CD Reviews

Bullet - 'The Entrance To Hell' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 20, 2011    
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In storage for 40 years, the songs see the light of day for the first time.

When guitarist/vocalist John Du Cann and drummer Paul Hammond were unceremoniously sacked from Atomic Rooster (despite the fact that Du Cann had written the bulk of their previous album), the pair went on to form the band Bullet with bassist John Gustafson. Only after the trio had spent some time recording material for their debut album, which was to be released on Purple Records, was it discovered that there was already a US band also called Bullet, causing a swift rethink. The name Hard Stuff was settled on and while some of the Bullet material was re-recorded for their debut album, Hard Stuff set about writing new songs and the Bullet sessions quickly became forgotten.

Forgotten maybe, but not lost, with Du Cann keeping the recordings in storage for 40 years with them now seeing the light of day for the first time. The seventeen songs here (although 'Door Opens' and 'Door Slams' clocking in at twelve seconds combined are exactly what their titles suggest!) represent an excellent snapshot of what still makes 70's rock as captivating now as it was back then, combining a more guitar based mixture of Uriah Heep, Captain Beyond and unsurprisingly Atomic Rooster. Rough, brash and full of vigour, these energetic songs suggest that had Bullet been allowed to mature, then they were certainly good enough to make a lasting impression on the scene. Du Cann is both a charismatic vocalist and a fine guitarist whose talents seem to have been forgotten over the years, but his solid, fiery fret work is certainly worthy of attention, as he brings a huge amount of emotion and energy to these tracks. That's not to underplay the contributions of Gustafson or Hammond, with both allowed the freedom to stamp their own personalities on the music, which they do with serious intent.

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Take your pick from 'The Soul That I Had', 'No Witch At All' or 'Sinister Minister' for great examples of the bluesy groove that Bullet created. It would however be unfair to suggest that they were a one trick pony, with the urgency of 'Millionaire' bringing out a heavier side to the trio, while 'Monster In Paradise', which was co-written by Gustafson with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover (Gustafson later went on to join the Ian Gillan Band), having a slow steady stomp that, as you would expect, sounds like a rougher Deep Purple.

As always from Angel Air Records, the liner notes are well worth reading, covering everything from Du Cann and Hammond's time in Atomic Rooster, right through to what happened after Bullet and everything in between, which adds to the historical value of the disc.

'The Entrance To Hell' doesn't quite hit the standard that suggests that Bullet were ready to spar with the big boys of seventies rock, but as a starting point it does show that they weren't too far away and it's a shame that they didn't stick around longer.

Steven Reid

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