Artillery – When Death Comes (2009)

artillery-when-death-comes-2009

Artillery – When Death Comes (2009, Metal Mind)

  1. When Death Comes
  2. Upon My Cross I Crawl
  3. 10,000 Devils
  4. Rise Above It All
  5. Sandbox Philosophy
  6. Delusions Of Grandeur
  7. Not A Nightmare
  8. Damned Religion
  9. Uniform
  10. The End

Band Lineup:
Søren Nico Adamsen - Vocals
Michael Stiitzer – Guitars
Peter Thorslund – Bass
Morten Stiitzer – Guitars
Carsten N. Nielsen – Drums

Producer: Søren Andersen

Country: Denmark

Total Time = 53:15

Artillery
Artillery MySpace page
Metal Mind Productions

I haven’t listened to an Artillery album in years but made a point of giving the band a fresh listen when I saw WHEN DEATH COMES on Metal Mind’s list of 2009 releases. After spinning the classic FEAR OF TOMORROW (1985), TERROR SQUAD (1987) and BY INHERITANCE (1990), I went to pull out the band’s comeback album B.A.C.K. (1999) and I didn’t have it! Maybe the 9 year gap between albums had something to do with why I thought I had bought it but never did. I didn’t make the same mistake twice by letting the 10 year gap this time around get to me, I’ve had WHEN DEATH COMES for a couple of months and have been spinning it regularly.

The first thing that most fans will notice is that original vocalist Flemming Ronsdorf is not on the record but new throat Søren Nico Adamsen does a superior job taking over. The second thing most Thrash purists will notice is that the album really skirts the line between Thrash and Traditional/Power Metal. Maybe it’s because Adamsen sounds different from Ronsdorf? I find most of WHEN DEATH COMES melodic…..melodic Thrash/ Maybe that’s going to be the difference? There are some instances in a few of the songs that could easily be from a Primal Fear, Hammerfall or Grave Digger album. That’s not to say that there isn’t Thrash on WHEN DEATH COMES, it’s more of a diversified sound and it comes out perfectly.

Opening with the title track, Artillery starts out heavy and fast with powerfull riffs and pounding drums with different speeds being used. Listen to the chorus on ‘When Death Comes’, it’s melodic to a point and kind of reminds me of Metallica in parts. Great song to open with because you get all the alements Artillery are using on the album in the first song. ‘Upon My Cross I Crawl’ kicks in with another signature Thrash riff and really keeps up the fast tempo with the excellent drumming of Carsten Nielsen. The Stiitzers really have the guitars blazing on the solos and Adamsen gets a little more aggressive except for the chorus where its comes off again melodic. I find myself singing right along to the chorus almost immeadiately so there is a hook in there that’s drawing me in. ’10,000 Devils’ is the band’s first single/video from the album and it has a very commercial Thrash, dark Helloween sound (from THE DARK RIDE in 2000). Great song, it has some serious guitar and evil sounding melodic vocals, one of my favorites on the album. I like to hear bands incorporate different elements into their core sound and so far Artillery hasn’t disappointed.

Back to pure Thrash with ‘Rise Above It All’, a song that really has some excellent twin guitar riffs and solos and is a really solid headbang, same goes for ‘Sandbox Philospophy’ with it’s harsher vocals but catchy chorus. Both songs are examples of the older Artillery sound with speed riffs and powerful drums. The song that is going a bit against the grain of the album is ‘Delusions Of Grandeur’. The beginning of the song sounds like a cross between the melodic style Primal Fear used on NEW RELIGION in 2007 and slight Folk Metal stylings. Maybe it’s the acoustic guitars? Listen to the solo section right after the first couple of verses and you ca hear that Folk Metal influence. The song does toughen up around the chorus but it still doesn’t really qualify as Thrash, maybe slowed down Power Metal. It’s a different sound and Artillery seems willing to expand their core sound and experiment a little. ‘Not A Nightmare’ gets the album heavy again but it has a definite Primal Fear sound and the band leans more towards the melodic Power Metal end of the spectrum. Actually, ‘Not A Nightmare reminds me of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens-era Priest more than anything as the guitars get heavier towards the middle of the song. Same thing goes with ‘Damned Religion’ but I’m not really hearing much different than I’ve heard throughout the rest of the record. ‘Uniform’ gets WHEN DEATH COMES back on track to Artillery’s main Thrash base. I like how the song opens with a quick bassline and speeds into the main riff, almost Iron Maiden sounding until the drums kick in and everything speeds up. The final song has a fitting title, ‘The End’ finishes the album off with a very dark slower sound in the beginning and then it races off with a a Thrash/Power Metal gallop in some spots and pure speed in others.

Bottom Line:
I have been looking forward to WHEN DEATH COMES and I’ve given the album a lot of spins since I received the CD a few months ago. All in all, I like the entire album, Artillery has managaed to take their base Thrash and diversify it with some other influences. I like when bands try to experiment with their sound to make it better…..it doesn’t always work but I think Artillery has done a great job. Thrash purists might hear the melodic passages and the Power/Traditional Metal influences and cry foul but Artillery has made an album that is accessible to a wide range of Metal fans and it sounds really good. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that Søren Nico Adamsen, the new singer, has co-written 8 out of 10 tracks on the record? That’s a great way to come in and contribute to your new band! I like the enhanced sound, I like the Thrash base, I like Adamsen’s voice so I’m really enjoying WHEN DEATH COMES. I’m not taking it out of my daily rotation for a while and it looks to be ones of my top albums of 2009.

Favorite Songs:
‘When Death Comes’, ‘Upon My Cross I Crawl’, ’10,000 Devils’, ‘Rise Above It All’, ‘Sandbox Philosophy’, ‘Uniform’