Gun Barrel - Bombard your soul 3.5/5

Reviewed: 9-8-06





Tracklist:

1. Begging for awakening
2. Dear Mr. Devil
3. Down and dirty
4. Fearing the fear of my fears
5. The fallen one
6. Lights and shadows
7. Dive into the flame
8. Bombard your soul
9. Bloody pretender
10. On the road again
11. I'm alive
12. ...Is you


Gun Barrel are not your standard LMP band. Their CD covers and lyrics do not depict fantasy themes, and they do not perform European-styled power metal with torrents of double-bass drums, dizzying guitar arpeggios and epic song structures. Instead, the Cologne, Germany-based quartet have spent their 6-year, 3-CD career quietly carving out a personal sound and a unique niche that LMP classifies as "Power Rock'n'Roll". What does that mean? The sticker on the front of the CD likens Gun Barrel to (among others) Rose Tattoo and AC/DC, which are hardly staples in a power metal fan's daily diet. So what is this band all about? Why are they signed to the usually narrowly-focused LMP? And why is the Metal CD Ratings website giving them space with a full review? So many questions. Read on, gentle reader, and all will become clear.

To answer the most important question first, 'Bombard your soul' is unquestionably a heavy metal CD. For the most part, the AC/DC and Rose Tattoo bluesy-rock kind of comparisons are way off-base, although a single song ("On the road again") does recall the Aussies in the riffing department. A much more apt analogy would be to the likes of vintage Motorhead, Saxon, Unrest, or even Accept, all at their most anthemic. At times, the vocals bear a decided similarity to Biff Byford, albeit somewhat gruffer. Sure, there's a "rock'n'roll" element in the band's sound, reflected in the guitar tone and rough'n'tumble approach, but LMP's unwillingness to tag Gun Barrel with the metal label seems silly. Jeez, the title-track includes lyrics such as "guitars screaming loud / to the metal crowd" and "play it how we feel / with a heart of steel," culled straight from the Joey DeMaio hymnal. What could be more metal than that? Still, I think I understand LMP's point. There's nothing pompous, pretty, pretentious or melodramatic about Gun Barrel. Instead, the Cologne act specializes in a gritty, earthy, down'n'dirty attitude. The first lyrics on the CD say it best: "four ugly motherf***ers/pissing gasoline/sworn to rock'n'roll." What you see is what you get, folks. Listening to these songs, you can almost taste the stale whiskey, breathe in the cigarette smoke, and feel the grit under your fingernails. One might think this style would clash with Piet Sielck's trademark polished production job and characteristic choir vocal engineering, but it works wonderfully here.

To be sure, Gun Barrel's sound has evolved over time. While their first 2 CDs, 2001's 'Power-dive' and 2002's 'Battle-tested', were more like hard rock with metal elements, this one's more like metal with hard rock elements. More importantly, though, guitarist/mastermind Rolf Tanzius has achieved a massive breakthrough as a songwriter. Gun Barrel's earlier output had some solid songs interspersed with some clunkers, but 'Bombard your soul' shines from beginning to end, bursting at the seams with hook-laden, fist-in-the-air, heart-pumping, headbangable anthems. Only a hopeless killjoy or an irredeemable sourpuss could listen to tracks like "Dear Mr. Devil", "Dive into the flame", or "Lights and shadows" without breaking into a goofy grin and singing along, because they're just so much fun. I wouldn't want to listen to this style all the time, but as a palate-cleanser, or just a soundtrack for drinking some beers and raising some hell on a Friday night, 'Bombard your soul' is just about perfect.



KIT




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