
Genre: Thrash Metal
1. In Defiance of Conformity
2. Live by the Scythe
3. Penalty by Perception
4. Mercy of Ignorance
5. Rites of War
6. Sin of Innocence
7. When the Magic Is Gone
8. Cosmic Brain
9. Deity Machine
10. Path of the Atheist
11. Welcome to the Mindfactory

The seventh full-length from Danish thrash veterans Artillery overall is as strong and effective as they were back in the heyday during their assaults in the late-80s. Continuing on the theme from their last album which introduced their new singer, this material is much in that same manner of utterly pummeling thrash rhythms and crushing drumming barreling along through engaging up-tempo work-outs that can maneuver through a strong variety of tempo change-ups due to the incredibly strong riff-work at the forefront of the record. Being able to drive through tracks with an intense speed-driven straightforward thrashers or more melodic mid-paced efforts that contain a fair amount of toughened churning riff-work alongside the power-metal accented flairs in place throughout the tracks, it gives this a rather intriguing amount of variety makes for a wholly engaging dynamic throughout here. It readily thrashes when necessary, eases off into the mid-tempo when appropriate and offers the kind of melodic tendencies that don’t diminish the full-scale blistering tempos featured. Surely, the ballad might not be for everyone’s personal tastes and it can seem to drone on a little too long at times but it still holds up well enough overall.

The first half here expertly plays off what’s going on here. Opener ‘In Defiance of Conformity’ uses an ambient forest-sound intro with simple guitars slowly build into pounding drumming, furious riff-work and a stylish up-tempo gallop as the melodic vocal croons rip through the charging rhythms with the harmonies melodies mixing along with the tight chugging thrash riffing into the solo section with the fine melodic riffing continuing into the final half for an exciting opener. ‘Live by the Scythe’ utilizes grandiose melodic riff-work turns into heavy-handed rhythms and surging riffing through a charging up-tempo pace loaded with melodic flurries charging through the intense riff-work with the soaring melodic solo section leading into the frantic, heavy-handed rhythms of the finale for another exciting highlight. The title track uses a slow-burn intro with a gradual turn into heavy mid-tempo chugging with scorching leads pounding along with the lively rhythms into the solo section and pounding through the chugging riffing of the final half for another heavy, enjoyable effort.‘Mercy of Ignorance’ uses furious tribal drumming and churning riffing into a stylish mid-tempo chug as the churning rhythms allow for a series of frantic, pounding patterns and frenzied paces through the solo section and carrying through into the blazing finale for a strong effort overall.‘Rites of War’ starts with rumbling riffing and pounding drumming into a steady up-tempo full of frenzied rhythms charging along to the dynamic pounding thrash rhythms into the mid-tempo churning solo section and continuing through the final half for a solid enough effort. ‘Sin of Innocence’ takes an extended series of tribal drumming and swirling riff-work  into a strong series of churning rhythms full of blazing riff-work and toughened melodies touched off with the churning mid-tempo riffing carrying through the solo section into the finale for yet another powerhouse thrasher.

The second half is slightly weaker if still enjoyable. The ballad ‘When the Magic Is Gone’ takes a series of melodic riffing and softer rhythms offering plenty of romantic arrangements along the light, breezy pace while generating more traditional pounding spurts while dropping back into the lighter patterns for the solo section and carrying into the final half for a decent-if-unmemorable effort.‘Cosmic Brain’ takes blistering drumming and charging drumming along through a stylish up-tempo pace with stuttering rhythms and heavy chugging riff-work carrying through the dynamic patterns full of scorching riffing into the solo section and keeping it through the finale for a strong highlight effort. ‘Deity Machine’ takes steady mid-tempo rhythms and pounding drumming keeping the steady mid-tempo riffing swirling through a series of bland rhythms with the steady pace holding through into the solo section and keeping the rhythms intact through the final half for the first really bland effort overall. ‘Path of the Atheist’ features a steady, rumbling series of riffing with majestic pounding drumming taking a heavy, churning series of riffing along through the fine plodding mid-tempo sections with the crunchy riffing leading into the solo section and on through the finale for a rocking-if-unessential effort overall. Finally, ‘Welcome to the Mindfactory’ utilizes a solid series of rocking up-tempo riffing swirling with raucous thrashing patterns and pounding drumming leading through the swirling technical rhythms around the blazing solo section and carrying the energy through the final half for an exciting and wholly engrossing lasting impression/

Certainly well on-par with many of their more fruitful and explosive efforts of the past even if this one doesn’t overwhelm like their true knock-out efforts did, this is still prime-era thrash at it’s greatest done by an entity around at the birth of it all which makes this one welcome enough for any raging thrash aficionado or fans of classics old-school metal.

Score: 93/100

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