By Dr. Abner Mality

I've been following the career of Denmark's Artillery even before their first album, 1985's "Fear of Tomorrow" came out. That record and the follow-up "Terror Squad" are two of the absolute best European thrash albums of the 80's. Honestly, there's almost nothing of that band left now. The Artillery of 2013 is a completely different beast than the 80's band and I don't really feel it's an improvement.

"Legions" is their latest offering and its an example of shined-up, cleaned up melodic thrash for the new millenium. The murky rawness that made "Terror Squad" and "Fear of Tomorrow" so menacing is gone. If you liked the more precise and cleaner, but still biting, thrash metal of "By Inheritance" and their 2009 comeback "When Death Comes", this will be more to your liking.

I still miss the rough and rugged vocals of original singer Flemming Ronsdorf. For me, he will always be the voice of Artillery. But the band has chosen another path. Their replacement for Flemming, Soren Andersen, had a much more melodic voice that was tough for old fans to take. But Soren was capable of some anger at times. With Artillery's newest singer, Michael Bastholm Dahl, things have gone even further down the road of melody. This guy is a straight up power metal singer, with no rough edges at all. His range is excellent, but his pretty voice takes a certain edge off of these songs.

To be sure, the Stutzer Brothers and company are still awesome players and know a thing or two about thrash. Opening cut "Chill My Bones" opens with a Middle Eastern feel reminiscent of "Khomaniac" from "By Inheritance" and the song follows much in that vein. "Dies Irae" and "Anno Requiem" are two other highlights that show the boys can still scorch. But some tunes like "Wardrum Heartbeat" and the title track don't match with the best Artillery is capable of. It's just too "nice" sounding for long-time fans and also for modern fans of dirty thrash and death metal.

If this album was by anybody  but Artillery, I'd say it was pretty good. But frankly, I expected a bit more.