Sep 222023

Any year that sees the release of a new album by New Zealand’s Bulletbelt is a very good year, no matter how much shit is raining down around the rest of the calendar. At least that’s the conclusion you’d draw from all the many expressions of enthusiasm we’ve showered on the band at this site going back to 2014, when their second album Rise of the Banshee came out.

Now they’ve got another full-length, Burn It Up, which is officially being released today via Impaler Records. In many ways it’s surprising, as compared to what we’ve come to expect, due in part to the advent of a new Bulletbelt vocalist, whose talents have led to band to expand the influences of classic heavy metal, power metal, and rock in their songwriting.

On the other hand, the new album also includes songs that are more in line with the kind of verbiage we’ve used in the past (which included frequent comparative references to the band Midnight), words and phrases like “viscerally appealing”, “stunningly contagious”, “absolutely electrifying”, “hard-hitting”, and “anthemic”.

All of which is to say that Burn It Up is quite a varied album — and even more varied than the preceding paragraphs might lead you to expect. Vivid proof of that comes in the form of the frightening video we’re premiering today for the new album’s devastating fourth track, “No Afterlife“.

The song in the video is shaped like a bell curve, gradually building toward a crest of intensity and then falling away. But this isn’t a ringing bell of celebration. Of all the songs on the album it may be the deepest and darkest descent into grim and hopeless moods, an anthem still, but a wrenching one.

Bulletbelt‘s new frontman Diego Attinger has a strikingly varied voice, capable of sending his singing voice sky-high in ways that would appeal to fans of power metal and hard rock, as well as voicing less strident and more soulful choruses, but he’s equally capable of snarling and howling like an enraged beast with bloody fangs bared.

Atteiger doesn’t sing much on “No Afterlife“. That would have broken the mood, which is more in line with the gritty howls and roars we mainly hear from him this time.

As for the music, the pacing is slow and the music hallucinatory and harrowing. The rhythm section aren’t called upon to do anything fancy, but they hit hard, with primally gripping consequences. Reverberating guitars slowly shiver and throb, creating a sense of mystery, but as the song climbs its curve of intensity the guitars seem to squirm and scream, and the vocals elevate in shrieking and shattering ways as well.

On the downward slope of the song’s bell curve, as the music fades away, Bulletbelt end this one with a plaintive but beguiling piano melody (also performed by Diego Attinger), and it’s not the only time on the album that the piano appears.

The demented claymation-style video is the work of Charlie Jones. It’s more horrifying than the song itself, and perhaps for that reason, it makes listening to the music an even more intense experience.

Diego Attinger – Vocals and Piano
Josh O’Brien – Guitar
Tim Mekalick – Bass
Steve Francis – Drums
Isaac Johnston-Lundy – Guitar (Live)

Burn It Up was recorded in April 2022 at the Massey Studio in Wellington, and was co-produced by James Goldsmith (Beastwars, Mermaidens, etc). The album’s artwork was illustrated by Christchurch artist Jake Clark (a.k.a. Mr Wolf), accompanied by design and layout by Japanese designer Seiya Ogino of Ogino Design (MONO, Dark Funeral, Vomitory, Naglfar, etc).

Impaler Records is releasing the album on LP, CD, and Digital formats. A full stream premiered yesterday at Metal Sucks (here).

To support the album, Bulletbelt will soon be embarking on a EU/UK tour supporting the Brazilian band Semblant. For details about that, go to this location.

And finally, we’re also including previously released videos for the album’s first two singles, the epic “Arminius” and the moving ballad of “Cosmic“, which seems capable of dominating hard rock airwaves for a good long while.



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