BULLET - Good, Old Fashioned Heavy Metal!
April 16, 2018, a year ago
Like a hot athletic prospect, rising quickly through the ranks, from independent league, to the farm system, breaking into the majors, ultimately becoming an All Star and/or Champion, Swedish metallers Bullet are on their third label, Dust To Gold (SPV/Steamhammer) being a banner album, boldly proclaiming their intention to be a global headliner. Paeans to Accept and AC/DC, yeah, the earlier releases were fun, but generally the province of the underground audience. However, the latest strives to go beyond the core fanbase, making them a household word (even casual metallic homes). In the glut of Internet postings, people wade through the sea, looking for great new bands and while not novices (albeit relatively unknown on these shores), when many hear "Bullet' they think of the shortened moniker of a young UK band, who sound nothing like these guys. "The only Bullet I’ve heard of, besides us, is the Germany metal band from the ‘80s," says Alex Lybro. "I believe we met the bass player a few years ago at a festival. Their album Execution is worth checking out!"
Lybro hopes to sheds some of their limelight on the new album and "introduce" the band to a wider group of listeners. "It was time for a change," the guitarist says of the move to SPV. "We met Olly (Hahn, label product manager) while we were on tour in Germany. We had some food and a few drinks, talked about music and we got along pretty well (the drinks might have helped, haha). We had common liking of bands and such and we really took a liking to Olly’s drive and passion. Steamhammer has been working their asses off for this album which I think it really deserves."
Agreed, but was it a conscious effort to hand their new label, a more concerted effort? "I think that we continued very much where we left off with Storm Of Blades, but this time, a bit more focused on the song writing plus that we didn’t rush anything. We had a lot of ideas, but we would put it aside if it wasn’t cutting from the get go or felt like it didn't fit with the rest of the songs. Me, Gustav Hjortsjö (drums) and Hampus Klang (guitar) did all the writing and our old bass player Adam Hector contributed with some lyrics on 'Forever Rise.'"
As he mentioned, Bullet has been on a big winning streak, especially over the last two albums. Maybe it's just a coincidence that it has happened since Gustav Hector joined, on bass. He might not look like the usual metal musician (the Napoleon Dynamite of metal, as well as singer Hell Hofer wear eyeglasses onstage), but obviously has changed the chemistry, for the better. With a laugh at my characterization, he says, "I’m sure Napoleon Dynamite has been a huge inspiration for him in every way. Gustav joined in 2017, after Adam left. It was sad loosing Adam but it felt like a perfect fit to get his cousin: a bit older, a bit wiser version of Adam, plus he’s has a lovely long moustache. Besides his incredible ability to cook a superb, tender lamb chop, he’s a really driven and enthusiastic guy. He’s got an entrepreneurial way of thinking that adds a lot to the mix. When Gustav joined, we focused on him learning all the songs, since we had a quite a few gigs coming up. Therefore there wasn’t that much time for him to be involved in the writing process for this one."
So what is it about Sweden? Why are there so many great metal bands, especially those, like yourselves, who have one ear attune to classic sounds? "I think that the main reasons are that there are quite a wide range of places to play at. Like government financed music schools to learn to play, and cheap rehearsal rooms with gears to borrow or rent that young kids can’t afford themselves." Lybro continues, "There isn’t that much to do, other than play hockey or music. It was like that when I was a young anyway. In general, I think a combination of this led to a lot of good bands from Sweden. But the main reason is that there are nine months of horribly cold weather here in Sweden, therefore you need some fun to get your mind off the boredom, and what else could you to turn to, but metal!" He describes the band sound as a "meat and potato-metal band. We haven’t really cared for trends, just to do what we love. And if we want something, which we often can’t afford, we’ll just (try) to build it ourselves or find another cheap option."
The spirit of the band is about fun and playing heavy metal music, which sometimes get lost over here. Bullet has found a sound/look and just do it. On this side of the pond, even in the metal community, critics seem to just want something new, progression, not the same album over and over again. "That’s sad to hear, man. It’s cool that some bands progress and do new stuff. However, I don’t think you have to reinvent yourself on every album to be relevant on the scene. Our approach is to make heavy metal that we all want to hear. You know, that album between Balls To The Wall and Metal Heart that you never heard. There has been plans about touring North America but they haven’t come to fruition yet." Fingers crossed! With a laugh, he finishes, "Would love to come over to you guys and play some non-modern, non-progressive metal!"
A glimpse into a few of the strongest songs on Dust To Gold, from one of its co-creators:
Fast pumping opener, "Speed And Attack": "I remember that we argued for month whether to call it 'Speed And Attack' or 'On The Attack'. 'On The Attack' made a little more sense, lyric-wise but 'Speed And Attack' sounded better singing. When you’re in doubt - always go for what sounds the best."
The impetus behind "Rogue Soldier": "We had a million versions of this song before it ended up like it did. A mutual friend of ours went to war a few years ago and when he came back he suffered from PTSD. He thought there were enemies hiding in the bushes and on the streets. He would carry a gun where ever he went, just in case. The lyrics sort of deals with that."
In my review, said video track "Fuel The Fire" is the best Accept song not written by anyone named Hoffman, Baltes or Dirkschneider. "(Laughs) have to agree! It has heavy riffs, great vocals by Hell and nice twin leads. This is my favourite track off of the album."
The double meaning "One More Round": A song in the vein of Killing Machine-era of Judas Priest. With a solo where parts are unabashedly stolen from 'Highway Star'. You should always steal from the best!"
Good music lasts forever, the next generation is here!