Artilery and their mixed legions

interview with artillery from denmark

Long serving Danish thrasher’s Artillery are about to unleash an amazing album of melodic thrash in the form of ‘Legions’ through their new record label Metal Blade. Artillery have had a couple of comeback’s in recent times, but their last two efforts ‘When Death Comes’ and ‘My Blood’ are really damn fine releases. Awash with ideas, a new album (which you can read about here) and a new line up, I got the opportunity to have words with Michael Stützer who is one of the founding members of this underrated thrash monster. 

‘Legions’ is a great release, how do you think it compares to your other material?
Thanks a lot, Paul. I think its natural development, a process we started when we released ‘When Death Comes’ by putting some new progressive elements in our thrashing style and at the same time it’s our closest record to ‘By Inheritance’!

You have a new line up, how did Josua Madsen and Michael Bastholm come to join Artillery?
It was very easy to get both Josua and Michael in the Artillery camp. We put an add on Facebook site for a new drummer and about 2 hours after that, we got a video with Josh playing the drums and we was never in doubt that he was the man.

We knew Michael from a local Mercyful fate/ King diamond coverband and were sure he could make it singing in Artillery. We played to local gigs with him and it went out amazing well and then he join for real!

Was it a case of auditioning for the role, or did you already have these musicians in mind before recording ‘Legions’?
We knew already a short time after we recorded ‘My Blood’ that both Søren and Carsten would leave, so we had good time to see who would fit for Artillery! So we only got one drummer who auditioned before Josh and we already had Michael in our thoughts, so it was really easy to get our 2 new members. Even so, it’s always hard to change members, we were very lucky this time getting 2 so dedicated members so easy!

What were the reasons for the previous members leaving the group?
Carsten wanted to go back to his punk roots and is now playing with our roadie Martin. We still share rehearsal room together and are still friends!

Søren wanted to be a part of a lot of projects and some more hard rocking bands so I guess he got tired of singing thrash metal. So it was best for all parts to get some new and dedicated members in Artillery then!

Thinking of the different line up, has this changed your song writing process at all?
The basic song writing has not really changed so much, normally Morten (Guitar, ex-Bass) or myself comes with the riffs and we build it up from there, but of course the 2 new guys and Peter (bass) come in with their inputs and of course Michael with the lyrics!

You have had pretty vivid artwork for most of your releases, ‘Legions’ is very much darker in perception, what are your thoughts on ‘Legions’ artwork?
In fact we had a very different cover in mind at first, but we ended up with the one we used and I think it suited the music very well. The cover was made by a guy called Mircea who used to play guitar in Mnemic.

‘Legions’ has a little more flavour, more influences than some of your previous work, what was the inspiration to include such different sounds and ideas on an Artillery album?
We always try to progress, but still keep our roots in melodic thrash for our music. And with a new drummer and singer we added some progressive elements; we still have the same inspirations as usual!

The production is once again great, have you found your home with Søren as a producer?
Yeah, we really like working with Søren who besides being a great producer and musician, is also a great guy who really enjoys producing Artillery! So recording at Medley Studio with Søren is always a pleasure!

What do you feel Søren adds to Artillery’s music?
He has a great ear for harmonies both in the guitar and vocals department. He knows what guitar sound we want and also have a lot of good ideas for the songs!

What is your standard studio set up, are there any special amp/guitar configurations that help to produce this great sound?
We always use our Marshall amps for the guitar parts JCM 800 for the rhythm parts and JCM 2000 for the solos and the clean guitar. The pedals we use are Ibanez Tube Screamer and Morley Wah Wah!

You must be pretty happy with the Metal Blade connection, how do you feel being part of a label that has such fantastic metal music heritage?
Yes we are very proud to be on Metal Blade who has put out the first Metallica song, the 2 first Slayer and Trouble albums and being on the same label as Mercyful fate/ King Diamond is cool!
We can already see that Metal Blade has giving Artillery a big boost.

Do you have any plans for further European dates and would that include say the UK and Ireland this time?
One thing is for sure, we will do anything to come to UK and Ireland this time, because we have never played there. We hope to do a European tour again around May and hopefully this will bring us to UK Etc. We are already confirmed to play festivals like Metal Days!

I see you are going to Mexico and South America next year with Onslaught, what are your expectations for this? This will be your second tour of parts of this continent, what experience from the last tour will you take with you in the future?
It is so great to play in South America that you cannot imagine. The crowd is so much on and know every single note or words you are playing / Singing and support the band so much. We can wait to go back!

You have progressed to a great high standard with your last three albums and even going as far as back as well… ‘B.A.C.K.’, but in your words why should fans of "Fear of Tomorrow" or "Terrorsquad" listen to the Artillery in 2013 and beyond? To me it’s great to hear bands constantly moving forward than being stuck in the past!
Yeah, that’s the funny thing because except for a few critics, people who like ‘Fear of Tomorrow’, ‘Terror Squad’ and ‘By Inheritance’ like our new efforts as well and I know fans of ‘When Death Comes’ also go back and gets copies of our older albums. When we play live we always mixed the shows with both old and new songs and it really makes us glad to see people singing with us in both old and new songs! We are very grateful about that!

In Summary, what can Artillery fans expect from ‘Legions’? Do you have a message for your fans?
‘Legions’ is dedicated to all the melodic thrasher out there who are supporting and have previously supported Artillery through all those years! We hope you will like ‘Legions’ and will support us all the way!

Thank you so much for your time, I wish you well with ‘Legions’, it is a great album and a great testament for Artillery!
Thanks a lot Paul, hope to see you some time in UK in the near future.
Interviewer: twansibon
Nov 30, 2013

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