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Review: Artillery - X

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2021
Duration: 45:48
Tracks: 11
Genre: Thrash Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: April 28, 2021
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating

Rated 4.6/5 (92%) (10 Votes)

I wasn't impressed by the single The Last Journey last year and had otherwise kind of lost track of the long-running Danish thrash machines, formed almost 40 years ago, so I didn't know what to expect when X landed in my inbox. I've found it to be a bit of a grower and it took two or three listens before it finally clicked and landed a regular spot in my playlist.

Artillery have always been on the "clean" side of thrash, so to speak, playing it more precise and less raw than what most of the European scene unleashed upon us in the '80s, making them a little closer to the Bay Area scene in that regard. That is still very true on X. Artillery have a tried-and-true formula that has earned them good grades since Fear of Tomorrow in 1985 and they stick to it, all without sounding stale. Despite a couple of changes of vocalist, much like Accept the vocal style has remained similar enough and that's a good thing because it's a distinctive trait of the band's sound, still alive and well on this album. A lot of the infectious vocal lines and choruses on this album will stick in your head after the first listen (I dare you to try to get "The Ghost of Me" out of your head.)

Musically, as I hinted earlier, this is very much in the same vein as what we've come to expect from Artillery: clean, precise, fast and catchy thrash and the band aren't afraid to throw in a lot more melody than thrash bands usually dare to, also another distinctive part of their sound. They know how to do this while keeping the music aggressive sounding enough. Several songs here have that "bouncy" beat that gets the foot tapping, the fist in the air and the head banging and the solos call for a mandatory dusting of the air guitar. Despite the generous use of melody and kind of "commercial" sound (as far as thrash goes, that is), there's plenty of crunchiness and heaviness throughout and, to put it simply, X rocks from beginning to end.

There are some newer members in the band's lineup and only Michael Stützer left from the original lineup, but this tenth full-length studio album proves that Artillery is still a thrash force to be reckoned with and can deliver some top-quality music.

Other related information on the site
Review: By Inheritance (reviewed by Daniel DGYDP Guerrero)
Review: Legions (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: One Foot In The Grave, the Other One In The Trash (reviewed by Daniel DGYDP Guerrero)
Review: Penalty by Perception (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: The Face of Fear (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Review: The Last Journey (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: When Death Comes (reviewed by Daniel DGYDP Guerrero)
Review: When Death Comes (reviewed by PowerMetal59)
Interview with guitarist Michael Stützer on October 26, 2013 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with Søren Nico Adamsen (vocals) on January 17, 2009 (Interviewed by Daniel DGYDP Guerrero)
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