(We welcome back New Zealand writer Craig Hayes (Six Noises), who brings us this review of the new album by NZ’s Bulletbelt, which was released through Bandcamp just a few days ago.)
Nine Centuries is the latest hard-hitting release from New Zealand black/thrash metallers Bulletbelt. Much like their high-octane pals Midnight, Bulletbelt mine metal’s core aesthetics, and Nine Centuries duly features plenty of battle-vested and spiked-gauntleted oomph. Interestingly, though, the rip-roaring album is also somewhat bittersweet. Because Nine Centuries marks Bulletbelt’s final album with vocalist Jolene Tempest.
Tempest exited Bulletbelt late last year, along with guitarist Seth Jackson, and while singers come and go from bands all the time, Tempest’s leaving is certainly notable because her performance on Nine Centuries is so confident and impassioned. Tempest originally joined Bulletbelt not long before they recorded their second album, 2014’s Rise of the Banshee, and that release showcased the band’s burning ambitions like never before.