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Gun Barrel - "Brace For Impact" (CD)

Gun Barrel - "Brace For Impact" CD cover image

"Brace For Impact" track listing:

1. No Survival On Arrival
2. Brace For Impact
3. Dancing On Torpedos
4. Books Of Life
5. Start A Riot
5. Stand Your Ground
7. Diamond Bullets
8. Might And Main
9. The Wild Hunt
10. Turbolence & Decadence
11. Big Taboo

Reviewed by on May 20, 2012

"'Brace For Impact' isn't just the title of Gun Barrel's latest album, it's also a warning that you're going to be blown back in your seat the moment you hit play."

It's a little hard to pin down where Gun Barrel lies on the metal spectrum. Sometimes, the band's raging along at Motorhead speed. Sometimes, it's full of blues boogie and teenage hormones a la AC/DC, and sometimes there are soaring choruses that will remind you of early-'80s Iron Maiden. The great thing, though, is that there are very few times where the band can't pull it off, resulting in an engaging album that feels much shorter than its 50-minute length.

Hailing for Germany, Gun Barrel bears a fair resemblance to their fellow Teutonic troublemakers in Accept on tracks like "The Wild Hunt" and the title track. Drummer Toni Pinciroli keeps the double-bass pounding, but adds a healthy dose of groove that prevents the two songs from going into full-on Motorhead territory. He's also quite potent on "The Big Taboo," which has an almost military march feel in some parts.

Guitarist Rolf Tanzius is hardly the most technical guitarist you'll hear, but his solos pack punch in a way that's reminiscent of the likes of Angus Young on the slower "Start A Riot" and Fast Eddie Clarke in the fretboard fury of "The Wild Hunt," which features one of the album's best riffs (the other is the AC/DC-style horny blues of "Dancing On Torpedos").

This is Gun Barrel's fifth album, but its first with singer Patrick Suhl, who blends in perfectly. Whether it's the near-growl of "Big Taboo" or the big chorus of "Books Of Life," which has a definite Iron Maiden feel, Suhl pulls it off well.

There are a couple lesser tracks on the album. "Might And Main" takes too long to get started and features a pretty generic riff. The slow "Turbolence & Decadence" aims for meaningful in the lyrics, but the music is far too plodding.

"Brace For Impact" isn't just the title of Gun Barrel's latest album, it's also a warning that you're going to be blown back in your seat the moment you hit play. Yeah, there are a couple tunes that contribute 10 minutes to the running time, but that's what the skip button is for.

Highs: "Books Of Life," "Dancing On Torpedos" and "The Wild Hunt."

Lows: "Might And Main" and "Turbolence & Decadence"

Bottom line: An mostly excellent album that straddles the line between groovy hard rock and full-on metallic assault.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)