BulletBoys – ‘Elefante’’
Marq Torien – lead vocals & rhythm guitar
Nick Rozz – bass
Chad MacDonald – lead guitar
Shawn Duncan – drums
1.) “Rollover” – The rhythm guitar sound Marq used for the pre-musical intro of this track was the same rhythm guitar sound Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser used for the classic Blue Oyster Cult hit “Don’t Fear The Reaper”. (“Don’t Fear The Reaper’ was released as a b-single on July 17 and taken off of the groups release titled ‘Agents Of Fortune’) Underneath the second measure of the riff Chad plays a simple guitar lick using the bridge of his Les Paul. Underneath the third measure Shawn kicks-in a drum rhythm that sounded as if he was using an electronic drum pads. After this measure there was what sounded like a short pick slide or some other small lead guitar effect to kick-in the main musical intro. For the musical verse the band used the same rhythm guitar arrangement with the exception of Chad switching to more of a standard electric guitar sound. For the main musical intro Shawn switched to an acoustic drum kit. The rhythm guitar of the musical verse had an intense feel to it. Halfway through the musical verse there was a minor lead guitar solo. This minor lead guitar solo connects the musical intro with the open lyric line. Leading into the opening lyric line the rhythm guitar and bass play the same rhythm notes. Though this section was very short for me it made the entire opening musical verse. Underneath the lyric lines of the musical verse Chad changed the rhythm guitar arrangement. There was not only a rhythm guitar change for the musical pre-chorus however Marq also changed the lyric lines. The choruses consisted of a huge BulletBoys hook. The second verse consisted of a rhythm guitar change. For me this was a very cool rhythm guitar change. After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo. As the lead guitar solo progressed the band slowed the arrangement down which lead to a breakdown section.
2.) “Tsunami” – This track opens with a modern rock guitar riff. The opening riff is played twice before a second rhythm guitar kicks-in. This second rhythm guitar was played with a very heavy strumming rhythm. There was a snare drum fill connecting the intro with the musical verse. Underneath both guitar rhythms there was a special effect that kind of sounded air blowing. Marq sang a small vocal accent to connect this opening intro with the opening musical verse. There was a minor lead guitar solo over the top of the musical verse leading into the opening lyric line. There was a few lead guitar licks after each lyric line of the musical verse. The musical verse had an amazing bass line. There was a very short musical pause connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. There was a musical arrangement change for the musical chorus. There was a backing vocal harmony underneath each lyric line of the chorus. Underneath the backing harmonies of the first two lyric lines there was a minor lead guitar solo. There was a breakdown section connecting the first and second choruses. After the breakdown section there was a small musical pause leading into the next chorus. The coda consisted of several lead vocal lines over the top of a backing harmony section. The backing harmonies were done in a vocal scatting style. Though scatting is a form of Jazz singing it was Steven Tyler of Aerosmith that popularized it within hard rock and heavy metal.
3.) “Symphony” – The acoustic guitar arrangement of this song kicks-in underneath the second lyric of the opening lyric line. The band kicks-in underneath the fourth lyric line. There was an arrangement change when the band kicks the song in. For the musical verse Shawn used his crash cymbal instead of his hi-hat. This really gave the drum line a very intense sound. There was a tom/tom and snare drum fill connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. The choruses consisted of huge hooks. The lead vocal line of the chorus proves that Marq’s vocal strength is just as great today if not better than it was when the band recorded their freshman release in 1988. For the second verse Shawn switched to a standard hi-hat drum line. It sounded like Marq double-tracked a few of the lyric lines of the second verse. After the third chorus there was a musical rhythm change instead of a lead guitar solo. If there had been a lead guitar solo for this song it would have been a perfectly written song. It is still an amazing song however; a lead guitar solo would have made this song just that much better.
4.) “The Villian” – This track opens with a crash cymbal effect. The musical intro consisted of a bass line over the top of Shawn playing a tom-tom pattern. For the bass line Nick used an effects pedal. Because of the effects pedal the musical intro had a very intense feel to it. The band used the same arrangement for the musical verse as the one they used for the intro. There was a snare drum fill connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. The rhythm guitar does not kick-in until the musical chorus. Through the second verse underneath the lead vocal lines there are several backing vocals. After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo. The coda consisted of a bass line over the top of a tom-tom pattern.
5.) “Kin Folk” – This intro opens with a single guitar riff before the band kicks-in the intro. The intro to this track had a very simple seventies rock feel. The band basically used the same rhythm guitar arrangement for the musical verse as the one for the intro. The way Marq arranged the lyric lines was very similar to the way Jeff Keith of Tesla arranges his lyrics. There are times through the verse where Marq’s vocals even have a Jeff Keith sound to them. There was a backing harmony connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. The band changed the arrangement for the musical chorus. The chorus had a very nice hook attached to it. There was a drum fill connecting the second verse with the second chorus. After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo. Over the top of the lead guitar solo Marq whistles a few notes. The last few notes of the solo consisted of just guitar. This track was one of the few tracks on the release that shows that Shawn can not only play heavy metal drums however he can also play very laid back and subtle. The coda consisted of an acoustic guitar arrangement underneath a very delicate vocal accent.
6.) “Saving You From Me” – This track opened with a rhythm guitar riff along with several cymbal crashes. The main body of the intro consisted of the full band. I felt this intro needed a minor lead guitar solo. There was a rhythm guitar change for musical verse. The way this song was recorded aloud the bass line to bleed through. This was good because this track had a very solid bass line. The drum line consisted of a musical rest connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. The band used a rhythm guitar arrangement that was very close to the one they wrote for the intro. The choruses though short had a very sweet hook. After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo. This lead guitar solo lead to a musical breakdown. For the lead rhythm arrangement and solo Chad used an effects pedal. Over the top of the coda Marq sings a vocal accent.
7.) “As Dumb As” – This track had just an amazing sound to it. If I had to say who it reminded me of then I would have to say newer Enuff Z Nuff.
8.) “Superhuman Girl” – This track opened with a rhythm guitar riff. After the riff is repeated three times a second rhythm guitar kicks-in. This second rhythm guitar is a different rhythm than the first the two rhythm guitars progress Shawn begins playing a tom-tom pattern. Over the top of the two rhythm guitars Marq sings a lyric line. Marq almost whispers this lyric line. There was an arrangement change for the main musical intro. This musical change had a very intense feel to it. There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse. The choruses of this track were hugely intense. At times the lyrical arrangement of the verses was a little intense. There was a lead guitar solo after the second chorus. The lead guitar solo lead to a breakdown section. The song ended with a vocal echo.
9.) “Drop Your Weapon” - This track consisted of a very intense intro arrangement. There was several repeated lead guitar licks connecting the musical intro with the musical verse. For the musical verse there not only was a rhythm arrangement change however the band also slowed the arrangement down. As a drummer I really liked the drum line Shawn wrote for the musical verse. There was a lead guitar lick connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. The choruses had huge hooks attached to them. The choruses consisted of two separate rhythm guitar arrangements. After the third chorus there was a breakdown section. Over the top of the breakdown section there was a spoken vocal line. At the end of the track there was a strange spoken vocal line.
10.) “Elefante’” –Instrumental
11.) ” Bitch Is Back” -"The Bitch Is Back" is a rock song by Elton John, written with Bernie Taupin. It was the second single released from his 1974 album ‘Caribou’, and reached number 1 in Canada (his sixth in that country), number 4 in the United States and number 15 in the United Kingdom. The song has been identified as one of Elton John's best hard rock cuts. In the U.S., it was certified Gold on 13 September 1995 by the RIAA. This song was banned on several radio stations, in the United States and elsewhere, due to the use of the word "bitch".
BulletBoys was formed out of Los Angeles, California in 1987 by Marq Torien formerly of Ratt. (He was with Ratt just before they got signed between June 1982 - October 1982) In 1987, he replaced Mark Free of King Kobra for a year after Mark made the decision to leave the band. It was during his stint with King Kobra that he met guitarist Mick Sweda. After the King Kobra tour of 1987 Marq and Mick decided to leave King Kobra. Marq and Mick then hired bassist Lonnie Vencent and drummer Marc Danzeisen and the BulletBoys was formed. At some point between getting signed to Warner Brothers and hitting the studio the BulletBoys released drummer Marc Danzeisen and replaced him with Jimmy D’anda (Lynch Mob).
Since releasing their self-titled CD on September 20, 1988 which included 2 Mainsteam Rock hits “Smooth Up In Ya” peaking at #23 and a cover of The O’Jays hit “For The Love Of Money” peaking at #38 BullletBoys have always been a relatively unknown and underrated band. It is not that I did not think the BulletBoys first release wasn’t any good I just did not pay that much attention to it. This is mainly due to the fact there was a lot of great albums released in 1988 and it slipped through the cracks.
‘Elefante’’ is the eighth studio release that BulletBoys has recorded. There are eleven CD’s in total within the BulletBoys catalog, eight studio CD’s, two greatest hits, plus one cover/tribute album.
I must admit the sole purpose I requested a review copy was because of drummer Shawn Duncan. I was a big Odin (which include both Shawn and Jeff Duncan) fan when I was a teenager. Then years later when the brothers formed DC4, Blast Magazine forded me the opportunity to meet both Shawn and Jeff and over the years we have became friends.
While I was waiting for the promotional copy to arrive I contacted a friend who is a big BulletBoys fan so I could familiarize myself with the band’s catalog. As soon as I listened to their freshman self-titled CD I knew I had made a mistake by not listening to this band sooner than now and I instantly became a huge fan.
For ‘Elefante’’ Mark took the best of the BulletBoys catalog added just a small flare of modern hard rock music like band such as, Hinder & Black Stone Cherry and created what possible may be the best BulletBoys CD since their 1988 freshman release. He did this in a way that gave the songs a modern rock sound without sacrificing the integrity of the original Buletboys sound. Marq’s vocals sound better today than they did twenty-seven years ago. The drum work on every song is not only amazing however expresses just how underrated of a drummer that Shawn is! The bass work is also some of the best I have heard on a BulletBoys release.
Over the years the BulletBoys has gone through several line-up changes. However of all the line-up changes on all of their releases this one is the best. If you are not a fan of the BulletBoys you will be after you hear ‘Elefante’’. This CD is for both the essential hard rock fan along with BulletBoy fans. ‘Elefante’’ is an absolute great addition to your CD collection!