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Martial, vehement, lawless - 77%

Felix 1666, May 19th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Punishment 18 Records

First things first, nine out of ten guys who choose such an artwork for their album are either badly advised or they have a strange taste. Or, worse still, they have a (frequently empty-headed) "message". More directly expressed, the cover sucks. Anyway, here comes another statistic which I have faked carefully. Nine out of ten bands who play thrash and burst of energy are able to make my day. Good news, Battery is not the tenth group.

Their debut was a feast for adrenaline junkies and the Danish force saw no reason to change its approach. "Martial Law" follows its predecessor very exactly. Speed, ferocity, fury, Battery deliver these ingredients in abundance. Furthermore, the album scores with a powerful production. Even the bass guitar plays a prominent role and only fools think that this is a matter of course. Under these circumstances, one should not be baffled that Battery are able to celebrate a thrash party of the finest art. Well, their compositional skills can be discussed controversially, because there are genre albums that hold more diverse material. However, the band is still young and probably able to reach the next development stage.

Despite the unmodified style, "Martial Law" is not "Armed with Rage Part II". Nevertheless, there are some similarities as indicated above. "Downfall of an Age", to give but one example, picks up the thread of "Vermin of Fukushima" and adds some groovy rhythms to the dominating thrash staccato. Just like the song about the horrible catastrophe in Japan from the year 2011, this more or less casual riff attack contrasts with the remaining songs without appearing as a foreign body. Furthermore, it develops an own identity in the context of the here presented material, while a small number of the more typical tunes struggle hard to distinguish themselves from the rest. This is a little bit sad, because the guys from Northern Europe actually know how to combine pummeling vehemence with concise choruses. Impulsive eruptions like "Battery by Authority", "The Rapture" and "Proxy Warfare" invite the listener to bang his head to tracks with clear contours and impress with their brutal form of catchiness. Other pieces sweep across the urban deserts of thrash and their violence deserves recognition. Yet as much as I regret it, they have no lasting effect.

I do not think that a continued development is an value in itself in terms of metal bands. Of course, I appreciate formations that get better and better in executing their kind of music, but I do not praise groups for giving up their initial style successively. With that said, I want to express my concern that Battery are at risk of ending up in a blind alley. A combination of slightly more mid-paced, somewhat groovy tracks with more meticulously designed thrash torpedoes could be the recipe for the next full-length. I do not want them to become a hybrid of thrash and power / nu / punk / whatever metal. And do not get me wrong, "Martial Law" is definitely a good work, not least because of an expressive lead vocalist and effective gang shouts. The musicians just should sharpen their approach constantly. Then I am sure that the next album will be a killer that challenges their debut. Maybe even the next artwork will be acceptable again.