Bulldozer - Unexpected Fate
Scarlet Records
Thrash
10 songs (36'57")
Release year: 2009
Scarlet Records
Reviewed by Alex

Italians Bulldozer have been at it, with stops and starts, for almost quarter century now, but for me they are a new name, no legacies or prejudices attached. In as much as Unexpected Fate is a comeback after 20 years of virtual absence, for me it could have been a debut. With a name like Bulldozer and having “thrash” advertised as a genre of choice I honestly expected some modern overproduced booming affair, but instead the Italians stayed contemporary only as far as sound quality and technical skill are concerned, while their inspiration is rooted in some tight European thrash of years passed.

Whether the theme was some inquisition procession or not, the cover art may suggest that it was, the opening title track simply explodes in your face with some fiery and technical riffing. Lead piercing this fabric with almost uncalled for distortion, I originally felt that the rest of the track had its sound a bit too dense on the bottom, not letting the grinding guitar to fully shine through. Multiple listens to the whole album got me used to this dense and muffled sound after all, so I could fully let go and let this battering ram of an album apply its body blows track after track. Salvation for Sale mid-song slides into a tight death march whereas the lead torques its speed further up. Buried Alive by Trash explores some swimming bass diversions, but is just as steady as the following headbanging The Counter-Crusade. Bastards is another piece of classic Euro-thrash, a little bit ominous, resonating, just like Sodom later albums, with the outro lead never ceasing to push the song into its fading end.

Just like Sodom and Kreator of late, Bulldozer do explore various angles with their songs. They are not only about the simplistic riffs and ripping your guts out. Use Your Brain has an interesting reverberating melodic guitar synth effect and Khachturyan-like sliding downshifting chords in its bridge and chorus. Micro VIP is even more melodic, its chorus plain catchy, and AC Wild is not afraid to try some clean singing where it actually does fit. The whole song is probably the most harmonic affair on Unexpected Fate. Closer In the Name starts out with a heavy traditional metal riffing, but then unveils some pressing dissonant, almost black metal atmosphere, something not present anywhere else on the album.

Speaking of vocals, maybe I am hearing things, but AC Wild did remind me of Joey Belladonna in spots, and modern sound or not, some riffs on Unexpected Fate brought back the memories of Anthrax’s Spreading the Disease and Among the Living. The fast characteristic phrasing in Salvation for Sale and especially the opening riff on Micro VIP almost had Efilnikufecin jumping to mind.

With their comeback Bulldozer managed to deliver a viable and vibrant album, something that keeps you on the edge of your seat for its short unassuming less than 40 minutes. Older dudes or not, the Italians music in 2011 is neither the stale moldy stuff of yore nor the overabused brutal fashionable screamo-bang. Entertaining and tongue-in-cheek at times, rough and bruising for the most of its duration, Unexpected Fate is well deserving of your time whether you are a new fan like me, and thrash isn’t even 100% my thing, or an old admirer wondering where the hell the band has been all these years.

Killing Songs :
Unexpected Fate, Use Your Brain, Micro VIP, Bastards
Alex quoted 85 / 100
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