Terror Squad

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Artillery's first album, 1985's Fear of Tomorrow, had already lost a little something in terms of wild spontaneity when compared to their heavily traded tape demos, but its 1987 successor, Terror Squad, though blessed with improved production, proved to be even more regimented and overwrought. Album opener "The Challenge" arguably qualified as the band's most memorable and (within reason) accessible composition yet, but the same standards were only occasionally replicated thereafter by portions of the title track and "Hunger and Greed." Otherwise, token new material like "In the Thrash," "Let There Be Sin," and "Therapy" found Artillery bogging down into convoluted arrangements, better suited to showcasing their instrumental technique (reminiscent of Exodus) than songwriting abilities. Add to this singer Flemming Ronsdorf's increasing propensity for crotch-squeezing falsettos (an almost inescapable habit of the '80s metal aesthetic) in place of his more distinctive growls, and the histrionics -- instrumental and vocal -- wind up overpowering the content. Thankfully, even when not at the top of their game, Artillery still possessed the instincts to keep their thrash more interesting than most (check out semi-epic "At War with Science" for a smorgasbord of riffs and the brilliantly titled "Decapitations of Deviants," with its amusing lyrics about "No time to relax in the grass"), and for this reason, Terror Squad kept most of their existing fan base satisfied.

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