Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Artillery - Fear of Tomorrow [1985]

If you take a look at the year of release for this record, then you understand that the thrash subgenre had not even yet entered its prime, so when some relatively unknown act (globally speaking) coming from Denmark hit the scene with their debut full-length “Fear of Tomorrow,” I’m sure not many people expected to hear something this terrific. Sure, this record isn’t usually referred to when people talk about their favorite Artillery album and it's never a common one thrown around in thrash circles when talking about "greatest thrash albums ever," but that does not take away just how well this album came out and how it is looked at now. This band is typically revered by fans around the world because of their masterful ability to weave in technical excellence with a thrashing energy and mentality, but on this album, it’s pretty much non-stop thrash mayhem. 

Before Artillery was making a name for themselves with the Stutzer brothers’ incredible fret work, they were smashing skulls with upbeat and fast riffs that were more akin to the bay area bands than the Germanic beasts in Europe. The opening track “Time Has Come” starts with an acoustic piece before it escalates to a track full of fury and shredding solos. “Out of the Sky” and “Fear of Tomorrow” are two of Artillery’s most thrashing onslaughts, with fast riffs that rip past the listener as well as stomping and crushing midpaced ones, battering drums, and Flemming Ronsdorf’s unique vocal delivery. Ronsdorf’s vocals are definitely reminiscent of vocalists from the USPM scene, where over the top vocals are commonplace, but unlike a majority of the power metal frontmen, Ronsdorf also possessed a real gruff edge to his voice that reminds me of Paul Baloff or Bobby “Blitz” during this time period. 

In addition to some catchy riffs and charismatic vocals, Artillery also provided a good deal of variety that other thrash acts at the time didn’t have. Germany had bestial thrashers in Kreator and Sodom, but songs like “King, Thy Name Is Slayer” and “Deeds of Darkness” provided plenty of head banging moments while also captivating listeners with top-notch solos and fantastic songwriting. One of the band’s most classic songs also makes this album a must listen, as “The Eternal War” has more than enough spectacular qualities than many a thrash band’s albums do, including some incredible riffs, bass lines and brilliant vocal passages. “Fear of Tomorrow” is an absolute classic, yet Artillery would still go on to top themselves and permanently stamp their name on the thrash genre. 

“Out of the Sky”
“The Eternal War”
“Fear of Tomorrow”

Final Rating
Awesome [8.9/10]