|Denmark's Artillery is easily appointed one of Europe's earliest exponents of thrash metal, and the band's contribution to the bourgeoning genre is difficult to ignore. The Danish quartet successfully managed to fuse an abrasive brutality with technicality and strong melodies, with the noteworthy guitar leads of the Stützer-brothers as well as the remarkable vocals from Flemming Rønsdorf serving as highlights.
Due to Artillery's demos being well distributed, the band gained worldwide recognition even before the release of their first official album; and band's studio albums all assume a position as classics in the thrash genre. However, due to lack of support from labels and internal band disputes, Artillery never really achieved their big breakthrough.
Artillery was formed in the Copenhagen suburb of Taastrup, Denmark in early 1982 by lead-guitarist Jørgen Sandau [former roadie of Mercyful Fate] and drummer Carsten N. Nielsen [ex The Mortuary] who joined forces with vocalist Per Willem Onink, lead-guitarist Michael Stützer [ex Silvercross/Unicorn/Voodoo/Devil's Symphony] and bassist Morten Stützer [ex Unicorn/Voodoo/Devil's Symphony].
In December 1982, the band cut the 4-track demo We Are the Dead and subsequently performed a few local gigs. The music was at time cut from a traditional metal template, quite similar to the one of Mercyful Fate.
However, around June 1983 Onink was asked to leave as Artillery was searching for a vocalist with a different type of voice, and around September 1983 Artillery duly employed vocalist Carsten Lohmann [ex Bang Blues Band]. At this time the music had turned much more raw and abrasive, purveying the direction which would later be entitled thrash metal.
In July 1984, Artillery entered Ole Erlings Lydstudio in order to record the 4-track demo Shellshock - and the final product was released in August, and in October 1984 the band recorded four new tracks for the demo Deeds of Darkness in the same studio. Things didn't work out with Lohmann, though, and Artillery began searching for a new frontman. The band in fact tried their luck with a female and two other guys; among them were Mickey Finn, who would later play an important role in the band's history.
Artillery eventually found the perfect member in Flemming Rønsdorf whose raunchy vocals provided the band with the right identity. Around this time, Sandau decided to assume a position as rhythm-guitarist, leaving it up to Michael to handle all leads.
In January 1985, Artillery entered the El Sound Studio, Copenhagen, Denmark and cut the demo Fear of Tomorrow with producer Freddie Wolf. The product was released in March. The band was likewise featured on the Speed Metal Hell compilation album with the song "Hey Woman" from that demo.
In May-July 1985, Artillery returned to the El Sound Studio, Copenhagen, Denmark, and this time with producers Nis Bogvad and Lars O. Christiansen, and the band subsequently recorded Fear of Tomorrow. Out on Neat Records, the album was met with rave reviews.
That summer, Artillery headlined a successful tour in Belgium and Holland and even played at the famed Dynamo Festival in Eindhoven, before indulging themselves in support slots for Slayer and King Diamond in the end of the year.
In September-October 1986, Artillery recorded Terror Squad [again in El Sound Studio], but the album was delayed beyond reason, and frustration within the band grew when tour offers, among others with Exodus, were turned down since the album wasn't released. Carsten N. Nielsen eventually lost faith in the band that played with drummer Henrik Quaade for three weeks. The increased tension, unfortunately, led to the split-up up of Artillery, and Morten Stützer and Quaade subsequently formed Furious Trauma. Michael Stützer formed Missing Link. In 1987, Neat finally released Terror Squad, and the album yielded critical acclaim.
In 1988, Artillery was offered to play at the Next Stop Soviet programme, being one of the first outside rock acts to perform in the Soviet Union, alongside fellow Danes Sort Sol. Consequently, Rönsdorf, the Stützer-brothers, Sandau and Nielsen began rehearsing for this task by playing live in their native Denmark but following a show in October Sandau decided to take his leave, for what reason Morten Stützer switched to the lead-guitar - the band was assisted for these slots by session-bassist Peter Thorslund [ex Apocalypse/Force Majeure]. Artillery performed five sold-out Russian gigs, but over-enthusiastic fans incited a vicious backlash from security forces and Artillery was properly banished as being a decadent influence.
In May 1989 Artillery employed bassist Michael 'Romchael' Rasmussen [ex Hatred] who was however by August given the red card due to his lack of enthusiasm. Thorslund subsequently became the new member of Artillery, while Rasmussen joined Furious Trauma. Later that year, the quartet entered Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen with producer Flemming Rasmussen [of Metallica fame] and recorded the 2-track demo Khomaniac.
In January/February 1990, Artillery recorded By Inheritance with Flemming Rasmussen in Sweet Silence. Out on Roadracer Records, the album yielded much attention from the press as well as fans of the genre. However, the release of the album lacked substantial support from the label, hence little touring and in August Michael Stützer left Artillery, reactivating Missing Link. Artillery thus continued with only one guitar player in the shape of Morten Stützer.
In September Rønsdorf likewise left Artillery to be replaced by John Mathiasen [ex Avalon]. In December Carsten N. Nielsen bowed out of Artillery as well, and the band thus contiued with guitarist Samir Belmaati [ex Furious Trauma] and drummer Henrik Quaade.
In June 1991, the band played a second time on the Roskilde Festival. In the end of 1991, Artillery cut the 4-track demo Mind Factory, which was never released. Benny Dallschmidt then replaced Quaade in the band.
In 1992, Mathiasen was substituted with Mickey Finn of the early audition, but the band eventually split up, and Morten Stützer, having his hands free, joined his brother Michael in Missing Link.
In 1998, the Danish label Mighty Music released the compilation Deadly Relics, which contained the band's demos, except We Are the Dead. At the same time, the Stützer-brothers and Rönsdorf reactivated Artillery as the musicians performed a show at a venue in Copenhagen with help from Peter Thorslund and drummer Sven Olsen [from Missing Link]. Support came courtesy of 4Q, featuring Jørgen Sandau and Carsten N. Nielsen. Artillery then chose to continue as a trio.
In July/August 1999, Artillery signed with Danish label Diehard Music; entering Starstruck Studio, the band recorded the Bo Lund-produced B.A.C.K. with former Invocator-drummer Per M. Jensen [ex Geronimo/Extreme Feedback]. Morten Stützer also took care of the bass. In August 1999, Artillery played at Wacken Open Air, Germany with help from Peter Thorslund and Per M. Jensen.
In November 2004, Artillery performed another local show with assistance from HateSphere's rhythm section, bass player Mikael Ehlert [ex Human Erupt] and drummer Anders Gyldenøhr [ex Pixie Killers/Grope].
In 2007, Metal Mind Productions issued the 4-CD box set Through the Years, including all four studio albums as well as demo material and rare leftovers. Limited to 2000 hand numbered copies, the albums were remastered on gold discs.
In late 2007, Michael and Morten Stützer reunited with Peter Thorslund and Carsten N. Nielsen, and since Flemming Rönsdorf remained uninterested in putting his strength into the band, Artillery finally recruited Søren 'Nico' Adamsen [ex Starrats/Crystal Eyes/Maladaptive/Twinspirits]. In 2008, the band began performing both national and international gigs, playing material from past albums.
On March 8th, 2008, Artillery recorded the live CD/DVD One Foot in the Grave, The Other One in the Trash at the MetalMania Festival in Katowice, Poland for Metal Mind Productions. Not long after that Artillery began playing new tracks live and announced their plans to record a new studio album.
In March/April 2009, Artillery recorded 13 tracks for the album When Death Comes at Medley Studios with producer Søren Andersen. The album was released on Metal Mind Productions in June.
2010 saw Artillery playing several festivals and venues in their native country as well as abroad, such as Rock Hard festival, and Bang Your Head. yielding continued appraisal for their latest album.
In the beginning of 2011, the band hit Medley Studios once again, to record their latest album My Blood which has later yielded many positive reviews, and some great reception upon live performances.
Also in 2011, the band played MTV's Headbanger's Ball Tour together with Hatesphere and Mercenary.
The band will hit the United States for the first time this year.