Coming your way on September 5th is another slice of classic heavy metal from Sweden’s Bullet. Following on from 2012’s Full Pull, Storm of Blades is a hark back to the NWOBHM era. Only Swedish, obviously.
The band have aimed for this album to be heavier than the last one, but remember that they’re not a death or sludge act. Bullet are very much “classic metal” – I would say their sound is a mixture between Judas Priest at their best with vocals styled more like Brian Johnson. Some may call them “harsh” vocals, but given the style of music, that term just doesn’t work for me.
You get eleven tracks for your cash, though the first is an intro that only clocks in at a shade over a minute.
Things really launch with the title track, a fast tempo number which wouldn’t have been out of place on the aforementioned Priest’s Painkiller album. Bullet aren’t all about pure driving rhythm, though, and twin guitar work is shown off well on “Riding High”. Like many of the classic-era bands, Bullet have two lead guitarists rather a lead and a rhythm.
“Tornado” features a cracking heavy beat with a “fist-in-the-air” chant of the song’s title throughout. Very much more in the vein of AC/DC, this one, again with the quality guitar work in the breaks. If your toe isn’t tapping by the end of this one then you’re dead. Or may as well be. Incidentally, for some reason the intro makes me think of KISS‘ “Domino”. Is it just me?
“Hawk Eyes” is a faster track, the sort of thing that would fit on a “Great Motoring Tunes To Lose Your License To… Volume 3” kind of album. The first seven seconds of “This One’s For You” had my brain throwing “Breaking The Law” at me due to the rhythm and guitar tone, but it swiftly changes into a track that’s definitely more in keeping with Bullet’s own output!
I could go on with the other tracks, but the pattern’s pretty clear. Storm of Blades is a classic album in the classic mould. As such, it draws on a lot of quality metal from days gone by, perhaps to the point of being a little too familiar. But why not express your influences so much? The end result is an album that wouldn’t have been out of place on the shelves of HMV fifteen or twenty years ago… and I mean that in a good way.
It’s the type of metal that never ages, and it’s great to hear a band producing it in 2014. If someone like Priest or Maiden released something like this, they’d be called out for being unoriginal or stuck in a rut. They’ve been forced to change over the years. Which leaves the market wide open for bands like Bullet to release great albums like Storm of Blades which hark back to the halcyon days.