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There are not many albums I usually can listen to in one sitting, this is not due to a lack of quality, but rather ADHD. However, there are a select few albums that are so damn good that I just cannot help but listen all the way through. By Inheritance is one of those albums that just grabs me by the balls and drags me from start to finish without stop. This is undoubtedly some of the best thrash ever released.
The rhythm section of the band proves to be more than competent as a backbone for the guitars and vocals. The bass is quite technical for thrash metal and decently audible, but not much else could be said about it. The drum work is excellent, being somewhat complex and boasting a plethora of creative beats and fills. I particularly enjoy the drumming on "7:00 From Tashkent" for the odd patterns and "Beneath the Clay" for its sheer grooviness. Thrash metal drumming is usually straightforward, but the drumming here is unique enough to stay interesting. The vocals would be much more appropriate in a power metal band, but Artillery manages to make them work perfectly. The vocalist has a strong, melodic voice, which matches the nature of the album, making things blend together more to create more of a coherent musical work. On several occasions I found myself singing lyrics and trying to replicate the vocalist's high-pitched wail.
While the bass, drums, and vocals are all excellent, what makes this album such a masterpiece are the riffs. By Inheritance is practically overflowing with stellar riffs, mainly a combination between fast, melodic, and technical riffs and groovy mid-paced thrash metal riffs. What makes many of the riffs so amazing is that they are technically complex, melodic, and catchy simultaneously. Middle Eastern influences can also be detected in the riffing structure, giving the music a unique texture and atmosphere. Some of the best riffs appear in "Khomaniac", "By Inheritance", "Life in Bondage", and "Back in the Trash". They are so catchy that they'll have you hitting the replay button on your stereo (or any other music playing device) multiple times. The guitar solos are centered around structure and melody more than technicality (not to say that they are not technical), being anything but your typical shredding guitar solos. This is good since many progressive or technical bands often show off their skills during the solos rather than create something original and memorable.
The end result is ultimately Artillery's and one of thrash metal's best albums ever released. They manage to be technical, yet not overindulgent and catchy, yet not watered down. Its brutality is not on par with most thrash metal albums, but it only adds to the album's charm and originality. Structurally, the music is original and memorable; the instrumentation is top notch; and the guitar riffs are some of the best metal has to offer. I strongly recommend this album for anyone who is into thrash metal, technical thrash metal specifically, but all metalheads (no matter what subgenre they prefer) should pick this one up.
Artillery’s first 3 records were the reflection of the different stages of thrash from the mid-80’s to the early 90’s. Fear Of Tomorrow was primitive, violent, while its successor Terror Squad was a much technical attempt, featuring that little general improvement of the subgenre in that crucial year, 1987. The refinement on this third one is absolute and more serious, with the Danish thrashers definitely joining the power thrash trend of the times that groups like Metal Church and Paradox made popular. Very few bands remained loyal to the early subgenre concept in the new decade early days. I guess the changes and requirements of the metal scene made impossible for thrash to stay unadulterated.
That 54 seconds intro “7:00 From Tashkent” already makes clear this won’t be a noisy wild thrash album. Once the opening cut “Khomaniac” starts, that prediction becomes even clearer. It begins with those insistent guitar harmonies, then it turns into a loose intense composition, plenty of explicit melody, pretentious arrangements and meticulous guitar lines. That’s going to be the general pattern on 95% of the record, like other tunes prove: “Beneath The Clay (R.I.P.)”, the title-track, “Bombfood”…all of them intended to be pretty complicated, with both Stützer brothers trying so hard to provide their parts of advanced variations, diversity and sophistication. Riffs have become intricate and richer in some way, avoiding focusing exclusively on roughness, more concentrated on defining these tunes with precision. The guitar lines alterations are numerous, attempting to be impressive and difficult, along with the many structures and ambitious instrumental passages. Melody is omnipresent, vital; its supremacy on this stuff might be exhausting at times, determined by that bunch of mellow harmonies, sentimental vocals and a few classy breaks. The band goes further into that sweet sound on the dynamic ballad “Don’t Believe”, the romantic exception of the pack, with Artillery attacking hard on the main choruses while Rönsdorf peaceful voice takes control during the rest of the cut. These guys progressive instrumental configuration reappears again on the epic “Back In The Trash”, the brilliant culmination of the whole album, another unique piece admirably arranged, powerful, that makes a difference from other generic uninspired compositions, like “Equal At First” and “Life In Bondage”. Those sound pretty much like fillers, mostly empty and repetitive, including some good riffs, though.
This is the greatest display of power thrash you will ever hear. And if you still wonder what power thrash means, this next question goes to you: what makes this stuff different from early Helloween and Blind Guardian? Obviously, there are certain differences, but this material is fast, complex, and melodic. Even Flemming’s voice sounds as scruffy and annoying as mid-80’s Kai Hansen’s. The combination of such different subgenres was certainly risky, disastrous in many cases but it worked out for Artillery. They solved that critical lack of direction, terribly unfocused riffing and musical weakness of Terror Squad. They were aware of the need to change, evolve and develop their music if they didn’t want to get stuck in mediocrity. I guess the forgettable result of the previous record convinced them to follow this alternative direction. In fact, they seem to feel very confident and comfortable playing this kind of music. Artillery had the proper skills to increase the difficulty of the songs and the creativity to conceive something fascinating and special. The instrumental level and decent technique were basic to keep this stuff from being poor and inconsistent. Particularly, the combo Morten-Michael deserves some recognition for that. We never heard them playing this way before, so versatile, inspired, exploring new possibilities and refusing the limitations of early noisy thrash. Flemming Rönsdorf (described by some people as the Brian Johnson of thrash, because of his singular voice) had to adapt to this musical pattern, with the inconvenience of having a totally limited uniform vocal register and range. Although his effort to fit melody is admirable, even if sometimes he rather sounds comical and sloppy. Production is the other big weak spot here, excessively clean and inoffensive, affecting the presence of guitars specially.
So here you got the finest representation of the early-90’s thrash stage, which moved away from its primitive original ways, with speed and aggression relegated to support melody and complexity. The most strict die-hard thrash fans might dislike this alternative sound. On other hand, the changes Artillery introduced in their music were probably the most sensible choice to prevail in a time when most of the Big of thrash already found their own identity. A sequel of Terror Squad wouldn’t have fitted the demands of the times at all, it would have made them join the large list of generic groups of the subgenre instead. Unfortunately, not even this refreshing album could save them from disappearing during the 90’s.
To consider By Inheritance a "great" album would be a grave insult. This is a slab of metal wizardry that alone is enough to assuage one's misgivings about "technical" music being rife with misplaced sweeps and lack of songwriting chops. It has a flavor all its own, and is nothing short of masterful in its execution throughout its course. Artillery had not only outdone themselves, but entire movements, with By Inheritance, an album few have come close to rivaling and precious fewer have surpassed.
It is important to note that the album is not a "pure" thrash metal album. There are middle-eastern passages strewn about the record, especially in the first two tracks, and songs like "Don't Believe" slow things down a bit, but lose none of the instrumental proficiency and conviction. Regardless of the band's forays into other musical worlds the album remains remarkably cohesive, seamless from start to finish. Nothing is out of place, and nothing kills the album's momentum.
All the way through its runtime this album, to describe it as simply and concisely as possible, absolutely shreds. The guitar-work by the Stützer brothers is at times reminiscent of Rust In Peace-era Megadeth, fitting since both albums were released in the same year. Their blistering leads and solos ride atop what amounts to one of the finest collections of riffs in all of metal. Thorslund's bass and Nielsen's drums form a solid rhythm section that does plenty more than enough to hold it all together. All instruments are played with precision, and the arrangements are intricate, with much of the album, "Bombfood" for example, bordering on progressive metal. The vocals, though, are something especially to behold. Flemming Rønsdorf asserts himself on this album as one of the great thrash metal vocalists, sounding something like a cross between Overkill's Bobby Blitz and Ronnie James Dio. His range is impressive, and he shifts adeptly between a gruff mid-range, soaring highs, and even the occasional growling. The musicianship on display here is second to none, giving even their Danish contemporaries Mercyful Fate a run for their money.
The tracks each have their own identities, and none run together, as the album offers plenty of variety. The longer tracks like "Khomaniac" are noteworthy for their progressive flair, while there are plenty of shorter, more direct songs of all kinds. "Life In Bondage" is perhaps the heaviest number on the album, contrasting starkly with its ballad-like predecessor "Don't Believe." Lyrically the songs are only loosely related, and they don't tread untraveled ground, but there is a running theme through a few tracks criticizing organizations that seek control, whether the organization in question is a government waging war or an Islamic hierarchy.
Some might take issue with the Nazareth cover, but it does the job, and certainly works better than Megadeth's second-to-last-track covers. The decision to include a cover as anything more than a CD bonus track does seem a bit odd, but all concerns over that disappear upon the next and last track's arrival anyways, and the track is an enjoyable listen itself. Though in sound and mood it does not deviate far from the formula of the originals perhaps another original would have been a better inclusion, but all we have for this is mere speculation.
In an album of giants it becomes difficult to choose one or a few to crown "best," and this album is superb throughout. I might nominate the title track, or "Bombfood," or even "Back In The Trash" for this honor, but, as said, this does not detract at all from the other offerings. All three are riff-driven monsters, though, and deserve recognition.
Copies of this album are somewhat rare, and one might cost you a pretty penny, but rest assured it will be worth it. This is one of the finest albums in the wide, wonderful world of thrash metal, and surpasses nearly all its peers, especially in the "technical thrash" realm. For fans of everything from Megadeth to Coroner, and indeed for fans of metal at all, this is essential listening. Do not let the "technical" label put you off; By Inheritance rips all the way through, and is absolutely worth whatever it costs you to get it.
Technical music has never been my favorite cup of tea. Anytime there is a technical (or progressive as both are pretty interchangeable) tag added to a type of music it automatically turns me off from checking out the music, but there are quite a few bands out there who have done it right. Coroner, Demilich, Deathrow, Gorguts, Heathen and few other notable names are ones that I've come to love because of their ability to create memorable music that isn't just a bunch of guitar tech-wankery, but none of those bands created the kind of sound that Artillery did on "By Inheritance." In fact, no other band could hold a candle to the Danish masters' gift of blending technical magnificence with melody, thrashing riffs, insane vocals, clean and acoustic guitar passages and everything else that makes this record the flawless masterpiece that it is.
The main reason for the absolute brilliance of "By Inheritance" stems from the impeccable guitar duo of the Stutzer brothers. Saying that every song on here has great riffs would be a massive understatement, because there are riffs on every track that are to die for. The intro riff to "Khomaniac" is fucking legendary and highly memorable, plus the riffs later on in the song are just as tremendous (one of the reasons why this is one of my favorite thrash tunes of all time). "Beneath the Clay (RIP)" features stellar riffs that rival those created by the man himself, Megadave, as the guitars' rhythms blaze by with a rapid fury of ever-changing notes and frets. But it isn't just the thrashing riffs, it's also the Stutzers' ability to weave clean guitar melodies and passages in and out of the thrashing mayhem effortlessly, creating an opera of incredible metal music that seemingly never ceases. The title track is the perfect example of Artillery's signature sound and the remarkable chorus is an essential for any metalhead. "Don't Believe" is another track that captures the beauty of the acoustic sections and the frenzy of the distorted guitars nicely for another classic, though that shouldn't surprise anyone by now.
Seriously, this record could have been an instant classic due to the riffs and other guitar parts alone, but Flemming Ronsdorf and the rest of the band stepped their game up just as much. The drumming isn't amazing in every song, but the intro to "Beneath the Clay (RIP)" is unforgettable and the fills on "Life in Bondage" are worthy of some praise as well. Thorslund's performance on the bass isn't mindblowing like the Stutzers', but there aren't any negatives to his playing either. Ronsdorf's vocals are almost as much of a highlight reel as the guitars, as he can do it all. He was found clean singing (and quite well) on "Don't Believe," hitting high falsettos on "Beneath the Clay (RIP)" and shouting his fucking lungs out on "Bombfood," which is one of the key reasons as to why that song has arguably one of the catchiest choruses ever heard. "By Inheritance" is basically the answer to the question "What more do I need in life?" Because you're not really living until you've heard this record.
Originally written for Nightmare Reality Webzine.
So here it is. Every once in a while we all have those crystallizing moments when listening to music. We put an album in the player, or we play it on our headphones or however, and we just are pulverized by music that just takes us for a ride that redefines what is truly good music. These moments cannot be forced, and thus often take us by complete surprise. The albums that do this to us never leave our memories, and are hard to be unbiased about when discussing them.
But I don't give a flying FUCK! This album? As in Artillery's By Inheritance is all you need. I don't care if you don't like thrash. Fuck, I don't care if you don't like music. Go buy it now. Don't even bother sampling online or any shit like that. This review is not about me suggesting to you to buy it, I am flat out telling you. Buy it and put in the biggest stereo system you can find and rock your brains out!
If you do feel like WASTING more time, I suppose you could read on, and see what makes this album the cybernetic mythical draconian head-banging metal shit-fit it is. First off, let’s just look at all the non-musical elements of it. The band name and logo is brick read pitch-fork font with a scythe y. The album cover is mirrors showing the transformation from ape to robot. The back cover has middle-aged Danes in denim jackets and headbands. Almost no one knows who the fuck these guys are. And all this adds up to a package that makes little sense, and leaves you with no fucking idea what the hell is encoded into the disc. Electronic jungle music?
Then you finally put it in the stereo (even though you don’t have the BALLS to be deserving of holding such EPICNESS) and you are greeted with complex riffing straight out of Egypt. It starts off so welcoming and soft. Then suddenly it starts going a little crazy. And the drums pickup with a killer beat. And the bass greets you with some swayin' grooves. Then suddenly it all stops.
AND YOUR FUCKING HEAD EXPLODES! Khomaniac starts, and it is the single greatest album opener ever. The guitars work together, both shredding and slamming at ridiculous intensity, as if to say that the brothers were both destined to play the six-strings together. The riffs just flat out seem alien. They are so unique, but maintain a crazy level of technicality and melody. The songwriting on this song and the whole damn album is absolutely amazing. Pure speed and technical prowess meets crazy catchiness and melodic groovyness. The solos are all played concurrently with riffs that pound your face while the solo melts your skin and blows up your brain. No riff is played too much or too little, and there’s never the feeling of 'I really want to hear that part again!' or 'this riff has really overstayed its welcome'.
And that’s amazing considering how many riffs and tempo changes there are. Guitar wise this album is bar-none, the most enjoyable listen in metal. The Stutzer brothers work so well together in weaving their immense talents together to form such versatile, varied, intense, melodic, and catchy music that no other guitar duo have ever come even to the same ballpark of doing. The riffs on Khomaniac give you goose bumps. The solos and slams in By Inheritance make you bang and kick your feet. The smooth licks in Bombfood make you whirl and sway. The utter speed and chaos of Life in Bondage make you just go nuts. The guitar work on this album alone makes it stand out as one of the greatest metal albums ever.
However, as if that wasn't enough, By Inheritance is home to undeniably the greatest thrash vocal performance ever recorded. Flemming Ronsdorfs aggressive growl/singing style of Terror Squad developed further into its peak state. With less growl, more pipe. But there is still enough of that aggressive rasp in his voice to fit perfectly with the speed of the music. Some notes are just completely insane. I sing along with this while album all the time.
That attributes to the epic lyrics as well as the insane vocal lines. The subject matter is by no means untreaded. Religion, war, and society as is the norm with thrash. But the way the message is put across is top notch. There is no sacrifice of the subject for the sake of being catchy, and no sacrifice for being catchy for the sake of the subject. Just take a look:
"Why don't you go home, why don't you just leave?
Why not work for things in which you believe?
The orders you take, won't do you no good
So why don't you split, you ain't nothin' but bombfood!"
SOLDIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRR!.... whoops sorry. Lost control for a second. So yeah, the vocal lines, and the lyrics are awesome, and I dare you to not sing along to the chorus of Don't Believe!
The vocal and guitar performances are just so incredible; it took me several listens to even notice that there are drums and bass. But like Terror Squad, just because it’s easy to get lost in the guitars, doesn't mean the drum and bass isn't good. Just check out the drum solo at the head of Beneath the Clay, or the fills in By Inheritance. The bass has admittedly few moments to shine, but the lines on Don't Believe and Tashkent are downright addictive.
That’s the one thing with the production. It’s perfect in pretty much every way. The guitars sound so crisp and the drums sound so powerful. But there isn't much bass. But you know what? I DON"T GIVE A FUCK! If the bass has to stay on the backburner to allow the guitars to shred my brains, I fucking welcome it! Everything sounds awesome, and it’s not like the bass is completely ignored, just a little low is all.
There is only one track on this album I ever even CONSIDER skipping, and that is the cover of Razamanaz. It is a rocking cover no doubt, but it pales in comparison to the original material. But still, the cover is head-bang worthy. And one good track amidst a slew of masterpieces sounds about as good as any album I've ever listened to.
So for somehow improving from its little brother and blowing my mind every time I listen to it, Artillery's By Inheritance gets a fucking well-deserved perfect score. But you have fuck all in my opinion until you get this album!
7:00 From Tashkent/Khomaniac
Back in the Trash
Life in Bondage
Equal at First
I remember when I thought thrash metal started and ended with Megadeth and Testament. Then I heard little album called By Inheritance, died, went to thrash metal heaven, was resuscitated and then proceeded to head-bang myself back into oblivion.
By Inheritance quickly arose to being one of my very favorite thrash releases, and is right up there with the best of them. Trust to Danes to do it better than just about everyone else. This album came along with the slew of releases from around '88 - '92/3 which progressed the thrash genre to the point where no-one quite knew what to do anymore. Some would regard this a bad time for the style, with '86 being long gone, but as far as I'm concerned this was the best time for thrash.
A short eastern tinged intro makes way for "Khomaniac" which served as my introduction to these crazy Danes. Holy fucking shit, that guitar work, again keeping in the eastern theme, resident guitar slinger's Michael and Morten Stützer summon up a battery of intense riffs and lead work, I seriously couldn't believe the creative flair these guys showed for their instruments, with a feel and style completely their own. "Khomaniac" is the perfect introduction to Artillery, from the aforementioned guitar wizardry, to some of the heaviest bass I've ever heard (53 seconds in) to Flemming Rönsdorf's inimitable vocal styling.
Next up we have "Beneath the Clay (R.I.P.) introduced via Carsten Nielsen's tasteful drumwork, again the guitarists are on fire here, unleashing some of their most furiously articulate riffage, especially the riff leading up to the first verse. Again Flemming absolutely owns this track and proves to be one of my very favorite vocalists to imitate: "SO FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, YOU FEEL WHEN YOU'VE DONE YOUR DEEDS LATE AT NIGHT!"
The title track delivers more in the way of bad-assery, again absolutely nutty riffing supported via an impeccable rhythm section, Flemming wails all over this and I dare you to try refrain from screaming along to that chorus. "Bombfood" takes an almost semi-ballad approach, but it is damn convincing, and bloody hell when that chorus hits "SOLDIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRR! YOU'RE NOT WORTH A DAMN!" One of the ultimate Artillery numbers, I'd love to see it live.
The second half of the album is slighty inferior to the absolute mastery displayed throughout the first four tracks, but when I say slightly I'm talking within a hairs breadth. "Don't Believe" again takes the semi-ballad approach, but is home to some fiery riffs and is again utterly convincing. "Life in Bondage" kicks the thrash factor straight back up into the stratosphere and is completely insane. "Equal at First" stands as a later highlight in the album, with some brilliant vocals and some damn catchy riffs. "Razamanaz" is the only track I sometimes skip, the album really doesn't need the track, I'm not overly fond of covers featuring in the actual track listing as opposed to being bonus tracks.
"Back in the Trash" ends the album in stupendous form, and secures By Inheritance as one of the very finest thrash releases. The musicianship is second to none here, the arrangements are creative, melodic, progressive in places and original. Flemming Rasmussen nailed the production here, and gave By Inheritance its incredible feel and sound. Overall this is an essential metal album, that fans of thrash and the majority of the melodically inclined genres really shouldn't be without.
Every so often, an album comes along in your life that is you become so connected to, so addicted towards that you desire nothing more than to scream it to the world. To rain its praises upon the deaf ears surrounding you and catapult it unto the constellations. Artillery's triumphant third full-length By Inheritance was one such work when when I was naught more than an acne encrusted adolescent. An album of almost immeasurable effort, with an anomalous sense of melody and perhaps the best pair of blood-tied relatives to ever wield guitars in tandem. I speak of course of Michael and Morten Stützer, the latter of whom transitioned to the 2nd guitar slot, replacing Jørgen Sandau, and opening the bass gig to one Peter Thorslund.
Turns out that this was one of the greatest moves in thrash history, because combined, these two weave riffs like no other duo I've ever heard, and the Danes achieved a level of brilliant but welcome complexity to which their prior efforts seemed only a crude warm up. It's almost as if there were some sinister, blood-twined psychic link between the two, and not at all fair. They built structure upon structure of unforgettable fire to each of the nine originals pieces here, mixed brazenly with Flemming Rønsdorf's most enthusiastic and endearing vocal performance, and the explosive Nielsen/Thorslund rhythm section. This was a band at their peak, when the walls of the thrash genre were already beginning to crumble around them, and it's a capital offense that so many devotees of the dwindling format let this slide on by, in their rapid and narrow sighted consumption of fare like Rust in Peace. Don't get me wrong, I love that album myself, but there's not a single (original) here without riffs more exciting than a "Holy Wars...", and very often more than a handful each!
It's a stunning conception, inaugurated by the exotic, Eastern threads of the "7:00 from Tashkent" intro, a frantic frolic that seems to summon the listener directly to the thoroughfares of the Uzbekistan capital itself. This is merged perfectly to the opening of "Khomaniac", in which we were given our first glimpse of the new Artillery, arching and dominant melodies escalated into a gloried frenzy before they drop out for Thorslund's distorted low-end grind, and then flowering through some of the most intricate patterns my young mind had ever heard. The trademark Rönsdorf howling returns, with verses and chorus even more distinct than the prior full-lengths, lyrics tearing the fallacy of holy jihad. The leads are likewise, wholly impressive, even the backing rhythm guitars woven with more finesse than most thrash bands could ever muster through their careers. Gang shouts lead up to another brilliant riff around 4:30, another provocation of goosebumps in a ceaseless, copious overload.
So, that's but one fucking song down...one and a half. The warlike hustle of Nielsen's kit breaks out "Beneath the Clay (R.I.P.)", with another bevy of unprecedented guitar glaze and an incredibly attractive, haunting chorus vocal. The basic structure of the song breathes the same airy expanse, but the riffs are equally well balanced to drag the listener through a vortex of wonder. "By Inheritance" is the first to open with the cleaner guitars, but it turns out these are no less busy than their electrics, with another joyous dynamic thrust and Thorslund scaling about beneath the Stützer driven symphony. Queue "Bombfood", a soldier's lament driven through yet another segue of beautiful, clean guitars that explode into a chorus you simply will not believe as it bowls you over with its anti-war lyrical antics. Queue "Don't Believe", which once AGAIN bleeds in the shining acoustic traits to a burst of testosterone and life, and the band strikes you with ANOTHER intense climax.
"Life in Bondage" cycles and cavorts through an even more frenzied rhythmic drive, and the opening riff to "Equal at First" is unreal catchy, close in tone to the "7:00 from Tashkent" intro and busting out some of the most badass mojo on the album right beyond Flemming's 'hwah' at :35. If there was one possibility of drowning down this album's momentum, it would have been the cover of "Razamanaz". However, as a fan of the Nazareth original, I have to say it turns out to be one of the best renditions I've heard, played with the same spunk and passion as the original content here. Naturally, it doesn't spark the same level of envy in the guitar geek as the rest of By Inheritance, but against all odds it seems to fit. Lastly, the band hurl out a sequel to "In the Trash" from Terror Squad, manifest through heavily chorused clean guitars and the charming screams before the Master of Puppets-era charge begins. Just the last piece in a puzzle of perfection, with even more of the able bodied guitar work running circles about the competition.
All 40 minutes have a spacious resonance thanks to the Flemming Rasmussen production. Most will know that particular Dane from his legendary work with Metallica (1984-88), so needless to say the guy can mix a thrash album. Artillery are obviously quite a lot more melodic than the Bay Area legends, but he captures it all very well, the guitars bold and out front as they should be when this much effort has been placed in their composition. I will admit that in comparison, the rhythm section can often feel a little drowned, since they're rarely the focus, but when the guitars are this good, there is simply no cause for concern. It's an emotional, empowered slab of creative speed, a flawless album that should have had this band's name perched on the tongue of every hesher from here to eternity. They've never released a bad album (even in their reunion period thus far); but this is clearly the summit, and I can only think of a small handful of discs in my entire metallic collection that could hold a candle to it. Acquire at any cost, even if you've got to carve out and auction off a few organs in the process.
Metal Mind Records from Poland has made an effort to renew some Thrash Metal classics. Artillery, along with other bands, was one of these bands. Maybe it is, in a way, connected to the fact that the Danish band is back in action and someone needs to remind the Metal world that the Artillery barrage has started falling again. All the band’s albums were renewed under Metal Mind along with their new DVD, One Foot In The Grave, The Other One In The Trash. Here is a full closure on one of the band’s releases, By Inheritance, the group’s third album.
First, here are some facts on these Danish Thrashers. The band’s formation was in 1982 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Between the years, 1982-1985 Artillery released four demos. The last demo Fear Of Tomorrow was turned into the band’s official debut after re-recording under the band’s first label, Neat Records. Two years later Death Squad was released under the same label, presenting a more aggressive path. On the 29th of May 1990, under the famous Roadrunner Records, By Inheritance was fumed into the air and with it brought a more powerful Thrash music with undeniable technicality and sophistication.
The renowed Danish producer, Flemming Rasmussen, produced the album. Rasmussen is, largely, known for his work on one of Metallica’s best albums, Master Of Puppets. In this release, Rasmussen was able, almost, to create the same sound as Metallica’s back in 1986 with huge success. The album’s sound is very powerful, which makes the music sound somewhat brutal, heavy and screaming. Every Metalhead who knows and adores Master Of Puppets will worship this album’s sound which is absolutely, pure heavyweight Thrash Metal mayhem.
By Inheritance is, by far, the band’s most mature release, both musically and lyrically. While reading the band’s lyrics, one can find themes that were very common in 80’s Thrash Metal. For example: songs of protest. “Khomaniac” discusses the faults of wars based on religion and there is “Bombfood” that is very similar to Metallica’s strong “Disposable Heroes”. In addition, there are songs about life in death and society issues. Examples are: “Life In Bondage” that talks about slavery and the classic “Don’t Believe” gives a view on false preachers. These themes continued to be a major thing in 90’s Thrash Metal as well.
Artillery has changed its course of action, as a part of its maturity process. All over this album, the music becomes not only aggressive and powerful but also a lot more technical than previous releases. The band’s technicality has similarities to Megadeth, Slayer and even in some way, Death. The guitars produce many harmonies and complex riffs that will leave your mouth open, aside from the rhythm section, the solos are penetrating with high skill. The drums act appropriately within the music and cultivate many tempo changes and versatile styles of playing. Along with drums, the bass guitar delivers various melodic lines and sometimes takes the role as the leading instrument.
Here is a small comparison that will emphasize the band’s new way. Take the second track, “Khomaniac” and compare it to its predecessor, “Too Late To Regret”, from the 1984 demo, Deeds Of Darkness. While hearing both tracks one should listen to the rhythm section. While giving a blind eye to the measure of heaviness between the songs, you can see that the rhythms of the demo are very simple and how diverse and complex “Khomaniac”’s thundering and shifting rhythm goes. Not many bands choose to go through this sort of “evolution” but Artillery made it, musically, and they accomplished their goal. However, not every band that went through this phase made it out alive.
As a bonus from Metal Mind, the album consists of an additional six tracks. The first track is “Too Late To Regret” from the 1984 Deeds Of Darkness , the second one is a demo of “Don’t Believe”, which has some parts that are better than the re-recorded one. Coming in third is “Hey Woman" that is from the Fear Of Tomorrow demo and also was among the Speed Metal Hell compilation in 1985. Fourth is the track “All For You” that is sung by the band’s previous singer, Carsten Lohmann. The song was taken from the Shellshock demo of 1984. The song’s lyrics are quite outrageous about Satanism. “Blessed Are The Strong” is the forefather of “Don’t Believe” and also appeared in the band’s Shellshock demo. This track is a very interesting piece. The last track is “Day Of Doom” from 1982 that didn’t appear in any of the band’s demos. The band’s first singer, Per Onlink, sang this one and made it sound like a very old Running Wild tune.
Artillery’s five members are a well talented group of musicians and deserve a full cover. The vocalist, today ex-vocalist, Flemming Ronsdorf, shows that he is a brilliant vocalist demonstrating high-end and raspy notes along with some measure of softness. His voice resembles the early era of Bobby Blitz of Overkill (Feel The Fire era) mixed with ex-Exodus frontman Zetro. The man has more than some moments and he delivers more interest to various songs that have gone to technical. The two guitarist brothers, Michael and Morten Stutzer, have made an incredible effort by making complex melodic tunes along some great Thrashy riffs. Before this recording, Morten was the band’s bass player and since this release, he gave his position to be a guitarist alongside his bro. Peter Thornwood, the bass player, which came as a new member to the band back then, shows a variety of lead bass riffs along with many melodies. The talented drummer, Carsten Nielsen, as was mentioned before, plays a major role in the rhythmic department and does it with excellence.
Heading for the song section makes the difficult task of choosing the best tracks. Each one of these tracks symbols a major breakthrough in Thrash Metal that has brought the beginning of its second era over the 1990s. Nevertheless, several will get some writing time. “Don’t Believe” is arguably the best track of them all. This track combines softness with pure evil. Ronsdorf does his best work here. The riffs are just amazing and the solos; no words are enough to describe them.”Khomaniac” is a great technical piece that begins a new phase in Artillery’s career. “Bombfood” , musically, is not close to “Disposable Heroes”. This one is much more complex then the others and shows some great bass work. “Life In Bondage” is a melodic Thrasher that discusses the hard issue of Slavery. The cover track of Nazareth’s “Razamanaz” is an excellent work with heaviness and speed. This track is also a good job by Ronsdorf. The demo track “All For You”, outrageous as it is, is still a good track with a slight Mercyful Fate influence.
Since 2007, Artillery are back on the road with Crystal Eye’s singer Nico Adamsen and they are probably working on a new album by now. By Inheritance is a great Thrasher and is one of the top Thrash albums of all time. Let the Artillery barrage fire some new explosive tracks that will become moshers as their old shells.
Ah, shit... Mercyful Fate are a major influence but Artillery plays at a much higher BPM (obviously). The vocals really impress me: higher pitched yet striking an exposed nerve, the vocals match the elite arpeggios found throughout. The theme is war and "By Inheritance" is like a bludgeoning to the cerebral cortex.
Production-wise Artillery encapsulates everything one would desire in 'technical' thrash-metal. Every instrument, including the bass, shines. The music is knit-tight as are the war-mongering lyrics.
"By Inheritance" will rip your fucking skull from your scalp down through your taint. This is incredibly well-thought out as well as head-bangable: the power-chord 'meaty' riffs are dispersed meticulously amongst the Mercyful Fate-like mini-solos, holy FUCKING shit this album rips.
Song-writing skills never take a back-seat to individual showmanship and the result is a TECHNICAL progressive-thrash riff monster that chokes one with NAPALM DEATH-like intensity.
Every song owns your soul like the devil and will leave you craving repeat listenings like a meth-addicted crack whore craves the aforementioned chemicals. If you like Coroner's early shit and Mercyful Fate's first two then you'll adore this.
I remember the first time I heard this album several months ago; at that time, I hadn't heard a lot of thrash. I only knew the bigger bands. I thought that this album utterly destroyed anything they had released. Even now that I know many more smaller, underground thrash bands, I still consider this album this the best one of all; indeed, it's been my favorite for several months, and I practically know it note for note (in my head).
Flemming Ronsdorf deserves all the praise he gets for his vocals on this album, and a whole lot more. Damn, this guy is talented. His high-pitched vocals take the music to a whole new level. If this album had been recorded with the current guy, I would have to rate it at least 10% lower. Oh, and by the way, he can do the mellow clean singing too, on "Don't Believe," "Bombfood," and "Back in the Trash." Sure, he's no Bruce Dickinson, but his style of vocals in the intros to those songs fit perfectly with the rest of it. Flemming's vocals make this album a fantastic album that even a casual thrash fan must have.
But Flemming isn't the only guy with talent in the band, not by a longshot. The Stutzer brothers are fantastic on the guitar; both are extremely capable of technical thrash riffing and playing lightning solos. They ensure that the music still sounds awesome even when Flemming's mouth is closed (such as the first 3 minutes of the album). Actually, the solos on this album are some of the best I've heard, and they pop up pretty frequently and for good amounts of time. Anyone who doubts these guys' talent as rhythm or lead guitarists needs professional help.
Bass is also good on this album. I generally like the bass to be mixed pretty loudly, and on this album it's certainly audible. Thorslund certainly knew what he's doing, and how to write basslines that fit the rest of the songs well. The drumming is awesome too; always provides nice backing for the songs; in addition, he's sometimes featured such as in the intro to "Beneath the Clay." Carsten Nielsen (who was invited to join Bathory) is a damn talented drummer. Oh, wait, so is the rest of the band, that's what makes this album awesome.
The production could be a bit better, but it fits the thrash style of music well. It doesn't take away from the album in any way. In addition, the songwriting is very good. I said the solos were good, but that's not it. The lyrics are all good, especially "Bombfood" which is brilliant. The album is certainly riff driven, and this Danish band knows how to write amazing riffs. The choruses are almost all extremely catchy.
After the instrumental opener, "Khomaniac" is about as good a song as you can get. It has an awesome introduction that sets the stage for what the whole album is like. It's got 2 solid solos; the second is one of my favorites of all time.
"Beneath the Clay (R.I.P.)" is another great track with excellent drumming and an awesome chorus.
Then we get to the title track. It's a toss up between this, the opener, and the closer for best song on the album. "By Inheritance" starts with a quick, no-nonsense intro and then jumps into what is easily one of the best thrash songs of all time.
"Bombfood" easily wins the best lyrics award. It's a brilliant anti-war song; unfortunately, not many people have heard it or ever will. But musically, it's another fantastic song.
'Then after the best start in the history of music - with 4 amazing songs - the album takes a slight downward turn for the next 3 and drops from perfect to merely great. "Don't Believe" and "Equal at First" aren't standout tracks, except that the former has some awesome clean singing by Flemming, and "Life in Bondage" is probably my least favorite song on the album. But any of those 3 would stand out in another album, and I never even think about skipping any of them.
The Nazareth cover, "Razamanaz," at first seems out of place, but this one really grows on you. It's now one of my favorites. Oh, and look at what they did to it compared to the original - Flemming makes their singer look like crap. Artillery couldn't have picked a better song for his voice to cover.
The final song, "Back in the Trash," is the longest other than "Khomaniac." It starts out with a melodic, airy intro and then suddenly turns into a thrashfest, a la Metallica's "Battery," except it doesn't get boring after a few minutes. Indeed, "Back in the Trash" could be the greatest thrash song of all time. The final line ("Will you survive the day!!?) looms over you for a few seconds, and then the cheery intro riff plays again. And then, the album's over, and you play it again.
When I first listened to this album the awesomeness blew me away. I literally fell off my chair and it took me several days to recover from that much epic greatness. Coming from Denmark, this is quite possibly the greatest thrash metal album ever conceived. Perhaps the fact that these guys aren't from either of the four big (Bay Area, Brazil, Germany, East Coast) scenes explains their unique sound. Most thrash bands can be classified under one of those four categories, but Artillery can't. While the band had a specific feeling on previous albums, the immensely improved songwriting and broadened influences make this album truly one of a kind. It is a departure from both “Fear of Tomorrow” and “Terror Squad”, though only in the most positive of ways.
The album starts off with 7:00 From Tashkent, an intro with audible Middle-Eastern influences. Cool intro track, which sets the tone for later Eastern vibes. After a minute or so Khomaniac kicks in, perhaps the band's most known song. With a perfect mix of technical greatness and catchy, incredible vocals, this song is nothing short of perfection. Without overlooking interesting drumming, lyrics (about Ayatollah Khomeini) and basslines, this is probably the best song on the album. The same sort of riffing can be found on most of the album: technical thrash/speed riffs, Middle-Eastern passages, slower catchy licks and incredible solos. I have yet to find any metal band that possesses the same sort of riffage, though some bands (like Heathen and Satan) remind me of it at times. The uniqueness of this group and album in particular is perfectly illustrated with the first two songs.
Starting off with a sweet drum intro, an insane riff and a sweet harmony, Beneath the Clay is yet another song that grabs you by the balls from the very first second. Have I mentioned yet that both the vocals and lyrics on this album are among the best thrash metal has ever seen? Well, they are. Flemming Rønsdorf's aggressive high-pitched lines are unmatched, save by a dozen of other metal vocalists. Incredibly, the album does not get weaker after the first handful of tracks. The title song is once again an avalanche of brain-melting riffs and strong hooklines. Listening to these compositions it's hard for me to imagine how big Artillery would have been if their label had done the advertising they deserved. For instance, this cd is better than anything Metallica has ever done – the main difference being that the latter was in the right place at the right time. That has never stopped the band though, who are at the time of posting working on yet another masterpiece.
Next two songs are Bombfood and Don't Believe. The first tells the story of a young man who decides to join the army. The chorus in Bombfood without a doubt deserves a place in my top ten favourite choruses EVER. "Soldier, you're not worth a damn! Take ordes is all that you can. Obey ‘em, they'll teach you ever rule. Bombfood, you're nothing but a tool!" Great; simply great. Hearing that part of the song, not standing up and yelling the whole neighborhood awake is simply impossible. The second part of the duo, Don't Believe is perhaps not as great as the first, though still a good song. These two songs are perhaps the "odd ones out" on the album, which is a great thing because it provides even more variety. I'm not sure if the phrase thrash-ballad exists, but if such thing would exist it would surely apply to these two songs. Since they are somewhat similar, putting them apart on the album would have been a idea, though obviously I'm not complaining.
Up next are two other great thrashers, Life in Bondage and Equal at First. The attack of out-of-this-world riffs simply does not stop, much to my disbelief. Though similar in style to the first couple of tracks, the word “repetitive” is not in Artillery's dictionary. The latter song is my least favorite of the album, though that's not saying a lot. The Nazareth cover -Razamanaz- feels somewhat out of its place, and perhaps would have been better suited as a bonus track. The vocals are the best feature, degrading the original ones to pure embarrassment. Flemming is simply perfect. Unless you are allergic to high pitched singing you will love him. He has a large range, sounds aggressive and less screechy then Bobby Ellsworth. What more could you possible ask for? Throughout the album, his lines (often anti-war) prove that you don't need to sing about being evil in order to be a good thrash band.
Closing song is Back in the Trash, a sequel to the 1987 song ‘In the Trash’ (off their previous album, ‘Terror Squad’) … a worthy closing track to this incredible album. Flemming Rasmussen did a great job on producing the album, but then again what would you except from him? For those of you who have been living in a cave for the last 25 years, he's the guy who produced Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, Covenant, etc. The clean, ball-grabbing mix is simply put perfect for these songs. He is probably among the best metal producers ever, and it's no coincidence Metallica's decline started at the very moment they changed him for Bob Rock.
Now, this album is an essential metal album. It's a must have album, a classic album, a great album ... perhaps even the best thrash metal album ever. You sort of get the point, but if you haven’t, I’m trying to say I highly recommend this. You should listen to it if you fit in one of the following categories:
- You don't die upon hearing technical, awesome, fast riffs.
- You like thrash.
- You like metal.
- You like music.
- You don't mind high pitched vocals.
- You have ears.
And that is a massive understatement. Over the past few years, I have gone out of my way to discover as much metal as possible, and it has kind of become my goal. This is obvious to most metal fans, but my quest has consumed me. I want more metal! More thrash, death, black, stoner, doom, speed, traditional, folk, prog, whatever it be... I want... no.... I NEED metal.
You can make a safe assumption that I have heard a LOT of music in the last few years then. I have filled up my 30 gigabyte iPod on three separate occasions. There is simply so much music, and there is nothing to quell my obsession with metal. Now, through all this, there will obviously bands that I discover that will stick with me, while others I'll enjoy, but discard eventually. There are bands like Warmen are stunning on first listen, but fade away after a few spins. There are bands like High on Fire that aren't very intriguing at first, but end up kicking a ton of ass when given another chance. Then there are bands like Artillery that start out amazing and never fade.
Upon my first listen of the Dutch melodic, tech-thrashers' third album, By Inheritance, my brain melted a little bit. There are riff up the ass, around every corner, under every rock, behind every wall, and next to every toaster. The catchy yet menacing melodies lay on top of these copious riffs like a fat whore lies on top of the exhausted chump who just payed $20 for her. The opener 7:00 from Tashkent/Khomaniac starts off with a sitar sounding melody. It continues for a bit before exploding into a total, all out thrash attack. Beneath the Clay starts next, and it's one of the more fast paced numbers on here, starting off with a driving drum fill and tech thrash riffs (not tech thrash like Watchtower... but kind of like technical and difficult without the wacky bass countermelodies). The title track is another healthy slab of motherfucking metal, opening with the most metal acoustic line I've ever heard before, again, exploding into a total thrashsterpiece. The chorus will get stuck in your head, I guarantee it.
Then the two "semiballads" show up. First off is my personal favorite of the album, the epic Bombfood. Telling the story of a young man who dreams of joining the army, only to do so and be shipped off to war and realize what it is like under the glamor. Excellent melodies in this one and the coolest verse riff on the album. The vocals here are absolutely insane, soaring high over everything and really carrying the already awesome chorus into a different realm of badassery. The next one, Don't Believe, is amazing as well, but it seems to be very similar to the previous track. The only difference I can see is that it's shorter and has a bit more acousticism in it. Otherwise, the structures are very similar and the chorus riff is nearly identical. This, strangely, does not detract from the song at all, as it stands as one of my favorite songs that came out of 1990.
The next set of tracks seems to drag the album down just a teensy little bit, as while they are indeed destructive thrashers, they just don't seem to stand up to the beginning of the record. This is a common theme in metal albums that I'm frankly sick of. Please people, SOMEBODY make a record that is flawless from start to finish, I have yet to have heard one, hence why I have yet to (and possibly will not) ever give a perfect score here. I rate by judging each song individually on a scale of 1 - 10, then I average them into the score I end up giving the album as a whole. Not one album has been able to pull off a 100%, but I'm pulling for one.
So anyways, the album seems to stutter a bit until the very last track, Back in the Trash. This is a glorious return to form of the first half of the record. A nearly perfect blend of melody and thrash. I really want to hear more bands like this, because this is one of the coolest sounds in metal I've ever heard.
Overall the album averages out to a 94%. A well deserved A, but I think it suffered from a lack of ideas in the midsection. Because as cool as Life in Bondage and Equal at First are, I can never recall parts of them from memory like I can from the rest. The cover of Nazareth's Razamanaz is strange, but not necessarily bad. Hearing awesome thrash riffs and huge vocals in a song I never really liked is a cool experience, but I think there should've been another original song here, or they should've just left the album with eight tracks.
Recommended to anybody who enjoys thrash. WARNING: If you prefer your face to be bludgeoned off with a jackhammer, you might want to try their first two releases Fear of Tomorrow and Terror Squad. If you don't mind your face getting ripped off with a touch of finesse, then I highly recommend By Inheritance.
Before very recently, I believed the only good metal bands to come from Denmark was well, Mercyful Fate and King Diamond. One of those has since gone on hold, and the other has relocated to Texas in the United States. Other then those two, I believed that the only even remotely good metal band to come from Denmark was Hatesphere, but now they have become (at least to me) contrite, boring, and generic modern melodic death metal. Nothing I am really interested in anymore. But then I found something else.
That "something else" was Artillery. From the very moment that I got my chance to listen to this band, I could tell there was something different about them. They were technical, they were heavy, and they were thrash metal. What really struck me out was their melodic and blended style. To me, Artillery did not fit under the "bay area thrash" or "east coast thrash" or "Teutonic thrash" label. They were just, well, they were just thrash. A true bridge between good old American technicality, melodic usage, and instrumental skill with German heaviness and brutallity. In that case, how can you get any better? Well, you really don't. The best place to exhibit Artillery and their sound is on By Inheritance, an album that is something like "Testament meets Destruction in a dark alley and they become very good friends" sort of sound.
The musicians on Artillery may not always be the best, but they certainly know what they are doing when it comes to their work. Flemming Ronsdorf's vocals are positively great, as he is like a thrash metal version of Helloween's Michael Kiske. When I say this, I do not mean he sounds like a power metal singer (which he could probably do well). I mean that he sings in a considerably high pitch quite a bit and has these weird, almost Frank Sinatra like clean and low vocals. Never is he out of time or key, and his highness is not corny and humorus but rather incredibly aggressive. Hard hitting and powerful, Ronsdorf delivers lyrics about all things that you would expect from a thrash metal band. We get anti government (Khomaniac, Don't Believe), anti religion (Khomaniac again), murder (Beneath The Clay), war (Bombfood), society (Equal At First, Life In Bondage, By Inheritance), and even the human mind (Back In The Trash). I have never heard Nazareth before, so I don't know how well he compares to the singer of Nazareth on Razamanaz, but I think he does pretty well.
Our guitarists are brotherly duo Michael and Morten Strytzer. These two are pretty dang amazing. The riffs and harmonies they churn out are all great, incredibly tight, heavy, and definitely thrash metal while being catchy and unique. Real good examples of this are, well, every single song. You definitely get an Asian feel when you hear these guys play (not in a Nile sort of sense but a more Indian/Pakistani sense). Two songs, By Inheritance and Back In The Trash make use of an odd sort of clean sound that really is great, and is also used in the middle of Bombfood to make for a very dramatic and deep sound. Acoustics are used for intros and passages in Don't Believe, and they sound positively great and shimmery as well. We even hear them playing sitar on 7:00 From Tashkent. How many other thrash metal musicians do you hear playing the sitar on their albums? Not many at all. But the riff department is not the only thing the Strytzer brothers succeed at. Their leads are also very stellar. This is where the sort of "Testament meets Destruction" thing is best revealed. Michael's leads are the faster and more pronounced of the two brothers, but are a bit more simplistic and I think use less musical theory (very similar to Mike Sifringer of Destruction). Morten's leads use more theory and are a tad more complex, but they are not as pronounced and are slower (much like Alex Skolnick). A great way to make the album sound varied and loaded with great technicality.
Rhythm section members Peter Thorslund and Carsten Nielsen add to the tightness of the band greatly. Peter's bass is tight and heavy, loaded with semi distorted and chunky sounding lines that hit hard and back up the band great. Though he follows the guitars somewhat, he does not totally follow along and makes some lines that fit the tightness of the music and volley off the drums really nicely. Definitely up there in the pantheon of great metal bassists. Drummer Carsten Nielsen is positively prestigious. His technique is loaded with lots of double kick, tom drum rolls, rapid snare drum rolls, flowing and tight grooves and loads of hard hitting madness. Compared to other thrash metal drummers, his double kick technique is a tad on the slow side. The fastest he does are in these quick bursts on Back In The Trash, but the tightness he shows would definitely make me consider him for any fantasy thrash metal band I could think up.
As if the band cannot get any better, the songs they make are all great. They are all melodic and at a pretty nice tempo that is fast but not so fast that it compromises technicality (like Slayer). Most of them here are at the tempo of Master Of Puppets era Metallica, but several times they change time and get much faster before going slower again. The fastest songs are probably Beneath The Clay and Life In Bondage. They are decently progressive (more progressive then Metallica on Master Of Puppets), but not progressive enough to label them true progressive thrash metal. But it is most certainly technical enough to call it technical thrash metal without question.
For a producer, Artillery did not go wrong. Master Of Puppets producer Flemming Rasmussen is the man behind the knob twiddling on By Inheritance, and a good choice for such a job at that. The riffs are hard and gritty, the leads are well pronounced, the bass is thumping and can be made out with everything else, and the drums are very clear every time all the time. It honestly sound a lot better then Master Of Puppets, being much more pronounced and reverberated. Good choice on Rasmussen and the band's part.
Downsides? Well the only one I can think of is Morten's guitar tone, and that maybe Ronsdorf is a tad too monotone. Otherwise, no real major issues.
If you want a thrash metal album that his technical enough for tech/progressive thrash fans to enjoy and brutal enough for brutal thrash fans to enjoy, then look no further to By Inheritance. Artillery crafts a sound here that nearly any metal head into thrash metal can enjoy, and one that will resonate through the metal underground for years to come.
Alright, so this isn't really "Egyptian" Thrash by any means, but the intro and some of the songs definitely give off some imagery, kind of making it a little theme throughout this album. Either way, this is some incredible thrash here. Very clean, nicely polished, similar to the realm of Heathen's masterful works. This is very consistent, very melodic and mesmerizing, and pretty technical at times.
Flemming Rï¿½nsdorf's vocals are really something else. They're definitely not groundbreaking or anything, but they're very unique. Sometimes he sounds a bit like Grave Digger's Chris Boltendahl, but with some actual range. His voice is pretty thick and aggressive, but not really raspy like say, Overkill's Bobby Ellsworth, its easier and clear to hear regardless that his singing is rough. And his shrieks are great. His vocals are definitely very complementary to this entire album, and he always seems to give his best.
As I stated earlier, this album is very consistent, straight forward awesome thrash. There's really no low points to be found here at all. Its downright catchy from the start and to the finish. There's uses of acoustic's on occassion from time to time, "Don't Believe" probably being the best example, and it really flows with the music perfectly. Definitely gives off some strong atmosphere. The progession of the music and the flow of the songs is again, very much like Heathen. Its very catchy, dramatic, techincal and it never really gets boring. The production is very top notch as well, probably their best album in terms of production. Each instrument can be heard pretty clearly, even the bass stands out very well. And besides the intro, and the occasional acoustic's, there's nothing "too fancy" on here at all. Just downright awesome raw and in your face thrash.
Maybe I just don't look out good enough, but I don't always see this band mentioned when people discuss thrash. And it really seems to be a shame. Along with this, I've heard their other two albums before this one and I'll say they're really a solid thrash band. They definitely have what it takes to rank up there with Heathen, Laaz Rockit, Flotsam and Jetsam, Overkill, and whatnot. This is probably my favorite album they've put out, and would definitely be a great start to get into the band if you haven't heard their stuff before. I give this album my highest recommendation for melodic speed / thrash fans.
This is one great slab o technical thrash. Think Coroner with a "Master of Puppets" sound to the guitars and drums and you're pretty much there. They utilise their technical skills along with a good sense of melody to make this interesting from start to finish.
The production here is a big plus, overseen by "Master Of Puppets" producer, Fleming Rasmussen, you won't be surprised to know. The guitars and drums have the same rich sound to them like they do on "Master Of Puppets" without being slick and overproduced like "The Black Album", which makes the material even more enjoyable.
Their biggest asset tho, is the technical guitarwork. All of the songs have the same style of fleeting from one guitar & drum pattern to a different one in quick succession. It's all seasoned with the singer's nice shrieky vocals, which kinda sounds like a more melodic and less shrill UDO and the riffs are nifty too. Whilst there's no legendary ones or orgasmic thrash breaks, they're still always above average thrashbanging. Combine these and you have a sound which is like a ball and chain to your head without you staring at the skip button once....
...Well maybe on the track 9, the Nazareth cover, "Razamanaz", which I found decent, but anyone can be forgiven for thinking it reeks. All of the other songs have a consistent level of ownage however. The most memorable for me would be the thrashiest tracks, the title track and the closer, "Back In The Trash", "Khomaniac", "Beneath The Clay" etc...I may as well write the whole tracklisting. It's just such a STRONG album. "Don't Believe" has a different slant than the other tracks with more songwriting range with the ultra melodic guitarwork mixed with more Kickass thrash.
Overall a superb album. One of thrash's best and along with "Melissa", Denmark's finest offering to the table of metal.
Damn, I must've listened to this album hundreds of time before writing a review for it. I've come to a pretty simple conclusion: By Inheritance is one of the best Thrash albums ever made, and the best Tech-Thrash album ever, as the title says. I don't know if this was a big hit back when it was released, but if it wasn't, then fucking hell, Thrash fans were pathetic back then. Everything in this release is just wonderful, from the powerful vocals to the melodic and technical riffs.
The amount of agressivity and brutality contained in the riffs also amazes me. Artillery manage to add in technical and melodic riffs, AND pack in a big amount of brutality, all of the above while always remaining totally original and unique. Now THAT'S impressive. How many thrash bands can do all of the above? Not a lot.
The production is perfect - the vocals don't cover up the riffs, and neither do the drums. The clean guitar parts aren't too long or too "cheesy", they last end exactly when you want them ot end.
It's really that fucking simple - brutality, agressivity, speed, melodies, and being technical. That what this album's about!
Out of all the bands from the 1980's huge Thrash scene, Denmark's Artillery are one that should have made it to the top. And By Inheritance was meant to be the album that should have propelled them to Thrash Metal stardom.
But alas fate is a cruel bitch, and Artillery became one of the countless bands to be lost to the sands of time (yes, I do like using cliches).
Anyhow, By Inheritance is one excellent Thrash album. It combines all the hallmarks of classic Thrash - it's aggressive, it's technical, and it can be melodic, but not in a sellout type of manner. Vocalist Flemming Ronsdorf is somewhat similar to Overkill larynx shredder Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth, but a lot less irritating as they are a lot less screechy.
Musically By Inheritance is closer to the techincal, quasi-melodic styling of American Thrash bands such as Metallica, Anthrax and Flotsam & Jetsam, rather than the in your face beltings provided by many European Thrash acts such as Kreator, Sodom and Destruction. But despite this "American connection" the album is at times reminiscent of early Helloween or even Iron Maiden with its intricate melodies.
Just a shame that this was not an American band, becuase if it was, then today we would probably talk about them in the same way we talk about the classic albums of the Big Four Thrash acts.
This may be Artillery's best album, and other than one really stupid song, it's pretty much perfect in every way. It has the best vocals of any of their albums, some of the most memorable riffs, and definitely the catchiest songs.
"7.00 From Tashkent" is the introduction - it's about a minute long, and sets the tone for "Khomaniac", which instantly is memorable, especially with the chorus... the riffs and vocals together combine for great effect. Next is "RIP", which continues in a similar manner, and then "By Inheritance", which is just a bit faster and choppier, especially in the chorus.
Next up is "Bombfood" with probably the most over the top vocals of the entire album, and yet again more fucking riffs. Then, "Don't Believe", which has some really nice melodic guitar work - some lighter parts alternate with some really fucking screaming riffs for a bit, then the main solo comes in and completely lays waste to man and beast alike. One of the best songs on here.
"Live in Bondage" is just a bit more pedestrian, as is "Equal at First" - both are still very, very good. Then, we have the "What the fucking fuck?!?" moment of the album - "Razamanaz" is a Nazareth cover, and it completely blows ass and sounds nothing like the rest of the album. Way to kill the buzz, you morons.
The last song, "Back in the Trash", makes up for any previous failings. Fucking riffs everywhere - probably the most memorable of all is the main break, and also the one under the really fucking screaming chorus is pretty damn good too.
So if you like your thrash shrieky - imagine "Spreading the Disease" with extra attitude, or maybe "Know Your Enemy" but again, extra fucking attitude - definitely go for By Inheritance. Despite one stupid cover, it's still pretty damn indispensable.