“The Face of Fear”

by Dr. Abner Mality

My old friends Artillery are back in action with a new offering of technical melodic thrash metal. The Danes have had a special place in my heart since their very first effort “Fear of Tomorrow” way back in the mid-80’s. The modern version of the band is a completely different beast these days and I have to admit, their last effort “Penalty of Perception” seemed kind of tired and by the numbers.

“The Face of Fear” is a bit better in the anger and energy department, but not really matching the best the band is capable of. They seem to be rigidly fixed into their current style and it gives their recent record, released like clockwork every 2 years, a kind of mechanical feeling. The title track, for example, is very much a standard “modern” Artillery track complete with the standard power metal vocals of Michael Bastholm Dahl. Just too “regular” sounding to excite the earholes…

The album does make a steady improvement as it goes along and the guitar work of the Stutzer brothers is always something to enjoy. “Through The Ages of Atrocity” and “Thirst For The Worst” are 2 good tracks with some bite and speed to them. “Pain” drops the intensity with a kind of power metallish ballad, but final “official” track “Preaching To The Converted” is a bracing sprint to the finish. There’s re-recorded versions of past tracks included as a bonus.

“The Face of Fear” is 21st century Artillery to a tee….nothing bad about it, but nothing remarkable either. And this was a band that used to amaze.