Review: “At The Gates Of Hell” by Bullet Ride

For some the journey down the left hand path is a simple one while for others it remains fraught with danger, perils and pitfalls seemingly at every fork in the road. French quintet Bullet Ride have picked themselves up and dusted themselves off more times than they care to remember over the eight long years it has taken to get a stable line up in place, build a sound of their own and write and record a debut album. But they’re here now, at the gates of hell and armed for the apocalypse with an record mixed by Pierre-Emmanuel Pelisson (Molly Hatchet, P. Campbell, Born Again) and prepared for war.

Comprised of members and former members of Methadol, Oblivion, Punishment Divine, Stormblast, Hyrgal, Otargos, After The Last Circle and Nemedian Chronicles to name but a few, Bullet Ride are an outfit of experience which goes a long way to telling you the kind of album that you’re going to get even before you take into account that these songs have been played live on multiple occasions over the better part of a decade. “At The Gates Of Hell” is an album forged in steel, refined in the fire and best served cold, while not without its fair share of surprises. While the band self describe as being “Thrash and Heavy” although before you think that means Traditional Metal elements, there is actually a lethal dose of Melodic Death Metal within the confines of the record and the first thing that springs to mind when listening to it on the first spin is the newer material from Arch Enemy. In vocalist Emmanuelle Dal Grande the band have someone with decent vocal range as she sings in English with French accenting adding a rustic charm. Her mid range cleans are solid but she is also capable of sinking into some guttural unclean brutality when she so desires and when she does during opening cut “World On Fire“, it elevates the cut by offering a real point of difference and her banshee like Death Metal roar in “Point Of No Return” is a double take moment. That cut also has a face melter of a solo from a band who offer a fresh interpretation of the sound that rose to prominence in the 80’s and is still as relevant today as it ever has been.

The ethic introduction of “Somewhere Else” is very Arabian Knights and offers no warning of the total annihilation to come as it bursts into Death Metal with blast beats, intricate fills, ripping leads and bloodcurdling unclean vocals of pure vitriol that make for not only a stand out cut but arguably the heaviest the band have to offer. Guitarists Alexandre Duffau and Philippe Hernandez are full of ideas and keep things fresh as each cut unfolds with enthralling and captivating lead work and mesmerising syncopated riffs delivered with style and grace with the band as collective feeding from each others strengths. The musicianship on show here is outstanding, the years of dedication that have been put into bringing this monster to life have been well spent and the results are there for all to see as each risk or experiment pays off handsomely. The gallop of “Eternity” makes the perfect backdrop for some fretboard smoking leads as if performed by a Power Metal band who have a love of Thrash before being brought together by Emmanuelle Dal Grande’s wonderful lyrics. Her storytelling is developed in the aching and introspective “All At Sea“, the tale of a broken relationship accompanied by some beautiful acoustic guitar work before the hammer drops. By far the most personal cut lyrically, the only flaw is that is perhaps doesn’t carry the weight of emotion that you might expect as she feels a little distant from it all in her vocal delivery, perhaps being a little reserved, but that is also part of the charm of the song. “At The Gates Of Hell” is a classic Metal album and if there is any justice in this World it should allow them the opportunity to share it with fans on some very large stages indeed [8/10]

Track listing

  1. World On Fire
  2. What Comes After
  3. Point Of No Return
  4. Somewhere Else
  5. Weather The Storm
  6. Naked Greed
  7. Eternity
  8. All At Sea
  9. Dead And Back
  10. At The Gates Of Hell

At The Gates Of Hell” by Bullet Ride is out 21st January 2021 via Music-Records

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