Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Artillery: My Blood (2011)


Despite my not being a big fan of thrash, I named When Death Comes, from reunited Danish thrashers Artillery, as one of the best albums of 2009. It was packed with aggression and instrumental prowess, necessities to the genre, as well as catchy songs like "10,000 Devils" and "The End". So of course I got their followup, My Blood.

My BloodIt still sounds like Artillery, as you might expect, with very strong playing by all members and excellent, attitude-imbued singing. And the first few songs continue the trend of good songwriting. Open "Mi Sangre" starts with a Spanish lick before going into full-bore thrash, although it is a tad confusing when they go into an Arabic/Egyptian thing in the middle. "Monster" is generic but strong, and "Dark Days" is bouncy--with an incredibly catchy chorus.

But then things go downhill. The middle of the album is completely disposable cliche. "Death Is an Illusion" is a cliche song with cliche lyrics about choosing love, or some other garbage, and "Ain't Giving In" is the requisite "song with melodic verses and a hard chorus". They follow up the mellow track with an acoustic interlude, as if that's needed (you're supposed to put those between blistering assaults, not gentle caresses). After that point it gets slightly better, but it's too little, too late to save the album.

The deficient songwriting is compounded by over-loud production, adding to the sense they're just milking the cash cow at this point. It screams "Listen to me!" and they throw in some good tunes at the start. But then, nothing worthwhile.

The Verdict: Reunions can be pretty hit-and-miss. Ideas can percolate in the band members' heads for a decade or so, and the best stuff can come out to create a phenomenal album. But it's pretty rare that they're worth paying attention to after the first reunion album. Artillery falls neatly into that pattern. I give My Blood 3 out of 5 stars.

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