Bullet – “Dust To Gold” (Steamhammer / SPV)
Any band, I mean any band, that has the guts to still be touring in a black, white and red 1964 Volvo tour bus has to worth a listen, and in Bullet’s case, no further invitation need be extended! With an interior to match their hellacious rock n roll lifestyle, not even an ‘unroadworthy’ ban by German Polizei could prevent Wacken fans help the band pay the fine so they could travel on to their next gig the day after! Formed in 2001, this Swedish band take the best from late 70s and early 80s hard rock and heavy metal to concoct their own catchy and lethal in the live setting music, setting fire to most European countries several times, and playing to some of Europe’s most prestigious festivals, such as Rock Am Ring, Graspop, Sweden Rock, Rock Hard, Keep It True, Headbangers Open Air and Wacken – twice! Opening for AC/DC in front of 55,000 people in 2009, expect to hear hard rock elements along with those more metallic tones of Iron Maiden, Accept and Judas Priest which older metallers like myself would draw blood for, along with the identifiable bullet belts, studded wristbands and leather jacket look. Led by their screaming man mountain founder Dag ‘Hell’ Hofer, this five piece mix gutsy riffing and spirited soloing along with wailing melodies and catchy licks through the bountiful twin axe attack of co founder Hampus Klang and Alexander Lyrbo. Backed by the red haired viking from the north drummer Gustav Hjortsjö, Bullet’s material has been honed on the road, not just by being a heavy duty touring band, but by living the life, such is the spirit in the 12 tracks on this 6th studio album. From the searing opener of ‘Speed And Attack’, it’s pretty clear that Bullet’s material is aimed at crowds – big crowds at that – as the catchy riffs tear into you as Hofer’s screams shred in before the blissful soloing finishes you off. Still, on ‘Forever Rise’ it’s the deep melodies and passionate guitar work that hook you in through a mix of Wolf Hoffmann, Angus Young and Glenn Tipton tones as the catchy chorus finishes you off while on ‘Hollow Ground’ the shouted out chorus will have you madly air punching and headbanging a plenty thanks to those amazing guitars once again leaping and pounding into you – awesome! Taking it right into Udo territory is the title track closer ‘Dust To Gold’ with its slower epic rocking showing the deep bass of new addition Gustav Hector, along Hofer’s mix of soulful tones and of course, off the scale screams – simply fantastic. Being true to their touring reputation, I’m sure it won’t be long before we’ll see these guys again and man, I can’t wait to hear this stuff live cos it sure is gold!