"Brace For Impact"

By Dr. Abner Mality

After the excellent build-up of the intro track "No Survival On Arrival", "Brace For Impact" kicks into high gear with the title track, which lives up to its title. This is powerful, high-energy metal that ranks with the opening salvo "Hung, Drawn & Quartered" on the new Accept album. That's pretty high praise and these German veterans manage to live up to it for most of the album.

It's always tough for a band to snap back after a tragedy, but following the death of their lead vocalist Xaver Drexler, Gun Barrel has risen to the challenge. New singer Patrick Suhl is a fine replacement for Drexler...clearly a melodic singer but with a kind of huskiness in his voice. He reminds me a little of Magnum's Bob Catley. As for the band themselves, they hold true to that mixture of Accept-meets-Saxon metal with a touch of bluesy rock n' roll. The title track is clearly the album highlight, but tunes like "Diamond Bullets", "The Wild Hunt" and "Dancing On Torpedoes" keep the fast and ballsy tunes flowing. "Books of Life" has a soaring, catchy chorus that makes the tune one of the best and something a little different over the course of the album.

You also get more hard rock oriented tracks like "Start A Riot", "Stand Your Ground" and album closer "Big Taboo". These are OK, but I felt the album should have ended on a punchier note than the mid-paced "Big Taboo". Also, Gun Barrel feels the need to inject a bluesy ballad and "Turbulence and Decadence" feels like a song written to meet some kind of quota than out of genuine enjoyment. The last two tracks kind of let the album down, but not to the point where I can't recommend "Brace For Impact" to those looking for honest, straightforward metal rock n 'roll.