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Downspirit - Bulletproof? (Metalville Records)

By: David E. Gehlke

[6.5/10] Most metal dudes never quite get the chance to play the music they really want to hear. Once they're sucked into the vortex of having to write the same album over and over to appease their fanbase, they're essentially spent. Then again, if they did play what they really wanted to hear, could you imagine the audio carnage? And that's not a good form of carnage. One doesn't even want to ponder what goes through the minds of some of metal's deranged figures, so it's probably better to stick with the status quo. Who cares what these guys want anyway.

This relates to former Freedom Call/Symphorce guitarist Cedric "Cede" Dupont and his unabashed love for blues-based hard rock and metal. Downspirit is a means for him to escape the rigid and constrictive nature of the power metal scene by putting together a band that is light in the sonic loafers, just like many of the 80's hair bands were. With their sophomore album Bulletproof?, the Swiss-based troupe do exactly that, with some questionable, albeit expected pandering to the lowest common denominator. Translation: This has zero chance of gaining traction with the respective fanbases of Dupont's former bands.

To the matter at hand, Dupont and friends utilize repeated references to Black Label Society, which provides the necessary bottom-end to keep this thing into metal territory. Even Zakk Wylde's former Pride and Glory outfit gets nods on "Hellyeah" by way of banjo. Gee, someone likes Zakk Wylde. Beyond that, there's a considerable dearth of substance here, whether it's on the cheesy "Life After Her," meatheaded "Get the FucK Up," or worse yet, the typical salvo about a woman preventing a man from rocking song "Are You Proud." And let's forget the cover of Roxette's "The Look," which coincidentally was playing at the grocery store a few days ago when yours truly was on the hunt for Halloween candy. Great timing.

A band trying to get out of the metal umbrella such as Downspirit is more than likely never going to be able to. They're forever guilty by association alone, and while Bulletproof? has little redeeming qualities for this crowd, you'd have to think there are those belonging to that crowd who still enjoy featherweight hard rock songs such as this.



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