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Philthy Motörocking Done Right - 80%

TheStormIRide, December 6th, 2017

Bunker 66 has been around for a decade now and is just now releasing their third full length album. The band had the same lineup since its inception, featuring Damien Thorne on bass and vocals, Dee Dee Altar on drums, and Bone Incinerator on guitars, that is until Bone Incinerator was replaced by former Schizo guitarist J.J. Priestkiller. This new lineup unleashed Chained Down in Dirt, a short and furiously fun album, through High Roller Records, in October of 2017.

The original trio released one hell of an album with 2014's Screaming Rock Believers, so I approached their newest effort with cautious optimism. The entire band was on fire with that album, doing their best impression of Motörhead meets Hellhammer, even if the album's production was remarkably dirty and muddy. Thankfully J.J. Priestkiller fits in quite nicely, perhaps even better than the original guitarist did. Chained Down in Dirt offers blackened, thrashing, speeding, heavy metal with a touch of punk rock attitude that does not let up at all. From the sleazy opening lick on “Satan's Countess” all the way through to the Hellhammer-esque rampage that is “Evil Wings”, Bunker 66 packs a walloping punch of rollicking old school metal. The riffing moves from feisty speed metal rhythms into primordial first wave pummeling into punkened crossover territory and back again while managing to sound smooth and unforced. Honestly, the riffs are delivered by the truckload, so have a shovel ready to dig your way through.

Chained Down in Dirt is the logical continuation of Bunker 66's sound. It embodies everything that the band has been delivering since their inception, just with a better production and a more straight to the point songwriting style. One of the most notable improvements are with the vocals, as Damien Thorne no longer sounds like garbled static, instead delivering a biting growl mixed with some punk-tinged clean vocal harmonies. The bass and percussion are pure speed metal Motörhead worship, making Lemmy and Philthy Phil immensely proud with rampant double kicks and rumbling bass runs. Really, the only complaint I have with this installment is the brevity: eight tracks clocking in around twenty-four minutes feels quite short for a full length. Regardless, fans of Whipstriker and Bulldozing Bastard should find plenty to enjoy here.

Chained down this album certainly is - 73%

tomcat_ha, December 6th, 2017

What is Motörbastard metal? Well the obvious clue is in the name. Motörhead is one of the main influences for this style of heavy metal. However bands that play Motörbastard metal do not copy Motörhead blindly. Instead they take the most dirty elements of later developments in heavy metal, a dose of D-beat and leave it out to rot in the sun for a while. The result is something very nasty sounding and surprisingly often quite good. Certainly has a higher average quality of bands than most other movements around in metal today. This is especially obvious when you compare the style to things like pizza thrash ugh.

Now of course I explain this because Bunker 66 play Motörbastard metal. Stylistically they refer a bit more to the 1st wave of black metal than usual. The legendary Bulldözer is a good point of reference, this is most likely not a coincidence as Bunker 66 are from Italy as well. The band also got ties to Schizo another legendary Italian band, two of the members played in that old band at some point. Lastly they also set themselves a little bit apart by having a bit more D-beat than what is usual for the niche to their sound. Not only is the drummer mostly playing D-beats, quite a few riffs sound somewhere in between Celtic Frost and Discharge or Anti Cimex. Of course the Teutonic thrash sound pops up as well but that is a given.

The band manages to rock out in this style quite successfully. The only clear weak point on this album are the clean vocals. When these cleans try to sing normally instead of trying to pull of a falsetto it just sounds a bit weak and off. The songs are stuck at the pretty fun level. There are no direct flaws in the song or riff writing but it just never sounds truly inspired. This is a classic example of an album one spins once a year. The recording itself also is a bit too clean. The guitars sound fairly dirty but sound like they got too much space for themselves in the mix , this gives this album more of a restrained feel. Lastly due to the short length of the album and the nature of the final track it also feels like the end cuts out a bit suddenly, it is like whatever you use to play your music got unplugged. Certainly another song with a bit of a bigger ending would give this album a better closure.

Somehow Bunker 66 chose a fitting title for this album, I suspect they did this unintentionally. This album feels a bit like it actually has been put on chains. Never it feels like its truly going to break loose in some mad headbang-inducing rage. Instead its just fun to listen to. This is an album one name drops once or twice to his or her friends. Then you forget about the record until you are suddenly reminded of this band for some reason. You play it once or twice, certainly a better idea at that point in time than listening to slam or Liturgy, you'll have a decent time while this album is on. After wards you will forget about it and move on with your life.