Denmark's Artillery were one of the many quality European thrash metal bands that never seemed to catch a break. Formed in 1982 in the Copenhagen suburb of Taastrup by brothers Michael (guitar) and Morten Stytzer (bass), Artillery recorded demos that quickly became a hot commodity on the heavy metal tape-trading circuit. Then a booming worldwide network, this important underground community was also responsible for launching the careers of eventual giants like Metallica and Anthrax, who may have otherwise been doomed to obscurity. In Artillery's case, replacing original singer Carsten Lohmann with Flemming Ronsdorf proved to be the catalyst they needed, as the latter's very distinctive vocals (alternately gruff and piercing +á la compatriot King Diamond) helped them to stand out from the pack. Rounded out by guitarist Jorgen Sandau and drummer Carston Nielson, the band soon inked a deal with British metal label Neat, which issued an influential couple of albums in 1985's Fear of Tomorrow and 1987's Terror Squad. All the while, the group toured throughout Europe on many package metal bills, including a lengthy jaunt sponsored by the Danish government that took them to the far reaches of the Soviet Union. Understandably, Artillery went down a storm with the rock-starved Soviet kids, but authorities were less impressed, eventually sending them packing by way of one-way tickets on the Trans-Siberian Railroad.
Guitarist Sandau quit shortly after their return and the band set about looking for a new deal with anyone but the troubled Neat Records, eventually signing with Roadrunner, for whom they recorded 1990's ambitious By Inheritance in an attempt to break away from thrash metal's increasingly confined boundaries. New bassist Peter Thorslund was brought aboard at this time so that Morten Stytzer could switch to guitar, but with inner-band tensions escalating by the day, Artillery eventually split the following year. Little was heard from the band's alumni for the next decade, but when their influential early demos were packaged for release on 1998's Deadly Relics, Ronsdorf and the Stytzer brothers decided to attempt a comeback. Drafting drummer Per M. Jensen (later of the Haunted), Artillery returned in 1999 with the appropriately named B.A.C.K. LP, which -- modern studio techniques aside -- remained true to the technical thrash sound of their early days. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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