When Death Comes

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Underrated Danish thrashers Artillery have made an impressive comeback on this disc, their first studio release since 1999's B.A.C.K. They've obviously got lots of support from their label, Metal Mind -- the band's entire prior discography was collected in a 2007 box set, Through the Years, which also included tons of bonus tracks. On this disc, the band's core -- the guitar-playing Stytzer brothers, Michael and Morten -- remain, but longtime vocalist Flemming Rönsdorf has been replaced by Søren Nico Adamsen, a change that had some of the band's longtime fans worried. Fortunately, he's a terrific addition to the group, a mid-range singer (neither a growler nor a Rob Halford-esque shrieker) who may remind some of former Anthrax vocalist Joey Belladonna, especially when the group's thrash riffing becomes particularly '80s-esque. Which it does quite a bit. Artillery is not a band that's changed with the times -- they're still doing exactly what they did at the beginning of their career. "Delusions of Grandeur" offers some variation from the band's head-down, high-speed riffing style, but even the acoustic guitar melody that dominates this song is fast and intricate. "Not a Nightmare" starts off slow and doomy, but it's a bait-and-switch, as the pummeling begins soon enough. "Damned Religion" is another slow one, sounding almost like Heaven & Hell as Adamsen attempts Ronnie James Dio-esque bombast, with mixed results. One of the best things about When Death Comes, though, is the powerful production and mixing; every instrument is clear and thunderous, especially Peter Thorslund's bass. This is a quality disc recommended to any metalhead, not just thrash diehards.

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