It starts with a catchy riff that immediately brings to mind the opening section from ‘Hells Bells’. ‘Full Pull’ salutes those about to rock and before you know it ‘All Fired Up’ has you just that; fired up for the Växjö, Sweden quintet who are most definitely on their highway to hell.
To be fair, Bullet were heading to the top (every pun intended) back in 2004 when Hell Hofer (the evolutionary link between Bon Scott and Brian Johnson), Gustav Hjortsjö (drums) plus guitarists Hampus Klang and Erik Almström released their debut album. Their first album made the top 40 in the Swedish charts, saw them open for their Aussie idols and it’s been rumoured that the five Swedes (who at the time included bass player Lenny Blade) inspired a similarly-minded group of DC fanatics down under who formed a band called Airbourne.
But while Airbourne have been touring the world and touted by the likes of Lady Gaga as the greatest band out of Australia since Young, Young and co, Bullet have been quietly chugging along on the rock ‘n’ roll train. When Blade upped sticks and moved to Thailand, gun for hire Adam Hector was called in to man the four-string and the band bit the bullet with their second album in 2008 and found themselves in the midst of a heavy metal revival in their homeland. Opting to sound more traditionally hard rock than their brethren in Steelwing, Ghost or Portrait, Bullet have made the leap this year from local label Black Lodge to heavy metal powerhouse Nuclear Blast and the AC/DCisms pour out of their latest album ‘Full Pull’.
Not-so-new boy, Adam, is understandably relieved to have it ready to go, the band themselves raring to go full pull on this new chapter in the band’s career.
“We’ve had some free time since we finished the recording,” he explains. “It feel greats to be back on track now and we’re looking forward to starting again.”
Starting again is exactly what’s on the card for Bullet circa 2012. The band have kept a low profile since January, concentrating solely on the new record and taking some time out to recharge the engines. When asked if the move to a new label is like starting again, Adam insists that “because we switched labels and booking agencies it’s more of a new cycle this time. It feels good because Nuclear Blast have this big machinery that makes things happen like bang, bang, bang, in a way that we’re not used to. They can help us reach out to more people so I have a good feeling about it.”
Reaching out to new people is Bullet’s manifesto. Bar a short tour with Swedish glam rockers Hardcore Superstar and a London gig with Enforcer, Bullet have been surprisingly absent from the UK shores so getting back to Blighty is on their bucket list.
“It’s hard for us to break through. Of course we wanna come back to the UK but people keep telling us we need this and we need that and promo blah, blah, blah. Just bring us over and let us play,” Adam begs. “That’s what we wanna do. I really hope we can break some new ground with this new album.”
With ‘Full Pull’ flicking the switch (let us know if you tire of the ACDCisms) and pushing the band to the max, Bullet are primed to put hard rock back in the spotlight. “Live is where we wanna be, where we feel at home,” Adam tells us and he’s excited that the band will finally be back on the road towards the end of the year. However, there was one guaranteed live slot missing from their usual schedule this year. Back in 2009, when hard rock and heavy metal was on its way to a full-blown comeback, Bullet played a small festival in Tyrolen, Sweden alongside Ram, Enforcer, In Solitude, Helvetets Port, Graveyard, Witchcraft and visiting veterans such as Cauldron and the mighty Thor. The festival was Muskelrock and quickly became the go-to home for heavy metal maniacs. Set in an abandoned ’60s theme park, the festival was the brainchild of former Bullet tour manager Jacob Hector and four years on it’s a bonafide heavy metal haven. “I’m involved and Hampus is involved,” Adam says proudly when asked about his part in this most mighty of festivals. “Hampus is one of the owners of the park. Me and Gustav are mostly stage hands. We all work in the space with other concerts as well that have nothing to do with heavy metal and rock ‘n’ roll. During the summer the park has a lot of events but Muskelrock is obviously the best thing for us to work on.
“It was built in 1962,” he continues when asked about the unusual location. “It was a great place during that time, they had Bill Haley and all all these big performers during the ’60s, but when the ’70s came people stopped showing up so it kinda died and then it was abandoned. Three of my cousins and some friends, including Hampus saw an advert saying it was for sale so they brought it for a cheap amount of money and brought it alive again. It’s a cool place, we have nothing like it in Sweden anymore. Most of those places are abandoned or torn apart.”
If anything, what Bullet and their friends have achieved with Muskelrock is to build a community in Sweden that celebrates heavy metal culture. “I think it’s cool because for young bands, without a label or a booking agent, since it’s hard getting gigs these days. It’s great that you can see some of those bands on Muskelrock!”
However, when it comes to this so-called new wave of the new wave scene in Sweden, Adam is as tired of the phrase as the other bands lumped into the circus that surrounds the term.
“I’m not that involved in what others bands do really,” he sighs when asked if he’s worried about becoming pigeon-holed or touted as godfathers of the Swedish metal revival. “I listen to a bit to Enforcer and Portrait and I think they all make good records. I know Close Up Magazine did a feature on the new wave of Swedish metal and didn’t include us, only the younger bands like Enforcer and In Solitude, so maybe people don’t know where to put us. Maybe we’re not heavy metal, maybe we’re not rock ‘n’ roll. It’s not important for us.”
What is important to Bullet is that they’re having a laugh. When asked what drives them Adam answers; “having fun mainly, being able to go to new countries and do a live show and reach out to more people and have fun doing it. Of course, if we can make a buck living from playing in Bullet, that’s really, really great but if it starts to get boring and we don’t feel comfortable that’s when we quit. But for now we’re going full pull, maximum charge.”
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