Formed in 2008 under the name of DIRGE ETERNAL, SILVER BULLET started by carving its very own niche by basing their entire lyrics and sound on horror movies. This is how I encountered the band for the first time, as a support slot for KING COMPANY, the band's show started with a cheesy re-enactment of an eighties horror movie. I had never heard from the band at the time, but soon came to realize the band had tons of potential... Months later SILVER BULLET scored a record deal with REAPER ENTERTAINMENT, and they are now releasing a new album, called "Mooncult", a worthy successor in the same line of symphonic metal.
Different with their previous work, is that the album is loosely based on The North Berwick Witch trials. Before diving into the album, let's dive a dig a little deeper into the concept of the album. In 1590 a number of people from East Lothian, Scotland were accused of witchcraft in the St. Andrew's Ault Kirk in North Berwick. The trials lasted for two years and implicated in total over seventy people, being the first major witchcraft persecution in Scotland. The confessions were extracted by torture in the Old Tolbooth, Edinburgh. Very soon more than a hundred suspected witches in North Berwick were arrested, and many confessed under torture to having met with the Devil in the church at night, and devoted themselves to doing evil, including poisoning the King and other members of his household, and attempting to sink the King's ship.
The story being set in Medieval times, also means that the band took plenty of catholic influences in their symphonic orchestrations, such as Gregorian chants, chord progressions, dramatic choirs, neoclassical elements, and many more. This is immediately clear in the atmospheric instrumental opening track of the album "1590 Edinburgh", which then smoothly flows into the real opener of the album "She Holds The Greatest Promise". Immediately showcasing what is in store for us. Grande orchestrations, epic guitar riffs, melodies and solos, and hefty vocals.
The story feels like the main focus of the record, and that is clear by the fact that it often feels as if there are a lot of dialogues taking place in the songs, whether it's between the vocalist, and the choirs, or other characters introduced during the record, reminding me a bit of the structures of AYREON albums. "Forever Lost" feels like an instant classic heavy metal song (am I by the way the only one who is reminded of HEVISAURUS in here?). "Maiden, Mother and Crone" makes you feel like you are part of a cult, with a choir chanting to Hecate, and continues straight into a song that radiates evil, dark and heavy riffs, dramatic breaks, a narrator. This song has all the ingredients that are necessary in an epic song like this. "Light The Lanterns (Scavengers of Death)" is a haunting, slower song, that drives the album truly forward. By far the guitar melodies on this song are perhaps one of my favourite moments of the album. Make no mistake when you think that "The Witches Hammer" continues in the same style, it soon erupts into a heavy metal anthem.
If you think about how the story further develops, "Burn The Witch" should logically offer a breakpoint in the album. This is at least how I perceive it, the atmosphere changes a little bit as the story develops, and thus the song is followed by a less bombastic acoustic intermezzo "Purgatorius Ignis", which then transitions into "Eternity In Hell". For fans of neoclassical elements in metal, no worries, "Battle Of Shadows" is definitely drenched into these baroque-like elements. "Lady Of Lies" brings the story powerfully to an end.
Sound-wise think of the lovechild of BLIND GUARDIAN and ICED EARTH... (Well, actually that would be DEMONS & WIZARDS...) The album consists of influences from the symphonic side of a power metal act such as BLIND GUARDIAN, with the powerful grim, almost thrashy atmosphere of ICED EARTH embracing the dark riffs. Nonetheless, there are plenty of other influences that you might enjoy, such as early power metal and speed metal acts such as HELLOWEEN, and naturally heavy metal bands that heavily influenced the genre of power metal such as MANOWAR. In all its unity that's what SILVER BULLET basically sound like. The band has a very unique combination of different styles, but they make it work easily, with their own touch. This diversity in sounds and the variety of songs, is what makes this album an instant hit.
From the grande orchestrations, to the vocals, to the epic riffs, everything about this album showcases musicianship. The production of the album reminds me of early ICED EARTH, and balances between a big sound influenced by the symphonic elements and an edgy, raw side. It doesn't feel like it's overly polished, it comes across as quite natural, and is perhaps not perfect, but suits the record really well. The production only adds up to the dark and grim atmosphere this album highlights.
Keeping in mind that the band is not shy to do re-enactments on stage, I only have one advice left for you... Support the band by buying their album, merchandising, or donate them some money... I'd really like to see them burning witches on stage!
"Mooncult" is the historical horror movie we all want to watch. With its big catchy choruses, epic guitar solos and a massive amount of cliffhangers everywhere in between, SILVER BULLET manage to create an impressive and consistent story that will burn you from the inside out.
- 1590 Edinburgh (Intro)
- She Holds The Greatest Promise
- Forever Lost
- Maiden, Mother And Crone
- Light The Lanterns (Scavengers Of Death)
- The Witches Hammer
- The Chalice And The Blade
- Burn The Witch
- Purgatorius Ignis (Intro)
- Eternity In Hell
- Battle Of Shadows
- Lady Of Lies
Nils Nordling – vocals
Hannes Horma – guitars
Henri Asikainen – guitars
Ossi Elonen – bass
Patrik Albrecht – drums