Bullet: Enduringly Anthemic Affairs

By Keith Carman

In these overly politically-correct times, it’s hard to find bands who live and die by the rock ‘n’ roll trilogy. The days of wanton personal and environmental—as in, what’s around them, not the ecosystem—abuse are almost gone. Sure, there are many who try to convey the image set forth by tireless gods but upon hearing most acts’ limp-wristed din, it’s obvious they know the bottom of a whiskey bottle about as well as they can recite the Australian national anthem.

That said, Swedish quintet Bullet is one of the chosen few. Raunchy and rudimentary, lewd and lascivious, latest effort Highway Pirates (Black Lodge) is the sort of affair Bon Scott himself would have been proud to call his own even this late—no pun intended—in the game. Yet how does a collection of Swedes muster up such musical muscle? By sticking to the aforementioned laws: sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

“(Our goal is) to take over the world, to party a lot and to meet good looking girls,” declares vocalist Hell Hofner about the troupe’s modus operandi. “We were concerned that metal would die if no-one started a good band which didn’t exist in Sweden in the late ’90s…we are a hardworking band and we have been so from the start. We put our hearts and souls and all our money into the band and hopefully that shows. I think we also we got a lot of good people helping us out as well.”

Rounded out by guitarists Hampus Klang and Erik Almström, bassist Adam Hector and drummer Gustav Hjortsjö, Bullet is the kind of band who didn’t realize the heyday of blending ’70s fuzz with ’80s hair, leather and denim have long since gone. Nor do they care. Embedded in their footloose and fancy free ways of singing the praises of pelvic grind, alcohol-fuelled frenzy and a general sense of hard driving and harder partying, these boys make the efforts of acts such as Airbourne et al seem, well, effortless.

“That’s what we like to do as much as possible,” Hofner laughs. “We are all into motorcycles and veteran cars and when not doing that we like to drink a lot of beer. A lot of inspiration comes from, that’s right, America. Easy Rider, The Warriors, stuff like that, and a lot of great bands of course.”

To that extent, Hofner asserts that while they have a great time, neither Bullet nor the music is play is anywhere near a laughing matter, as the band worked diligently to ensure Highway Pirates remains an enduringly anthemic affair. Their efforts have proven worthwhile though, as the band’s virulently upbeat drive and unending vitality courses throughout its duration.

“We are getting old and discovered our parents music containing all these great great sounding blues and rock n’ roll bands and maybe that starts to sneak it’s way into Bullet. We’re thinking more about getting a ‘groove’ rather then thinking about playing as fast as possible,” he chuckles about the album’s influence, adding that Highway Pirates truly is the epitome of blood, sweat and tears.

“We have been laughed at, spit at and celebrated as well. I think with three records with good sounding heavy metal shows that we are serious with the music and it’s not a joke for us, though. We like to joke and fool around for sure but we never fool around with the music we play because we love this music…Hopefully we deliver a show good enough so people can let some steam out and forget about their everyday problems. I would like for them to leave Bullet with a smile on their face thinking that rock music is still fun and not boring or sad or negative.”

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.