Legions

  

Time for some quality European thrash metal on this fine Tuesday morning. Hailing from Taastrup, a suburb of Denmark’s capital city Copenhagen, is Artillery. 

Much like Death Angel yesterday they formed way back in 1982 with two brothers in the band – Michael Stützer on guitar and Morten on bass. The line up was completed with vocalist Per Onink, second guitarist Jørgen Sandau and Carsten Nielsen on the drum stool. 

By 1991 and after a trio of superb albums the band split, only to resurface seven years later for a fourth album. This stint only lasted until the millennium when another seven year hiatus was invoked – talk about the seven year itch! 

Since the latest reincarnation another four albums have surfaced with the latest output – Penalty by Perception – coming out early this year. Like so many bands from back in the day Artillery line ups haven’t been exactly stable apart from the Stützer’s. I make it fifteen extra people have been involved in the band at some point since 1982. 

Considering their love of the NWOBHM (their name is from a Tank track) and they were originally on a UK based label in the shape of Neat Records – once a home to Venom – it took them until 2014 to get over here.  

  

As with Exumer and Mortal Sin in the past I wasn’t expecting a visit any time soon so I took to the air and coincided a short break in Barcelona with the significant other just so I could see Artillery live at least once. They were on a Euro trek with Northern Ireland’s Gama Bomb, Torture Squad from Brazil and Norway’s Tantara. 

Fourteen months later the Dane’s were finally within the British Isles on a respectable seven date tour with Onslaught. Once again I coincided a birthday trip for my wife to Glasgow to catch the tour, then four days later on her actual birthday I made the short trip to Birmingham. Rather than sneakily arranging these trips it’d be so much easier if she liked more of my music, definitely more expensive though. Until I looked for the tour flyer I’d forgotten that Hatriot were going to be opening up proceedings, but Exodus sacked Rob Dukes and Steve Souza returned to his spiritual home. I would have liked to have seen Hatriot too. 

  

Neither of the turn outs at the two British shows I went to were overwhelmingly, but Artillery nailed it both nights and as much as I like Onslaught, they blew them off the stage twice. 

Here’s hoping that they take the plunge and slot in some more UK shows, but European club shows in 2017 would suffice. Manchester would suit me down to the ground, but I just get a buzz from attending shows in Holland and Germany. Then again if I had enough notice I’d be quite partial to a flying visit to Copenhagen again. 

No Presents For Christmas

Ah December is upon us. The season of joy to all men whilst wearing gaudy jumpers for the holiday season and being sociable to people you only ever seem to bump into around Christmas.


It’s the wife’s works Christmas party tomorrow so I suppose I’d better try and get into the spirit of things – with spirits will help of course. Here’s a delightful Yuletide ditty for anyone else getting ready for the festivities – even though for many Christmas will be celebrated a few days early inside the the numerous cinemas worldwide.

Danish vocalist Kim Bendix Petersen is better known by his alter ego King Diamond. King left (or temporarily disbanded) cult band Mercyful Fate in 1984 go solo with another two fifths of Mercyful Fate.

I can remember getting a copy of the bands sophomore album Abigail in 1987 or 1988 and being completely blown away by it. It was constantly in the ghetto blaster I “borrowed” from my sister and played the album relentlessly, even when I walked to my grandparents house and they only lived five doors up the street!!

King Diamond, the vocalist, is definitely a love / hate proposition. Most of his releases are concept albums weaving a tale about ghostly going ons. The Dane does all the parts and his falsetto vocals don’t appeal to some.

In the UK the band have been the antithesis of prolific, playing maybe half a dozen shows here in their three decade career. They headlined Friday night at 2013’s Bloodstock Festival and it remains one of my highlights from the history of the festival and I’ve been to every single one since its inception in 2003, so that’s a fair few bands to overhaul to reach the top of the pile. Musically the band were spot on, the stage show was there and King carried off all the vocal parts to perfection and for an outdoor festival the sound into the crowd was perfect and all the intricacies performed by the band were audible. My best friend isn’t a fan and he still rates it highly as one of the festivals best performances.

I already have a ticket for their show in London next June and hopefully I’ll be in the crowd at Hellfest.

No Presents For Christmas was King Diamond’s first solo release in 1985 as a 12″ single and actually released on December 25th. There’s no video made for this track and the live fan videos don’t do the song justice.