Artillery – Penalty By Perception (Metal Blade)

Genre: Thrash Metal

It’s not only stateside thrashers who can still kick out the jams into their fourth decade: Denmark’s Artillery have been prolific since reforming in 2007, working up four albums since then.

Penalty by Perception is a million miles away from the youthful aggression of their classic Terror Squad days, it’s slicker, more refined – and you’d expect it be. It won’t challenge the dominance of the scene’s US elders either, with Testament, Death Angel and Exodus all on formidable form of late.

But it is a classy slab of melodic thrash nonetheless, an album made by men who’ve been round the metal block a few times and know what it takes to deliver. Take the title track for instance, where a dramatic intro gives way to the kind of riffery that could slice through steel; the Stutzer brothers’ guitars are set to kill here, and their axework is irresistible again on Sin of Innocence.

Not all of Penalty by Perception is as memorable and the likes of Path of the Atheist plod along without making too much of an impression. However, even on the weaker material, Michael Bastholm Dahl puts in a heroic vocal performance that marks him out as a real star. The guy lifts tracks such as Mercy of Ignorance to greater heights, that’s for sure.

Artillery certainly hit lucky when they recruited Dahl in 2012… as did the band’s fans. Let’s hope he sticks around.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Heavy Shelling