Review Summary: Back In Black version 1.0.1
The concept of using the influence of a superior artist’s work is not an uncommon theme in the world of contemporary music. As an ex-metal head turned electronic enthusiast, I understand this idea as plainly as anyone else. Yet, with certain musicians, the fine line between citing a band as an influence and borderline-creepy hero worship can be crossed. Bullet’s Highway Pirates is one of those albums.
A Sweedish heavy metal outfit, Bullet has one, and only one, influence: AC/DC. There certainly are worse bands to copy, as I myself am currently sitting in a bar, pretending to text, while listening to a band who primarily covers old (read: not good) Pantera and 90’s era Metallica. This recipe, i.e. one part AC/DC, another part AC/DC, and a sprinkle of (wait for it) Judas Priest, should spell disaster.
Yet, it doesn’t. It doesn’t really spell anything. You have heard this album before; you’ve heard its intros, its solos, its drum lines, and you might have heard the bass before if you have excellent headphones. Quite simply, you could spin Back In Black again and get the same feeling. At the same time, however, this isn’t exactly a negative either. Bullet shares their idol’s tendency for bombast and gigantic harmonized guitar leads. On the freeway, where I do most of my driving, this album is quite a lot of fun. Bullet, in a nutshell, attempts to recreate the feeling of 1980 and, unlike recent comedic gem Hot Tub Time Machine, remains stuck in the leather jacket rather than transcending it.
Initially hearing the title track, I went to my garage, looked for my gun, and went searching for the people responsible, Gran Torino style. Yet, after listening through the album at least twice (I’m not sure), the solos became more catchy. At certain points the bass popped its head through the mix. Then, a harmony would click, and the gigantic choruses would suddenly lead my head to bob. This is not a bad album. This isn’t a good album, either. This is a cleaner sounding Back In Black. Take with that what you will.