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Bulldozer - "Unexpected Fate (Special Edition)" (CD)

Bulldozer - "Unexpected Fate (Special Edition)" CD cover image

"Unexpected Fate (Special Edition)" track listing:

1. Unexpected Fate
2. Aces of Blasphemy
3. Salvation for Sale
4. Use Your Brain
5. Micro VIP
6. Bastards
7. Buried Alive by Trash
8. The Counter-Crusade
9. The Prediction
10. In the Name
11. IX-Desert (live)
12. Minkions (live)
13. Micro V.I.P. (live)
14. Willful Death (live)

Reviewed by on September 10, 2011

"'Unexpected Fate' doesn’t offer any disappointing modern-isms. Bulldozer picks up right where they left off. This is an album that could have been released in 1990."

The term “old school” has become cliché in this era of recycled sounds. Italy’s Bulldozer is one group truly deserving of this description. Starting in 1980, Bulldozer released a fistful of metal that any true thrasher would salute with horned-shaped hands. Following the course of many thrash bands from that era, the group split at the dawn of the ‘90s. In 2009, they returned with a new record, “Unexpected Fate.” Now, Scarlet Records has reissued their glorious return with live bonus tracks.

“Unexpected Fate” doesn’t offer any disappointing modern-isms. Bulldozer picks up right where they left off. This is an album that could have been released in 1990. At times, it resembles one of the gems from that era, Slayer’s “Seasons in the Abyss.” Songs such as “The Counter-Crusade,” “Salvation for Sale” and “Aces of Blasphemy” are straightforward, neck-wrecking thrash tunes. From the guitar tones to timing, these tracks follow the course taken by late ‘80s/early ‘90s thrash classics. “Salvation for Sale” models its opening riff after Slayer’s “Hallowed Point.”

At times, Bulldozer seems to be using a “Build It Yourself Slayer Model Kit,” which is a common course of action for European thrash bands, but Bulldozer is far from being a Slayer rip-off. A.C. Wild possesses a grittier, Max Cavalera-type vocal tone. Additionally, songs such as “Use Your Brain” and “Micro V.I.P.” contain infectious gang vocals that are more in-line with Nuclear Assault and Anthrax than Slayer. A crossing over to hardcore punk occurs on these tracks, which thoroughly works on the listener; I can’t get these tracks out of my memory!

At times, Bulldozer comes across as a black metal act. Early recordings featured a first-wave black/speed metal sound, but these tracks in question aren’t far removed from their present neighbors to the north. Ominous keys set the tone for “The Prediction” and the intro to the title track. The acoustic intro and medieval rhythms on “In the Name” would sit well next to Dissection or the epic side of Bathory. These ringing chord rhythms are suited best for swinging mugs in a mead hall celebration.

The guitar play of Ghiulz Borroni and Andy Panigada certainly stands on its own, but the group utilizes a number of guest musicians. I can’t tell who’s doing what without linear notes, but I would imagine some of the gonzo solos heard on this record come from either Panigada, Jennifer Batten, Kiko Loureiro, Olaf Thorsen or Andres Rain. The great Billy Sheehan plays a fitting solo, turning his bass into a million marching fire ants on “The Counter-Crusade.”

It is hard to gauge the overall value of a special edition re-issue without the physical product. Maybe there are pictures that raise the value of this edition. I’m not a big fan of live recordings and the bonus, live material found here elicits a lukewarm response. The group overlooks its early, British-inspired speed metal, in favor of late ‘80s output. Also, we don’t really need two versions of “Micro V.I.P.,” even if it is a great song. I guess, “Unexpected Fate” sold out and Scarlet figured it would add on to the re-issue. Whatever the case may be, “Unexpected Fate” is an album worthy of selling all of its copies!

Highs: Catchy riffs and vocal patterns

Lows: The bonus tracks don't add much to this re-issue.

Bottom line: Bulldozer's heavy metal machinery has enough horse power to push around most thrash bands.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)