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CD Review: Bullistic – Chronicles of Love & Hate

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Bullistic brings to mind memories of heavy rock. A sound that is inspired by the likes of Corrosion of Conformity, Pantera, Alice in Chains, and on back to the likes of Black Sabbath, their raw heaviness hits like a ton of bricks. It’s just too bad that the album isn’t quite as inspired as it aspires to be. There is a lot of talent that could develop into something great, but they aren’t quite ready yet.

While I don’t feel completely inspired after a few run throughs, I do think there is a lot of good that can be said about this quartet out of Virginia. For one thing, they don’t get caught in the mire of the hardcore scene, nor do they become trapped in the sludge of death metal. Rather, they are positioned in the sadly underused heavy hard rock sound.

You have no idea how refreshing it is to play a bands debut CD and not be greeted with a shrieking singer and guitar riffs that need the jaws of life to pull out and discern from the rest. The band is led by Doug Gibson, who has a good voice for this, a style that can do the doom thing or the anger thing with equal tenacity. Backing him up on guitar is Ed Savoy, delivering the slow and heavy riffs, getting the right mix of biker bar band and arena rock sounds.

This album is as raw as it comes. The production values are not the greatest, but the mix is great delivering an even balance between the instruments. Plus these guys have that sort of angst and energy not seen since the days of Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots, and some heavy riffs that Staind wish they still had. The closest act that I can think of to compare them to is Godsmack, but at this stage in their respective careers, Bullistic has a more genuine emotional backing.

There is an energy seething underneath the surface of this platter of anger. It is just waiting to boil over with explosive force, which is what I think their live shows must be like. As it is, this is the kind of album you just want to crank up and just rock out to until the neighbors complain. Forget the technical precision, or melodies that you like from other bands. Bullistic delivers raw aggression.

The album kicks you in the head right from the start with “Now & Forever.” An angry track which is sure to get the blood pumping. The energy doesn’t let up, it will put a sneer on your face and your fist in the air. The band dips well into Alice in Chains territory with the dark and moody “Eulogy.” The only real misstep comes when they do a cover of “Stuck in the Middle with You.” It just does not work in this combination of original sound with a little AIC and STP mixed in. Stick to the original stuff.

Bottomline. This could be a band to watch on the heavy rock front. They have the skills. I would like to see the sound get tightened up a bit, but they are definitely a breath of fresh air amidst corporate-driven rock. Looking for something a little rough around the edges to rock out to? Here it is.

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