Two years ago I bought Full Pull from Swedish metallers BULLET, and I was less than impressed. I felt like I was listening to a hybrid of AC/DC and ACCEPT with a dash of JUDAS PRIEST thrown in for good measure. Now that may sound like a recipe for success but believe me it felt tired and just the same thing over and over again. Also, the vocals of Hell Hofer were really tough to get used to. People either love him or hate him, and I can see both sides of that particular fence. And yet, I kept seeing my colleagues all raving about this band so I thought, “Am I just jaded? Is it me?” Well their new album Storm of Blades recently arrived in my mail, so I figured that would be the perfect opportunity to find the answer to this burning question.
I gotta say, these guys really take some getting used to, but once you do they’re not half bad. They’re not great, but they’re not god-awful, either. Upon my first listen “Hawk Eyes”, “This One’s For You”, and “It’s On” were the tracks that jumped out at me for their driving riff-rockin’ feel and catchy choruses. Let’s face it; no one’s reinventing the wheel here, OK? But the song structure of “This One’s For You’ especially had me saying, “Waitaminnit…these guys can actually write some good metal tunes when they want to!” Unfortunately this sentiment did not carry over into “Hammer Down”, a definite album throwaway, or “Tornado” a song whose music is clichéd as its title. Calgon, take me away!!
After an intro the title track kicks the record off in high-speed fashion but once again it’s just OK, not great. “Riding High” is infinitely better though, and even has some shades of early SCORPIONS in the guitars, courtesy of Hampus Klang and Alexander Lyrbo. The duo also put forth some killer solos on this song, making it arguably the album’s best cut. The tail end of the disc looks like it’s going to be promising, starting with “Run With the Hunted” another speedster that would be my second favorite here. However, the preceding track “Crossfire” is pretty generic and boring, and closer “Coming in Loud” isn’t much better. Think of your favorite ice cream shop only serving Vanilla and that’s what you get with these two.
Look, I wanted to love BULLET, I really did. And they seem like nice guys, but this music has been done to death a thousand times before and there really isn’t anything that makes this group stand out from the pack. This album is a marked improvement over Full Pull yes, but overall the band is still lacking, so the answer to the question is, “No. It’s not just me.” Storm of Blades comes out January 20 via Metalville Records.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Riding High”, “Run With the Hunted”, “This One’s For You”