Coming straight outta Basingstoke, The Black Bullets are back with a brand spanking new physical release in the shape of the Welcome to Hellsville EP. Initially intended as an exclusive to soundtrack an accompanying art book by lead singer and resident madman Liar Billy T, demand has been high so the disc will get a limited run in its own right. Big sleazy smiles all round for fans of the band then, but you better be quick.
Welcome to Hellsville opens with Drag and from the off we’re straight into the riffage that’s more suited to cruising Sunset Strip than the M3. It’s all motorbikes revving over a tattoo machine buzzing as Carl D drives the band with drums that sound like they were recorded on the biggest rock kit in the world. With a chorus straight from the Zodiac Mindwarp school of filth, it’s a sucker punch of a start.
Mockingbird is a song that first aired some 7 months ago and it has echoes of a lost Faster Pussycat track. It’s no secret that Billy T is a massive Dogs D’Amour nut and the vocal rasp in the verse takes influence from the Wolverhampton ragtag Tyla. This is the real sound of sleaze rock which laughs in the face of Mötley Crüe and their live backing tracks. Lance Skybaby showcases some slick licks and you get the feeling his eyes are winking knowingly behind his gold Elvis shades. The six stringer also takes lead vocal duty on E.N.E.M.Y. It’s a double time speedball of wah-wah guitars caught in a hard rock blender with The Wildhearts’ Caffeine Bomb.
EP closer Dolls doffs a studded leather biker cap to, well, the New York Dolls. The track is a belter and features all the trademarks of deep down dirty rock ‘n’ roll. With a David Johansen whistle, some Johnny Thunders style hooks and a barroom shuffle bolstered by harmonica, you strut away with the chorus “woah-oh-oh” refrain as your new ear worm. Keep your eyes peeled for a video to accompany the track which is due to drop on 12th January 2018.
Those who have followed the band since year dot will know all about the line-up reshuffles, but looking into the future it’s clear that this incarnation is providing strong form. The addition of bassist Alice E. Atkinson has been something of a masterstroke and the word on the street is that the live shows just got a whole lot wilder with Alice bouncing off formidable frontman Billy T.
The Black Bullets provide the noise that Buckcherry should’ve delivered. Whilst their balls-out sound may be comfortable in dive bars with a bottle of Jack, it could easily translate to big arenas if only someone would take a punt on them with a big name tour support. Their sound is real, Billy T has seen it and lived it and the band’s integrity prevails because of it. This shit can easily be faked and parodied in the modern age, but The Black Bullets are living proof that shit-kicking rock ‘n’ roll still stands a chance against the safety of middle of the road classic rock pap. Ginge Knievil