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So then, my first review post-Hellfest and one of a band that would be a nice addition to most festival line-ups this summer. It is the return of the old-school Danish thrashers Artillery, who following the re-release of all their old material decided to open the casket and let in air once again. Now surprisingly I'm not overly-well acquainted with their past material but if you'd have asked me what I would have thought a comeback album from a B-league European 80's thrash band would sound like, it would be very similar to this.
The performance is more than competent, the song writing honed and tight and production is clean and crisp. The pace is a mid-fast largely throughout with the odd moment of it dropping to allow the band to display a variety of weapons in their arsenal. The band's trump card is revealed in the vocal melodies found in the chorus of almost all the songs. "10,000 Devils", "Delusions Of Grandeur" and "Upon My Cross I Crawl" are all fine examples of Søren Nico Adamsen's vocal range and his ability to lead the song from the front at times where a lesser man could not have brought the songs up a level like he has. Long-time Artillery fans will be aware that Mr. Adamsen has not held vocal duties for Artillery before and have a bit of difficulty getting over this change of duties, especially for a thrash band so vocally-reliant like Artillery are, but Adamsen's Tim Aymar-like (Control Denied) is excellent and will be your main memory after a few listens to "When Death Comes".
However, this is also partly due to the absence of any really killer riffs or songs. It has to be said that there are no bad songs on the album, but in their similarities to recent efforts from Testament and Onslaught and a resemblance to old Forbidden, Artillery aren't doing anything here that no seasoned thrasher will not have heard before. This fact is evidenced in the recent works of many thrash bands, showing the genre to be a very difficult one in which to be creative unlike others like black metal and doom, and which in my opinion will soon see the end of the current thrash revival unless steps are taken to inject some truly fresh blood into proceedings. You should be able to guess the score this will get by now; "When Death Comes" is a perfectly good thrash record. There is much worse out there, there is also much better. Pretty simple that one.
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net