Artillery – Penalty By Perception


As well-renowned as they have been over the years, Artillery only ever got suitable recognition for one album during their first decade as a group. That album was the unmistakeably game-changing “By Inheritance” record in 1988, an album which seemed to demonstrate Europe’s strong slew of thrash bands, which in turn counteracted the ongoing force of their American counterparts. That said, Artillery have proven time and again that they are underrated because of the high level of consistency shown with near enough every successive record. Their return to form in the 21st Century was thus much needed and gradually appreciated, and this year they have returned with a fierce new effort entitled “Penalty By Perception”, surely the best of the new batch of releases over the last two decades or so.


If anything, Artillery demonstrate that they can mask age with undeniable youthful exuberance. The songwriting on “Penalty By Perception” is every bit as creative and exciting as any of the band’s work three decades ago, and the same can be said for the fluent, consistent level of instrumentation from start to finish. Songs such as crunchy opener ‘In Defiance of Conformity’, ‘Live By the Scythe’ and the sole ballad that is ‘When the Magic is Gone’ all prove that Artillery’s collective songwriting talents are as versatile as they are persistent. In addition to this, the youthful exuberance is built upon furthermore thanks to vocalist Michael Bastholm Dahl’s mesmerizing input. On “Penalty By Perception” he seems to fully encapsulate the “You’re only as old as you feel” life ethic, and sounds so good because of that very attitude. His vocals are stunningly clean-sounding and even beat some of the newer thrash groups thanks to an unhampered, untouched production coursing throughout the record. Whilst the vocal work details less versatility than its instrumental counterpart, it’s yet another reason why “Penalty By Perception” is one of Artillery’s best albums.


That said, no-one who has listened to Artillery before can argue with the fact that instrumental technique has always been a positive boon in the band’s career. For one thing, “Penalty By Perception” proves the Stützer brothers are stunning when they work together. The twin lead guitar attacks during the intro of the title track, the groove-laden verse section of ‘Path of the Atheist’ and the menacing outro of ‘Rites of War’ are all delivered with energetic gusto, giving the listener the impression that there’s so much to enjoy here. The drum and bass work is indeed overshadowed as a result, but without their presence the rhythm section wouldn’t sound quite as tight and qualitative as it does here.


Put simply, Artillery have once again proved that they’re underrated in a sub-genre hampered by many copycats, and it’s because of their admirable work ethic that they manage to sound so fresh three decades after they were in their heyday. From start to finish, “Penalty By Perception” is not only one of Artillery’s career-defining moments, but also one of 2016’s most promising and finest thrash metal records.


Released: March 25th, 2016


  1. In Defiance Of Conformity
  2.  Live By The Scythe
  3. Penalty By Perception
  4. Mercy Of Ignorance
  5. Rites Of War
  6. Sin Of Innocence
  7. When The Magic Is Gone
  8. Cosmic Brain
  9. Deity Machine
  10. Path Of The Atheist
  11. Welcome To The Mind Factory



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