So you’re looking for a bit of tasty rock & roll goodness, are ya? Well look no further than this latest LP from GUN BARREL, their sixth, and second with frontman Patrick Sühl. He’s known for his energy in the live setting but on Damage Dancer you can feel it coming off the disc as well. Quite frankly, the whole band sounds like they’re having a blast on the whole thing. Fist-pumping riffs, a sound hearkening back to the rock and metal of yesteryear, and some great hooks really make for a fun record that has been great for my drives to and from work this week.
After a brief intro the album opens with title track “Damage Dancer” and right outta the gate it’s like, “Oh, fuck yeah! Here’s what I was missing this week!” It’s got a driving riff and pretty fast groove to it. Next track “Bashing Thru” is another one of those songs that I can picture 14-year old me jamming out to in my room. It sounds like an amalgamation of DIO, WHITESNAKE, ACCEPT, and I loved every minute of it. The vintage sound continues with “Judgement Day”, Sühl’s vocals mirroring the guitar line on the choruses and the riff is green apple crisp and clear. My runaway favorite though is the slow and methodical grinder “Passion Rules”. Like a lot of these songs, there’s a throwback vibe and this one calls to mind JUDAS PRIEST when they were writing some of their best material, and that is 100% meant as a compliment.
“Building a Monster” and “Ride the Dragon” are two more fast-paced anthemic rockers and we get another slow potboiler in “Whiteout”, which was also a favorite. I swear the guitars on this record sound like they’re from another planet. Between Rolf Tanzius’ killer riffage and the outstanding production, I totally get why this band will have you air-jamming and pounding the steering wheel. And lemme tell you about “Back Alley Ruler”…if this fuckin’ tune doesn’t have you up and moving then check yourself into the morgue because you have no pulse and your heart stopped beating, my friend.
I know IRON SAVIOR’S Piet Sielck produced earlier records but production-wise a lot of these songs are firmly in his wheelhouse. I wonder if he was involved at all. The metal quotient is upped significantly with “Vultures Are Waiting” making it another standout and closer “Rise Up To the Storm” is the perfect way to end this great time of a record. Like I said before, Damage Dancer is deeply rooted in the heyday of hard rock and heavy metal and that suits me just fine. The album’s out now via Massacre Records. Check it out and let us know what you think!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Vultures Are Waiting”, “Passion Rules”, Bashing Thru”, “Damage Dancer”, “Whiteout”, “Back Alley Ruler”