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Incredible comeback! - 94%

DGYDP, June 13th, 2008

Like most thrashers, I only had one question in my mind before listening to this album: will it be as good as their classic albums? It didn't take me long to figure out that this wasn't as good as their classic albums ... this IS a classic album. First of all, this is neither an exact replica of their old work nor a half-assed attempt at selling out. Those wanting to hear By Inheritance 2 or Torture Squad 2 are warned; this is quite different from the older albums. It’s not pure thrash either, but more about that later.

It is -as with all Artillery albums- unique. Some minor groove metal influences seem to have found their way into most of the songs, but unlike some other people this doesn't bother me at all. In fact, this provides a healthy degree of variation. Groovy riffs are mixed in with the legendary oriental-sounding Artillery riffs and neck-breaking thrash riffs. The solos seem to have a bit too much of wah attached to them at times, but this doesn't mean they aren't amazing. Quite to the contrary, the solos are miles above average (which was to be expected).

However, the riffing isn't completely consistent throughout the entire record. There are a whole lot of mind-blowing ones (the intro of Cybermind, for example) while others don't seem to go anywhere. This isn't a major issue because the amount of good riffs are amazing enough to sustain the entire album. The bass sounds good too; at times perhaps a bit too low in the mix but great lines are scattered over all the tracks. The drumming is near perfect, the only minor flaw is the sound of the snare. I'm guessing this isn't the fault of the drummer though but rather an error on the part of the engineer or producer.

Flemming delivers, as usual, an incredible performance as a vocalist. His tone has changed quite a bit compared to By Inheritance, there are less higher shrieks and when they do appear they're nowhere near the ones of the older albums. That's not to say it's bad though, not at all. A weird type of effect (I honestly have no idea what it is) makes Flemming sound very strange and artificial at times, which once again is probably a misjudgment by the producer. The effect wouldn't sound bad in minor doses but it's simply overused here.

The biggest problem on BACK seems to be the production. First of all it's not as polished and clear as By Inheritance and at times the mix even sounds raw. Depending on your preferences this might be good or bad, but to me it was a good choice and suits the music very well. But, the producer also made some mistakes. The effect on the vocals, for example, or the sound of the snare drum. As mentioned before the bass is too low in the mix at times, which is a shame because once it pops up the tone is quite good.

Overall, this is an awesome album. It has some flaws and isn't very consistent but the good parts make up for it. One of the best comeback albums I have ever heard and worth to be released under the name of Artillery. Those wondering if this is as good as their classic albums should stop worrying; this IS a classic album. I should also mention that some songs should have been b-sides in stead of put on the album. What I would have done was take the best riffs from the lesser songs and add them to the other songs - or simply have the lesser songs as bonus tracks. Recommended to ... everybody.