Artillery – Raw Live (In Copenhagen) (Mighty Music)Monday, 29th January 2024
With four decades of playing thrash in the books, it’s natural that Artillery wishes to come out of the pandemic gates all guns blazing for this live album Raw Live (In Copenhagen). Recorded in 2022 at the Copenhell Festival, the band appears to be fiery in executing this material at peak quality. From the tightness of the dual rhythms to the speedy bass/drum interplay, with vocalist Michael Bastholm Dahl comfortably conveying his words/melodies in a clean, commanding delivery that is infectious as it is metallic – it’s an eleven-song chronicle into the vast, fruitful discography of the group.
The latest studio album X of course garners decent attention – although the band smartly spread out the content between opener “The Devil’s Symphony”, “Turn Up the Rage”, and “In Thrash We Trust” as songs one, three, and seven respectively. The execution of twin harmonies, heads down power/speed riffs, as well as injecting melodic runs/refrains in the best spots position Michael Stützer and Kraen Meier in the must-hear category for thrash axe players – their work within songs like “The Challenge” or epic, latter-half mainstay “Khomaniac” stands the test of time. The duality cheerleader frontman next to an ear-shattering, multi-octave delivery allows the audience to easily accept Michael’s elite vocals, especially in the higher, upper note activities that take place in a potent anthem like “Bomb Food”, the militant, mechanical-oriented transition going down a storm with the festival audience. The setlist contains plenty of rebel rousing moments, encouraging crowd chants, stomps, or swinging/swaying motion – “10,000 Devils” a back half favorite for this scribe. Producer Søren Andersen did his best to keep the mix lean, mean, and audible – not an easy task even in a live festival setting, and that’s achieved in magnificent fashion.
A swansong sendoff to the late drummer Josua Madsen (tragically killed in a car accident in 2023) as well as Michael (stepping down from the group as Iron Fire vocalist Martin Steene takes over), Artillery continual amaze with their crunchy brand of power-oriented thrash, full of exciting riffs, runs, and sheer determination. Raw Live (In Copenhagen) should bring more listeners into the fold, as this underrated act deserves a wider, bigger following through their consistent songwriting and passion for the genre.