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Bunker 66 – Beyond The Help Of Prayers

Bunker 66
Beyond The Help Of Prayers
by Matt Bozenda at 13 May 2021, 11:28 AM

No one ever went broke tapping into nostalgic tastes. There’s a lot of appeal in the supply side of it, and why not? Figure out what has worked in the past and just do it again. It helps to add something to it, or to at least be competent at the work, if you want to remain in the fast lane of it. And you won’t find many lanes much faster than shredded asphalt of Black/Death Metal.

That crossover should be a no-brainer in the ancient Roman crossroads of Messina in Sicily’s east where the current lineup of BUNKER 66 has released "Beyond The Help Of Prayers", their second album together and the band’s fourth overall. Playing it old school since 2007, they seem to have found a successful niche in appealing to those Metalheads still hungry for the grandiose days of the 1980’s. Nevertheless, BUNKER 66 is still showing that they’re capable of the modern flair.

The gas pedal is pressed firmly down to start "To The Gates Of Death/Lair Of The Profaner" as the hot shot intro works into the rest of the song, and after a bit of exploring towards the end it snaps back into place to end spectacularly. "The Blackest Of Omens" follows that up with an affirmation of their place as a high caliber 80’s Black/Death throwback.

"The Rite Of The Goat" has a very Thrash mentality to it, almost Punk Rock even, while "Summon The Evil Lords" has a SLAYER-ish sort of feel to it, albeit with a bit more brain than heart. "At Our Master’s Behest" then reins in the growling vocals for a bit, adding what one can only assume is a bit of Power into the presentation.

A little bit of cowbell kicks off "Malicious… Seditious", and the song retains its cadence after the bell goes away, giving it an almost Southern Rock sort of vibe, more akin to the likes of NASHVILLE PUSSY. That’s followed by “Regret Every Breath”, so short it’s nearly an interlude and further into the Punk vein than before.

"Die On Monday" could surely live up to the name as a post-weekend aggression anthem. Finally, the title track "Beyond The Help Of Prayers", which is also the album’s longest at nearly four-forty, takes a different approach by slowing down, feeling rather a bit like Doom until it speeds up, coming back down to walk through the suddenly present finish line.

So does it even matter what gets said in the end? To anyone already in the know about BUNKER 66 it most certainly doesn’t; likewise, anyone searching for that classic evil sound from any era’s band can count themselves lucky if they get steered towards "Beyond The Help Of Prayers". If you think you’ll like it, then it seems inevitable.

Then again, that sort of in-bounds play could turn off the Metalhead who seeks difficult challenges from their headphones. This isn’t revolutionary material, and it salutes a flag without flying one. For good or ill, it is simply the hand they’ve been given, and as long as BUNKER 66 feels up to it, they’ve got an audience who will be there to listen.

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. To The Gates Of Death/Lair Of The Profaner
2. The Blackest Of Omens
3. The Rite Of The Goat
4. Summon The Evil Lords
5. At Our Master’s Behest
6. Malicious… Seditious
7. Regret Every Breath
8. Die On Monday
9. Beyond The Help Of Prayers
Lineup:
Damien Thorne – Bass/vocals
Dee Dee Altar – Drums
J.J. Priestkiller – Guitars
Record Label: Dying Victims Productions
     


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