St. Paul, Minnesot'as True Metal Record Store (RIP as of Dec. 24, 2015)
Another new weekly series? Maybe getting too big for our britches here…Like the newly minted Death Metal Monday, Old Metal Thursday will go back to the 80s and beyond to shine the light on gems of traditional, heavy, speed and sometimes thrash metal. As before, helpful suggestions provided for similar bands available at Into the Void Records USA and YouTube streaming video links so you can efficiently waste time at work. Enjoy!
In honor of their first-ever (and quite extensive) North American tour with ONSLAUGHT and STRIKER, Danish speed/thrash stalwarts ARTILLERY seemed like the logical choice to begin our journey back in time. That and they start with A, so it wasn’t all that clever, merely convenient, no credit due to me at all.
The band are undeniably cut from a unique cloth for a European outfit, mixing upbeat thrash rhythms not unlike the great Teutonic and nascent Bay Area bands of the time with a vocal and melodic approach hearkening back to more traditional roots. Their masterpiece in my opinion is 1987s Terror Squad, a veritable feast of effortless power-thrashing fun.
That soaring opening riff should seal the deal instantly. After that, the vocal acrobatics and carefree attitude are just plain gravy. Not really a weak song in the bunch on Terror Squad, there ain’t. The speed seems momentarily relentless, just before songs like the title track strike you with a mid-paced hamfist in the EXODUS Bonded by Blood school with (dare I say it) even more convincing power.
The band is still releasing albums, which I unfortunately can’t comment on extensively. Many tout their hard-to-find follow-up to Terror Squad, By Inheritance, as the band’s peak, and it’s hard to deny that point of view. Having once been in on R/C (aka Roadrunner) they certainly reached a fair number of ears all of 25(!) years back. With luck the new round of vinyl reissues of Roadrunner backcatalog by Metal Blade will touch on them soon. While you’re waiting though don’t forget ARTILLERY’s American counterparts in FORBIDDEN, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM and METAL CHURCH for your melodic powerthrashing fix.
PS — Come to POV’s 65 tomorrow night to see a legendary band, and don’t ever forget our Twin Cities Metal Event Calendar has all this information in one place!
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