Whoever said that there isn’t any good thrash metal anymore? No one? Excellent! That statement has never been true and it’s obvious that it never will be as there’s a menagerie of talented thrash bands out there putting out magnificent shit. One such understatement is Artillery whose single “In Defiance of Conformity” captured the head banger spirit wondrously, and to say that’s the same for the upcoming “Penalty by Perception” is nothing short of a straight up and unimaginably huge insult to the magnitude of the record, for it is so much more than any fan of both the band and thrash in general could ever expect in recent years.
I will break this miracle album down into two views for you: the first looking at is as a modern piece of thrash, and the other looking at how well crafted “Penalty by Perception” is overall. Let’s get the first one out of the way. What does a modern thrash album sound like? Fast, heavy, and something along the lines of lightning that just drank a tankard of Red Bull (not a sponsor). And all of that great stuff is found within “Penalty by Perception” with heaps to spare, but does it hold up with all of the legends of thrash that have been put out before it. If you ask me, it goes right up there amongst the likes of multiple early age Big Four records simply because it has such a captivating feel, energy that will make you want to head bang more than I am right now, and such ingenuity that your mouth will just be left watering for more by the end of it. And it’s important for a band to show how flexible they are. Artillery shows off their flexibility by now only incorporating the shredding guitars, awesome bass, and lightning drums, but also (and possibly not limited to) an acoustic guitar, a piano, and added in effects used for effective set up that only show up for a few seconds at most. When is the last time you heard Metallica or even Slayer with a fucking piano and not to mention work it in with the music and still have the end result being metal as fuck? Never, that’s when, and let any asshole try to strike me down on that one. Everything off of “Penalty by Perception” down to the very note comes together to create an absolute marvel of modern thrash with the end result definitely being the best album I’ve seen the genre pump out in fucking years, and that’s not something I say lightly. It truly is a staggering piece of not just metal nor old school thrash, but music. Period.
And enough about that, let’s move on to how Artillery actually sounds with this record. Short version is they sound fucking awesome and everything that they could’ve done right was done. As I said earlier, “Penalty by Perception” captures everything that makes a thrash album great and so much more, and I cannot tell you how much of a breath of fresh air that piano I mentioned was. It was such a great change in pace and sound that if it didn’t happen at all then I may have actually started to get a little bored with the record’s sound which is of course never a good thing. But alas, that fortunately didn’t happen in the slightest for the all excellent 11 tracks that don’t cease to be mindbogglingly fast. And if you think that there isn’t much time between them then make yourself comfortable when this record comes out because it shreds just under a whopping 54 minutes so there’s a fuck ton more than you could want from not just Artillery but any band in general. With plenty of catchy riffs, sexy solos, fucking amazing vocals, head banging bass grooves, and massive beats from the drums all coming together for “Penality by Perception”, Artillery truly show that they are one of the unsung heroes of the thrashing world as they are masters of the style and are living proof that true talent does not diminish over time, and Artillery has been around for over 30 years so they’ve had plenty of time to become gurus of thrash.
This is without a doubt in my mind one of the best records that 2016 has to offer. Everything fathomable and awesome that can be put onto a thrash album was done and done extremely fucking well by Artillery and they will show to the entire world that this is easily their most staggering album that will take everyone you hears it aback in an instant. Something that must be heard sitting down to only have the listener stand up head banging within minutes, “Penalty by Perception” is a metal marvel that will stand the test of time for many ages to come, and one of the best thrash metal albums to be put out this decade if not this century.
“Penalty by Perception” releases on March 25th!
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