Updated: Aug 20, 2019
Release date: July 5, 2019
Format reviewed: (double) vinyl LP
It was about goddamn time a proper heavy metal double live album got released! As the time progressed, fewer and sparsely apart live albums graced the fans. Not all metal enthusiasts are content with live recordings. Personally, I prefer a solid recording of a band's most popular songs, in a live setting, rather than a "greatest hits/best of" compilation of studio tracks. And this is exactly what BULLET did on their recently released "Live". Recorded during the band's support tours for their "Storm of Blades" and "Dust to Gold" albums in 2017 and 2018, respectively, "Live" packs seventeen of BULLET's best songs to date, 76 minutes of live heavy metal.
BULLET, the brainchild of guitarist Hampus Klang and vocalist Hell Hofer, formed in Sweden in 2001. In the eighteen years that followed, the band released no fewer than six, well received, studio albums, building an impressive fan base throughout Europe and beyond. BULLET shared the stage with illustrious acts such as AC/DC and W.A.S.P. among others, continuing to perfect their live craft. This band is not timid on a large stage and makes all the necessary efforts to provide their audience with memorable events.
"Live" immediately grabs the listener. From the moment I've heard the pyrotechnic bombs going off as the band launched on the opening riff of "Storm of Blades", I knew that I'm in for a wild ride! Although recorded at different dates and venues, the entire set moves flawlessly from track to track, in perfect sequence. Besides the aforementioned audible pyrotechnics, all other elements of a quality and engaging live recording are present: crowd chants, echo and feedback, or the occasional song and band's introduction.
The anthem quality of the songs and their performance reminds of Judas Priest, Accept and AC/DC. And as these legendary bands, BULLET offers the aggressiveness (and harmony) of band's guitar duo (Hampus Klang is joined by Alexander Lyrbo, band's 2nd guitarist since 2013), each properly riffing and soloing on the Right and the Left channel, Gustav Hjortsjö's precise and dynamic drumming, and (the band's newest member) Gustav Hector's galloping bass lines. Add Hell Hofer's menacing vocals to the mix and a perfect live recording is crafted.
Obviously BULLET didn't invent heavy metal. And that's perfectly fine. However, this band deserves to be commended for recording and putting out a brilliant double live album, in 2019, entirely relying on a rather impressive catalog. A live recording that begs to be played loud and it's sure to incite singing along the choruses and headbanging to its cadence. With "Live", BULLET joins the ranks of Judas Priest, UFO, Scorpions, AC/DC, Saxon and Iron Maiden, in the heavy metal double live albums patrimonium. Utterly recommended!
Listen to the entire live album on Spotify.
© 2019 by Emil Chiru