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Bullet – Storm of Blades

About midway through my first listen of Bullet‘s Storm of Blades, I realized that it’s the kind of record that I wish Accept was making these days. Or remaking, possibly. Storm is very much indebted to Restless and Wild and Balls to the Wall. Indebted, but not a copy. I can hear the influences, but I don’t feel deja vu when I listen to Storm.

Seriously, we’ve had this kind of metal for about 35 years. In all that time, did no one stumble across the bouncing, chirping guitar lick that opens “Riding High”? Because that guitar lick is absurdly catchy. I played it for my best friend. He covered his face with his hands as if overwhelmed and through splayed fingers, muttered “Good…good lord. That is infectious.” And he’s right! I say this with no hyperbole: “Riding High”‘s opening is on the short list of music I’ve heard that is instantly memorable. The list includes things like the chorus to “Breaking the Law”, “Run to the Hills,” and the main riff in “Paranoid.”

Same thing with the AC/DC groove-shufflin’ main riff of “This One’s For You”. It’s too good not to have been claimed yet! Seriously, no one? Saxon? Trance? Heavy Load? …Bueller? If someone had played this record for me and told me that it was a remastered version of something that came out in 1986, I would’ve believed them. Then you realize it’s out on Nuclear Blast.

The vocals are the going to be the sticking point on this record. Dag Hell Hofer continues the Accept-isms by sounding like a near ringer for Udo circa the early eighties. And, well…there’s ugly, there’s Udo, and there’s Udo’s evil gremlin shriek. I love it. People in 1984 loved it. In 2014, I think it’s not going to be loved so much.

Get past the vocals though, or learn to love them, and Storm of Blades is just plain fun. It’s ten songs that sound like a Flying V through a Marshall stack. (Yes, I know, one of the dudes is playing a Firebird.) Do you like “Fast As A Shark” and “Starlight”? If yes, “Storm of Blades” and “It’s On” are your new jams. If you thought those songs were too fast and extreme, “Crossfire”, “Tornado,” “Coming In Loud,” and about half the record are your new jams instead. Retro-styled records aren’t supposed to be this good, but Storm of Blades is.

—Richard Street-Jammer

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