By Inheritance

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Because the band risked experimenting with some bold new directions on 1990's By Inheritance, the album usually gets a bad rap from grumpy thrash purists and even some Artillery fans. But, with the benefit of hindsight, Artillery's third album frequently sounds like their finest hour, as much for boasting some of the most distinctive and imaginative songs of their career as for incorporating textural variety at a time when many of the Danish quintet's contemporaries were wallowing in stagnation. Clearly influenced by heavy metal tastemakers Metallica and Iron Maiden (in particular, their Egypt-themed Powerslave album) when recording By Inheritance, Artillery injected Eastern-flavored melodies into typically technical and muscular thrash offerings like "Khomaniac" and the title track, then looked no further than Roadrunner labelmates Annihilator for the melodic acumen achieved on "Bombfood" and "Back in the Trash." More traditional speed metal elements eventually surfaced on "Life in Bondage" and "Equal at First," but additional album standouts "Beneath the Clay (R.I.P.)" and "Don't Believe" (released as a single before the LP) continually inserted unprecedented doses of melody and contrasting softer passages with fantastic results, thus paving the way for a guilt-free cover of Nazareth's "Razamanaz" that sounded perfectly natural by the time it arrived. Unfortunately, these many qualities didn't succeed in converting staunch defenders of the thrash faith, and By Inheritance's troubled recording sessions even tore Artillery apart, reportedly requiring three separate mixes before vocalist Flemming Ronsdorf took charge of the process. Still, if time heals all wounds (Artillery briefly reunited a decade later), then there's hope that By Inheritance will also be given the re-evaluation it deserves.

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