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Bulletbelt - Nine Centuries Award winner

Nine Centuries
by Kyle Scott at 13 February 2018, 4:11 PM

According to “BULLETBELT”, they’ve been striking fear into the heart of New Zealand since 2009. If their third album “Nine Centuries” has anything to say about that, it’s that they probably aren’t exaggerating. They’ve primarily toured around New Zealand and Australia, and had their music featured in the Metal comedy Deathgasm. From the get go, they have the air of a Punk band with a Thrash Metal vocalist, but they’re a Black Metal band. We’re treated to galloping riffs with bass-heavy undertones that thankfully don’t get crushed under the weight of the noise in “Nine Centuries”. I always appreciate a band that doesn’t carelessly drown out their bass tones.

BULLETBELT aren’t here to dick around after that first taste, they deliver another intense blow to your ears with “Cloak the Night” in which vocalist Jolene Tempest rises from the grave to spew vitriol-soaked lyrics. The only thing I appreciate more than good bass is a good female vocalist. Sure, Folk, Goth and Symphonic have a lot of frontwomen, but there aren’t nearly enough in genres like BULLETBELT’s. It’s a shame, considering female vocalists can do a heck of a lot in terms of imposing vocals for something like Black Metal, if not more than their male counterparts can. Tempest sure as hell proves that and then some. Tim Mekalick’s bass dominates the intro to “Dethrone” and after that, it’s just an avalanche of aggressive noise.  “Hypatia” has furious speed and lovely string undercurrents (strings are yet another thing I appreciate in Metal next to awesome frontwomen and good bass). “Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live” is a multi-layered track with half of it being instrumental. The song rounds out the album with a nice, Doomy finish.

BULLETBELT is a force of nature in the Metal scene. With aggro vocals and all-out, intense instrumentals, they have no doubt earned a formidable reputation in their home country as well as the genre itself.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Sacred Tongue
2. Nine Centuries
3. Cloak the Night
4. Haegtessa
5. Dethrone
6. Orpheus
7. Show Me Your Throat
8. Hypatia
9. Thou Shall Not Suffer A Witch to Live
Steve “Cleaver” Francis - Drums
Ross “Rots” Mallon - Guitar
Tim Mekalick - Bass
Jolene Tempest - Vocals
Viv Te Tau - Guitar
Record Label: Headless Horseman


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