Heavy Metal Bulldozer
RIP Records/Holycaust Records/Iron Pegasus Records
Close to 10 years after the release of Heavy Metal Chainsaw, Japan’s Metalucifer returns with their long awaited third full length album, Heavy Metal Bulldozer, this time featuring 2 different lineups – a Japanese lineup fronted by (who else/) Gezolucifer (also of Sabbat fame, if you were wondering why the familiarity) and a Teutonic lineup.
Metalucifer‘s goals since its humble beginnings was to show the world how heavy metal is to be played – complete with an almost obnoxious use of the term “heavy metal”, even in their song titles, but we’ll go into there later. The tribute and references to old school and classic heavy metal musicians are evident on the songwriting of the songs, ranging from Iron Maiden to Metallica.
On the English version (featuring the Japanese lineup), the first thing that the listener notices is the old school and raw production quality of the music. This is certainly the intended purpose of the band, not surprising since Gezol’s Sabbat more often than not features such production as well! The music and drums are hard hitting, instantly bringing to mind bands such as Manowar, such as on their Louder Than Hell record. The melodic riffs and harmonised twin guitar solos that are often utilised throughout the album reminds listeners of bands such as Iron Maiden. Songs such as the instrumental Heavy Metalucifer reminds listeners of Iron Maiden, with riffs that can sit comfortably in a Maiden record, and the chugga-chug riffs on Heavy Metal Demons reminds listeners of those of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Of course, what is a fun record without the extremely bad pronunciation of English by Gezol? Songs such as Heavy Metal Battleaxe are almost undecipherable unless one refers to the lyrics booklet. Not blaming them though since English is hardly their native language at all, and this just makes the record all the more interesting to listen to. However, this also leads to the ballad Heavy Metal Mountain to falter since the singalong parts are almost impossible to understand. Gezol also pushes his vocals to the limit, such as on Heavy Metal Warriors where he screams/almost struggles to hit the high notes, bringing out the “old school” feel even more without the additional layered vocal effects that bands tend to utilise nowadays. This does not mean that he is incapable of high notes, as evident on the ballad Heavy Metal Mountain and Heavy Metal Ambition where he belts out screams power metal style.
The Teutonic lineup presents a different face of the same album, with mostly the same songs, minus Heavy Metal Mountain and the instrumental Heavy Metalucifer, replaced instead by the instrumental/interlude Force the Axe. The first thing that hits the listener is the crisp and modern production (vis-a-vis the more primitive style of the Japanese lineup) of the Teutonic version. The chunky riffs and the crisp tone of the toms all add up nicely, presenting the listener with a speed metal version of the original album. The polished production helps in making songs such as Heavy Metal Ambition and Heavy Metal Highway Rider make the listener feel as if he were riding a bike, enjoying the wind blowing through the hair. The guitar solos of Blumi (also of Metal Inquisitor fame) have a particularly Eastern flavour to them (think Marty Friedman‘s later solo works), suitable for the original songs written by Gezol. Also, unlike the gruff vocals of Gezol, Blumi’s vocals are reminiscent of fellow German power metal bands such as Gamma Ray‘s Kai Hansen, hitting the high notes with ease and unlike Gezol’s style of pushing the limits, Blumi chooses to lower the notes, such as on the chorus of Heavy Metal Warrior.
If one is able to ignore the extremely silly cover art of the Japanese lineup versions, both the Japanese and Teutonic lineup versions are certainly worth collecting, with each lineup presenting different styles of the same songs, displaying the ingenuity of Gezol’s songwriting. Recommended for fans of bands such as Iron Maiden and of course, Japan’s Sabbat.
Metalucifer on the internet: