Plying their trade for a dozen years or so, Coventry based Black Star Bullet (formerly Loophole) are another hard rock outfit raising the bar when it comes to unsigned bands in the UK. Their latest self-titled album has been a long-time coming since their name change in 2010 – with the whole album having to be re-recorded due to a ‘technical failure’.
Citing the likes of Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones and AC/DC as inspiration, from the very first track ‘In My Blood‘ you sense a tug of war between the British indie, US style punk and classic rock styles. Sure enough, there’s a range of influences on this album, such as Velvet Revolver on the excellent ‘8.50am‘ to more than a hint of Ramones on ‘This is Rock’n’Roll‘.
The gorgeous bass intro to second track ‘This is Rock’n’Roll‘ picks up the pace nicely kicking into a genuine ‘turn it up to eleven‘ riff which develops into a real anthemic track with classy solos aplenty. This is one of the standout tracks which compares to anything currently out there and deserves a far bigger audience than Black Star Bullet’s currently enjoy.
From a selfish point of view, I’m pleased to say that the rock element is the dominant force on this album, highlighted no better than by ‘Take it Back‘. Take for example the heaviest riff on the album, three minutes in, which will get any metal-head letting their hair down in appreciation. The attention to light and shade in this track shows a maturity and cleverness in the songwriting which is in evidence throughout this release.
Fourth track ‘Hate‘ is on the face of it a back-to-basics ‘I don’t give a shit‘ balls out rock track which could have been corny – but again the composition is superb – a hint of Motorhead will be enough for classic metal fans to cling to and post-grungers may reference Puddle of Mudd if only for the obvious lyrical content.
‘Energy Daze‘ takes a big dollop of Velvet Revolver’s Slither for it’s signature riff, but then goes on it’s own unique journey with another cracking example of pace changes, fitting vocals and a quality ending. ‘Online Lunch‘ could be a nod to Presidents of The USA – ‘You’re my friend, you are my food, my endless connection‘ – and after a few listens this is becoming one of my favourite tracks on the album.
The change of style is again noticeable in ‘The Game‘ a darker, heavier affair but the transition works with the consistent vocal style. After the infectious ‘The Only Answer‘ comes the surprise of the album – penultimate track ‘Fake‘. I wish I could nail down what the start of this song reminds me of, but it’s a compliment that I can’t and after a couple of listens I don’t care! A nice mid-paced laid back riff suddenly gives way to a glorious slice of Zakk Wylde style slide guitar exactly half way through, creating a track that demands listen after listen.
Closing with the excellent chilled out Puddle of Mudd-ish ‘Mistakes‘, this album is a definite grower. The vocal style won’t please everyone, but on the whole I say it fits, and having watched a Black Star Bullets live set on YouTube its a style that transfers well to a live setting.
With such a wide variety of rock influences this could have been a mess – but it isn’t – far from it, and as the second track says this (most definately) is Rock’n’Roll…
Black Start Bullet up next:
11th May with Captain Horizon, Internal Conflict and Salvation at the Asylum 2, Birmingham.
TBFM 4th Birthday Bash – 1st June – with Falling Red, Velvet Star, Blue Origin and The Glassguns @ Queens Hall, Nuneaton