Bullet – Dust to Gold (SPV)

Wednesday, 18th April 2018
Rating: 8/10

Certain bands subscribe to an early philosophy of ‘don’t rock the boat’ when it comes to establishing their style and continuing forward. In the case of Swedish band Bullet, their street level heavy metal with hard rock accents has stayed the course since their inception in 2001 – moving up the label ranks from Black Lodge to Nuclear Blast and now SPV, with Dust to Gold their sixth full-length and first in four years. You won’t get whirlwind technical activities or epic arrangements here – the songs are lean, mean, and focused on hammering home hooks that marry everything from AC/DC and Accept to Judas Priest as far as approach and finesse.

It’s hard not to notice the gravelly, whiskey-soaked melodies from Dag Hell Hofer – ripping through material like “One More Round” and “Speed and Attack” with all the attitude and bombast that make Brian Johnson, Udo Dirkschneider and Dan McCafferty (Nazareth) iconic in their own regard. When 75% of the material doesn’t even clip the four-minute mark, you know that this quintet subscribes to three-four chord constructs and simplified, shout-along choruses that make “Rogue Solider” and “Screams in the Night” two mandatory headbangers that all audiences can champion. The synchronized snare hits against driving riffs during “Hollow Grounds” also elevates bodies and blood flow, one that assuredly would not have been out of sorts during the Breaker period of Accept. The only seemingly left field offering concludes the record, at 5:32 the title track features an opening instrumental passage that is in that Sabbath/Dio-era mold. Check out the axe parts from Hampus Klang and Alexander Lybro setting the stage in mid-tempo class with twin accents popping in and out, plus a thoughtful lead break that has a touch of Queensrÿche edge to its twists and turns.

Survey says that if you’ve already been indoctrinated into the Bullet fold, this album will continue your affinity for the group. To those that haven’t checked them out as of yet, this is a good start for down-to-earth, beer-swilling metal that makes you feel better all the way.

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