If you want to understand how Swedish metal act Bullet works, you only have to take one look at the ancient tour bus that the five musicians have been conquering the world with for years. The black, white and red 1964 Volvo B63508, lovingly referred to as the “Bullet Bus”, with its indestructible six-cylinder engine and countless miles under its frayed seats, the band’s mobile hotel. Mind you: perhaps hotel isn’t quite the operative word, (youth) hostel would be more to the point, the van’s interior having accumulated an attractive odour composed of petrol, sweat, beer and a diverse range of tobacco blends in its interior. “In the years that we’ve been travelling from show to show in our van and have visited countless festivals, our Bullet Bus has never let us down,” guitarist Hampus Klang phrases a kind of declaration of love to the vintage vehicle that features on the cover of the group’s latest album Dust To Gold for a good reason. “The Volvo has more than earned its place on the front cover, because in its own way it’s just like we are: hard as nails, resilient and full of priceless memories.”
The Bullet Bus as a synonym for a band philosophy that could hardly be more compelling. Bullet from Växjö have been on the metal scene since 2001, released five excellent studio albums to date, toured most European countries several times, opened for AC/DC in front of 55,000 people in 2009 and played some of Europe’s most prestigious festivals, such as Rock Am Ring, Graspop, Sweden Rock, Rock Hard, Keep It True, Headbangers Open Air and Wacken (twice!). The band has eaten dirt in the true sense of the word and transformed it into musical gold, as their programmatic album title hints. “Our new songs are about life on the road, about freedom, adventure and the endless fun that passionate metal bands have,” Hampus Klang explains. Their love of their lives as musicians oozes from every single note, be it the fast-paced opener ´Speed And Attack` in classic NWOBHM style, the powerful singalong anthem ´Fuel The Fire` or the cool, grooving midtempo track ´Wildfire` that AC/DC couldn’t have done better.
Apropos: “The heroes of our teenage years were AC/DC, Judas Priest, Saxon, Accept, Rose Tattoo and Motörhead,” reveals Hampus, who founded Bullet together with vocalist Hell Hofers (“the guy has a heart as big as his gut”), drummer Gustav Hjortsjö (“our red-haired Viking from the North”) and guitarist Alexander Lyrbo (“when he sees a Marshall amp his knees starts to shake and he has to turn it up to at least 11”). A new addition to the fold is bassist Gustav Hector, cousin of erstwhile band member Adam Hector and according to Hampus “our party animal and gourmet”. This line-up has come up not only with typical metal numbers like the first single release ´Ain`t Enough` but also pretty unusual compositions such as the title track. Hampus: “We’ve tried for a long time to make a song in a Heaven and Hell kind of vibe and this time we really made it. It’s turned out to be a mighty and epic anthem.”
Dust To Gold was mixed and produced from August to December 2017 at the Pama Studios in Torsås, Sweden, by Bullet and Mankan Sedenberg, who consciously used an analogue tape machine to give the recording a warm sound. Hampus is extremely happy with the result: “We spent much more time on the songwriting than we did with previous albums. The whole production took a bit longer this time but we think it was worth it. We wanted an album where every song is a great one, totally without fillers. We also worked hard to make the sound as honest and authentic as possible and it sounds a lot more like we do live.”
Which takes us to touring and consequently the Bullet Bus: Following their gig at the 2013 Wacken Open Air, German police stopped the vintage vehicle, banning the band from driving on with the words “This is no longer roadworthy!” Without hesitation, Bullet fans collected more than 2,000 euros to help the band pay the fine and have the van towed to the Danish border so they could travel on to their gig in Sweden the day after. And so Hampus Klang & Co. are on the road again with their overhauled Volvo, all ready to spread – with the help of their trusted wheels – the Dust To Gold songs to the four corners of the earth.