In these days of uncertainty, with political instability, Brexit and jitters in the Middle East (again), it’s good to know that there are some things you can still rely on. And one of those is Bullet. The Swedish five-piece have been hammering out consistently excellent slabs of traditional heavy metal since their inception in 2001, and in that respect have carried on in the footsteps of their Teutonic namesakes who called it a day in 1986. And all that hard work has come together nicely with the release of the rather self-explanatory ‘Live’.

A traditional gatefold double live LP and CD, featuring eighteen high-octane metal monsters culled from the best of three shows, ‘Live’ showcases a band at the height of its powers. There’s no fillers, no fluff, just seventy-five or so minutes of the headbangiest, most rifftastic, chest-beating old school metal around, served up with all the enthusiasm the band – Hell Hofer (vocals), Alexander Lyrbo (guitars), Hampus Klang (guitars), Gustav Hector (bass), Gustav Hjortsjö (drums) – can muster.

There’s much to admire and nothing to dislike. Five cuts come from the band’s most recent studio album ‘Dust To Gold’ including opener ‘Speed And Attack’, the single ‘Fuel The Fire’ and the title cut itself, but otherwise ‘Live’ does a pretty good job of covering all the bases with all the aces. Trying to pick a favourite or two out of this treasure chest is a pointless exercise, although time and again I’m a sucker for the twin guitar break in ‘Rolling Home’, and ‘Rambling Man’ with its take-no-prisoners Accept-style stomp and “boogie-woogie” – Hofer’s words, not mine – shuffle does take some beating in the in-your-face stakes.

If you like Judas Priest (check out the ‘Heading Out To The Highway’ guitar solo homage in ‘Turn It Up Loud') or Dirkschneider’s boys at their prime-time Eighties’ best, and think that at least one guitarist in every band should wield a Flying V, that every song should be an anthem and that metal is truly forever, this album should be right up your street. So crank it up, fling back your head, throw up the horns and party like it’s 1984. Metal doesn’t get any better than this!

© John Tucker June 2019