Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gun Barrel-Brace For Impact

Massacre Records

This might be the fifth album for Germany's Gun Barrel, but (in all honest) I'm not even remotely familiar with the band. After reading up on the band (and looking over their discography online) I sort of wish I would have had a chance to get to know them before now. While the band is often described as "dirty rock 'n rollers" (Gun Barrel call it "Power dive rock 'n' metal" themselves) it is a bit more complicated than that. Alright, complicated is not the best way to describe the world of Gun Barrel. Their sound is frankly simplistic and yet, like AC/DC (a band I'm fairly certain that this band is familiar with) the band plays in such a high energy and fun way that it is rarely boring. "Brace For Impact" is the first release from Gun Barrel to feature the vocal services of ex-CP24/ex-Pantaleon member Patrick Sühl. Not that it matters, but it is kind of interesting to note that Pantaleon's 2010 EP was titled "Inner Impact". Kind of interesting eh? Anyway, since I have not heard any of the band's other four releases it is kind of hard to tell if the change is for the better or not. For what it is worth he sounds good here. With Patrick you get vocals that remind you of simpler times. Think back to an age when singers were not trying out for Broadway, but rather they were just simple blokes with the time-tested, regular hard rock sound. Remember when the local heroes were the band down the road who, while working 9-5 jobs during the week, pulled off all the stops on Saturday night? Do you recall how they had that lead singer who sounded great, but he wasn't too slick or trying to hit all the high notes? In some ways he was the best part of the band. That could have been a guy like Patrick only with Gun Barrel he sounds about 10x better. The rest of the band are no slouches either. Gun Barrel is filled out by guitarist Rolf Tanzius (the only original member left), bassist Tomcat Kintgen and drummer Toni Pinciroli. The skills of guitarist Rolf Tanzius are another issue that needs to be addressed. While he never does anything overly technical he still keeps the other band members in check. His solos flat out rock and, backed by a tight rhythm section, give the album a nice little edge. Speaking of which, on "Brace For Impact" it is the overall production job that gives the album that extra edge. Interestingly enough the band took it upon themselves to handle the recording process. Afterwards they had it mixed by Yenz Leonhardt (Iron Savior, Savage Circus, Stormwarrior) and mastered by Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Jorn, TNT). Even if you had listened to this album without that knowledge (that it was self-produced) it would be hard to find any fault with the production. It fits the band's style to a tee. What is the sound like then if we know the style description? I'd say Gun Barrel fall somewhere between traditional/old-school heavy metal and crunchy power metal if it had been filtered through old fashioned rock and roll first. There is some obviously AC/DC and Motorhead worship going on. That by itself is fine and dandy, but toss in such diverse metal acts as Saxon, Running Wild, G'n'R, solo Ozzy, Railway, The Godz and Tank and the end result, while not groundbreaking, is certainly earth shaking! The cover artwork, which was done by Steve Santana (Harley Davidson, Powerwolf), is a good representation of the high energy, rocking metallic onslaught that awaits the listener. This is a fun album period. For that reason alone I highly recommend it. There is nothing fancy about it folks. With song titles like "Dancing On Torpedoes", "Diamond Bullets" and "Turbölence & Decadence" you should have an idea of what your in for before you even hit "play". The album simply has a comfortable feeling that reminds me of no-frills, no fuss true heavy metal.

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