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Flawless mixture of heavy and thrash metal - 90%

kluseba, December 19th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, Digital, Metal Blade Records

Danish thrash metal quintet Artillery has released five studio records in nine years and seems to be at the height of its career. The Face of Fear convinces with a liberating mixture of aggressiveness and melody with powerful vocals, harmonious guitar play and tight rhythm section. Another outstanding element is the great songwriting that focuses on tracks between four and five minutes that get to the point, avoid repetition and skip instrumental masturbation. The band has its very own style but still manages to add a few minor surprises here and there to keep the listening experience entertaining.

The opening title track ''The Face of Fear'' opens with unusual drum patterns that grab the listener's attention before evolving into a powerful thrash metal anthem without any lengths. ''New Rage'' has a mysterious vibe with atmospheric sound samples, acoustic guitar passages and enchanting vocals but these elements stop at the right moment as the track picks up some power and speed to evolve into a contemporary mid-tempo thrash metal tune. ''Through the Ages of Atrocity'' on the other side has something of an old school heavy metal vibe and sounds like a dynamic nod to genre legends like Saxon or Judas Priest.

The record keeps its strong momentum from start to finish and even adds two additional bonus tracks. ''Mind of No Return'' is a rerecorded version of the very first song from the band's very first demo released thirty-six years earlier with dominant bass guitar play, playful guitar solos and the perfect mixture of heavy and thrash metal while ''Doctor Evil'' is a more sinister contemporary thrash metal song that oozes with atmosphere which was only released five years ago. Both songs sound fresh, work perfectly well in the context of this new album and also represent the evolution and style of the band throughout the years.

Artillery's The Face of Fear appeals both to fans of heavy and thrash metal. It's a great starting point to discover these underrated Danish veterans. Fans of old date should certainly appreciate the band's youthful spirit. This is the thrash metal album you didn't know you had to purchase this year. The band in general and this output in particular deserve more attention.