|Classic Review: Artillery - By Inheritance|
Label: Roadracer Records
Year released: 1990
Genre: Thrash Metal
Review online: January 16, 2009
Reviewed by: Daniel DGYDP Guerrero
Rated 4.48/5 (89.6%) (50 Votes)
When I first listened to this album, the awesomeness blew me away. I literally fell off my chair and it took me several days to recover from that much epic greatness. Coming from Denmark, this is quite possibly the greatest Thrash Metal album ever conceived. Perhaps the fact that these guys aren't from either of the four big (Bay Area, Brazil, Germany, East Coast) scenes explains their unique sound. Most Thrash bands can be classified under one of those four categories, but Artillery can't. While the band had a specific feeling on previous albums, the immensely improved songwriting and broadened influences make this album truly one of a kind. It is a departure from both Fear of Tomorrow and Terror Squad, though only in the most positive of ways.
The album starts off with "7:00 From Tashkent", an intro with audible Middle-Eastern influences. Cool intro track, which sets the tone for later oriental vibes. After a minute or so "Khomaniac" kicks in, perhaps the band's most known song. With a perfect mix of technical greatness and catchy, incredible vocals, this song is nothing short of perfection. Without overlooking interesting drumming, lyrics (about Ayatollah Khomeini) and basslines, this is probably the best song on the album. The same sort of riffing can be found on most of the album: technical Thrash/Speed riffs, Middle-Eastern passages, slower catchy licks and incredible solos. I have yet to find any metal band that possesses the same sort of riffage, though some bands (like Heathen and Satan) remind me of it at times. The uniqueness of this group and album in particular is perfectly illustrated with the first two songs.
Starting off with a sweet drum intro, an insane riff and a sweet harmony, "Beneath the Clay" is yet another song that grabs you by the balls from the very first second. Have I mentioned yet that both the vocals and lyrics on this album are among the best Thrash Metal has ever seen? Well, they are. Flemming Rønsdorf's aggressive high-pitched lines are unmatched, save by a dozen of other metal vocalists. Incredibly, the album does not get weaker after the first handful of tracks. The title song is once again an avalanche of brain-melting riffs and strong hooklines. Listening to these compositions, it's hard for me to imagine how big Artillery would have been if their label had done the advertising they deserved. For instance, this CD is better than anything Metallica has ever done — the main difference being that the latter was in the right place at the right time. That has never stopped the band though, who are at the time of posting working on yet another masterpiece.
The next two songs are "Bombfood" and "Don't Believe". The first tells the story of a young man who decides to join the army. The chorus in "Bombfood" without a doubt deserves a place in my top ten favourite choruses EVER. "Soldier, you're not worth a damn! Take orders is all that you can. Obey 'em, they'll teach you ever rule. "Bombfood", you're nothing but a tool!" Great; simply great. Hearing that part of the song, not standing up and yelling the whole neighborhood awake is simply impossible. The second part of the duo, "Don't Believe" is perhaps not as great as the first, though still a good song. These two songs are perhaps the "odd ones out" on the album, which is a great thing because it provides even more variety. I'm not sure if the phrase Thrash-ballad exists, but if such thing would exist it would surely apply to these two songs. Since they are somewhat similar, putting them apart on the album would have been a idea, though obviously I'm not complaining.
Up next are two other great thrashers, "Life in Bondage" and "Equal at First". The attack of out-of-this-world riffs simply does not stop, much to my disbelief. Though similar in style to the first couple of tracks, the word "repetitive" is not in Artillery's dictionary. The latter song is my least favourite of the album, though that's not saying a lot. The Nazareth cover, "Razamanaz", feels somewhat out of its place, and perhaps would have been better suited as a bonus track. The vocals are the best feature, degrading the original ones to pure embarrassment. Flemming is simply perfect. Unless you are allergic to high-pitched singing you will love him. He has a large range, sounds aggressive and less screechy then Bobby Ellsworth. What more could you possible ask for? Throughout the album, his lines (often anti-war) prove that you don't need to sing about being evil in order to be a good Thrash band.
Closing song is "Back in the Trash", a sequel to the 1987 song "In the Trash" (off their previous album, Terror Squad) ... a worthy closing track to this incredible album. Flemming Rasmussen did a great job on producing the album, but then again what would you expect from him? For those of you who have been living in a cave for the last 25 years, he's the guy who produced such albums as Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, Covenant, etc. The clean, ball-grabbing mix is, simply put, perfect for these songs. He is probably among the best metal producers ever, and it's no coincidence Metallica's decline started at the very moment they changed him for Bob Rock.
Now, this album is an essential metal album. It's a must have album, a classic album, a great album ... perhaps even the best Thrash Metal album ever. You sort of get the point, but if you haven't, I'm trying to say I highly recommend this. You should listen to it if you fit in one of the following categories:
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