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Bullet - Live

by Louise Brown at 30 July 2019, 11:47 AM

BULLET began its journey during the year 2001 in Växjö, Småland, Sweden. With its distinctly 1980s brand Heavy Metal and Hard Rock  the band has enjoyed a long career with many albums to its credit. The group's sound had been compared to many of the top bands from the heyday of Heavy Metal, including ACCEPT, MOTLEY CRUE, W.A.S.P., DEF LEPPARD, and SAXON. The album being reviewed today, "Live," was released earlier this year.
Unfortunately, I'm working with serious disadvantages this time around. I'm not familiar with the band at all (sorry) and I'm not exactly the biggest fan of live albums since they can either be great or awful, with very few exceptions in between. However, I'll do my best to keep an open mind.

"Uprising" get things started. It's a fairly quick track which gives the briefest indication of what the band sounds like in concert. Everything about it is pretty standard Heavy Metal, which in this case is a good thing since that is what BULLET appears to be all about. "Storm Of Blades" follows, bringing more classic Heavy Metal sound with it. I am immediately reminded of LIZZY BORDEN simply because the vocalist's voice reminds me of some of songs I heard by them many years ago. So far I'm enjoying the way BULLET sounds in concert. They keep the sound consistent and appear to enjoy playing before a live audience. Their fans obviously adore them based on the audio I've heard. It makes me wonder what the rest of the album will be like. "Riding High" has some nice opening guitar riffs, which definitely got the crowd fired up. The vocals still sound quite good on the track, too, with no signs of sounding strained or off-key. There are even a couple of good guitar solos which is something I always appreciate. What impresses me the most is how balanced the song sounds. Whoever mixed the track did an exceptional job on it, bringing out the best aspects of the track quite well. Then we have "Turn It Up Loud".  It's an '80s-style anthem designed specifically to make the fans go crazy whenever they hear it. I'm not really into it so much. The vocals sound harsh, the mix is off, and it's really repetitive, even for an anthem. After the first few tracks it's a disappointment. "Dusk Til Dawn" has a sound that reminds me of material by the band CINDERELLA. Unfortunately, the vocals sound even more strained on this one, which took a lot away from it. The music itself is decent, with a good Heavy Metal tone and sound. I can't take the song too seriously, though. It's an ode to rowdy behavior that just doesn't sound very convincing during this particular performance. On to "Dust To Gold," which doesn't have a promising start since the vocalist's voice breaks while introducing the song. (Ouch!) It's not quite as bad as I'd feared it could be, but I can hear the difference in the vocals all too clearly, making it a serious distraction from the rest of the track. It's really too bad because the music is pretty good. It's not a great song, but it's not completely awful either.

"Rambling Man" is somewhat more upbeat, with a more blues-based sound combined with straightforward Hard Rock. Once again CINDERELLA comes to mind as the song plays since it sounds like something from their "Long Cold Winter" album. The vocals have a better sound to them, but the timing within the track is off somehow. Things don't quite line up with each other sound wise, making it hard to simply enjoy the performance. "Bang Your Head" has some good intro music which gets you interested in the song. Unfortunately, the issue with vocal strain returns. It's so bad on the track that I almost can't bear to listen to it. It's frustrating, too, because I get the impression that the vocalist is ignoring the Golden Rule of singing which is "Sing from your gut, NOT your throat." You'd think a professional singer would know better, but a surprising number of them still choose to sing in a manner that damages their vocal cords over time. It makes no sense to me at all. "Hammer Down" is better, with singing that sounds less harsh and over-worked; I'm relieved. Although the song is a fairly typical Heavy Metal anthem I actually like it. It's a little simplistic, but the band puts their hearts into it as they play which is all that really matters in the end. I will give BULLET credit where credit is due, too; they really do play their hearts out no matter how they sound at times. I have to admire that. "Speed And Attack" is loud, aggressive and another great example of classic Heavy Metal. I can see why the band gets compared to SAXON because that's who they remind me of while the song plays. If you enjoy excellent guitar-playing then you'll like the track, too. It's great, no joke.

The rest of the album continues in much the same way, with some really good tracks and some others that aren't quite as good. I have to admit I'm not as into this genre as I was when I was younger. However, the guys in BULLET clearly love what they do and that counts for a lot. Even if their performances are not always perfect and the flaws are easy to find, it's their sincerity and passion for the music that they play which actually makes this a passable live album, making it neither great nor bad, but somewhere between the two. If you like the band, support them and buy the album. If you're not familiar with them, check out some of their recorded material first then make the decision. They might end up appealing to you after all.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

  1. Uprising
    2) Storm of Blades
    3) Riding High
    4) Turn It Up Loud
    5) Stay Wild
    6) Dust to Gold
    7) Rambling Man
    8) Bang Your Head
    9) Hammer Down
    10) Speed and Attack
    11) Aint Enough
    12) Rolling Home
    13) Heading for the Top
    14) Stay Wild Bullet
    15) Fuel the Fire
    16) Highway Love
    17) The Rebels Return
    18) Bite the Bullet

Dag Hell Hofer -  Vocals
Hampus Klang -  Guitar
Alexander Lyrbo -  Guitar
Gustav Hector -  Bass
Gustav Hjortsjö -  Drums

Record Label: Steamhammer


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