Thursday, August 12, 2010

Artillery - By Inheritance

One of the better albums I've heard

And that is a massive understatement. Over the past few years, I have gone out of my way to discover as much metal as possible, and it has kind of become my goal. This is obvious to most metal fans, but my quest has consumed me. I want more metal! More thrash, death, black, stoner, doom, speed, traditional, folk, prog, whatever it be... I want... no.... I NEED metal.

You can make a safe assumption that I have heard a LOT of music in the last few years then. I have filled up my 30 gigabyte iPod on three separate occasions. There is simply so much music, and there is nothing to quell my obsession with metal. Now, through all this, there will obviously bands that I discover that will stick with me, while others I'll enjoy, but discard eventually. There are bands like Warmen are stunning on first listen, but fade away after a few spins. There are bands like High on Fire that aren't very intriguing at first, but end up kicking a ton of ass when given another chance. Then there are bands like Artillery that start out amazing and never fade.

Upon my first listen of the Dutch melodic, tech-thrashers' third album, By Inheritance, my brain melted a little bit. There are riff up the ass, around every corner, under every rock, behind every wall, and next to every toaster. The catchy yet menacing melodies lay on top of these copious riffs like a fat whore lies on top of the exhausted chump who just payed $20 for her. The opener 7:00 from Tashkent/Khomaniac starts off with a sitar sounding melody. It continues for a bit before exploding into a total, all out thrash attack. Beneath the Clay starts next, and it's one of the more fast paced numbers on here, starting off with a driving drum fill and tech thrash riffs (not tech thrash like Watchtower... but kind of like technical and difficult without the wacky bass countermelodies). The title track is another healthy slab of motherfucking metal, opening with the most metal acoustic line I've ever heard before, again, exploding into a total thrashsterpiece. The chorus will get stuck in your head, I guarantee it.

Then the two "semiballads" show up. First off is my personal favorite of the album, the epic Bombfood. Telling the story of a young man who dreams of joining the army, only to do so and be shipped off to war and realize what it is like under the glamor. Excellent melodies in this one and the coolest verse riff on the album. The vocals here are absolutely insane, soaring high over everything and really carrying the already awesome chorus into a different realm of badassery. The next one, Don't Believe, is amazing as well, but it seems to be very similar to the previous track. The only difference I can see is that it's shorter and has a bit more acousticism in it. Otherwise, the structures are very similar and the chorus riff is nearly identical. This, strangely, does not detract from the song at all, as it stands as one of my favorite songs that came out of 1990.

The next set of tracks seems to drag the album down just a teensy little bit, as while they are indeed destructive thrashers, they just don't seem to stand up to the beginning of the record. This is a common theme in metal albums that I'm frankly sick of. Please people, SOMEBODY make a record that is flawless from start to finish, I have yet to have heard one, hence why I have yet to (and possibly will not) ever give a perfect score here. I rate by judging each song individually on a scale of 1 - 10, then I average them into the score I end up giving the album as a whole. Not one album has been able to pull off a 100%, but I'm pulling for one.

So anyways, the album seems to stutter a bit until the very last track, Back in the Trash. This is a glorious return to form of the first half of the record. A nearly perfect blend of melody and thrash. I really want to hear more bands like this, because this is one of the coolest sounds in metal I've ever heard.

Overall the album ranks as one of the top tier early 90s thrash gems, but I think it suffered from a slight lack of ideas in the midsection. Because as cool as Life in Bondage and Equal at First are, I can never recall parts of them from memory like I can from the rest. The cover of Nazareth's Razamanaz is strange, but not necessarily bad. Hearing awesome thrash riffs and huge vocals in a song I never really liked is a cool experience, but I think there should've been another original song here, or they should've just left the album with eight tracks.

Recommended to anybody who enjoys thrash. WARNING: If you prefer your face to be bludgeoned off with a jackhammer, you might want to try their first two releases Fear of Tomorrow and Terror Squad. If you don't mind your face getting ripped off with a touch of finesse, then I highly recommend By Inheritance.

RATING - 94% 

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