I was first made aware of the Last Bullet through a YouTube recommendation for ‘Gimme Time’. My first listen made me stop what I was doing. I listened to the track several times – blown away. I immediately looked them up and spent the rest of the evening going through their other available material. How the hell had I missed these guys? I soon after went to their website and downloaded their amazing EPs, their first and self-titled being ‘Last Bullet’ released in 2011. Their second offering in the form of ‘Love. Lust. Illusion.’ which was released in 2012. The band’s latest is ‘80-69-64’, unleashed in August of this year. Since then they have been on constant rotation in my car, on my phone and my go to soundtrack while spending the hours editing my photos. Have I said these guys are good? Every track elicits a rock orientated response with its energy and intensity. If someone was to ask you to choose the clear standout track on each EP, you’d seriously struggle to pin point one, such is the calibre of their work.
So, a little about the band. Hailing from the Canadian city of Toronto, the band was originally the creation of Michael Silva and a school friend, Leo, who met lead guitarist, Brendan Armstrong, through mutual friends, back in 2008. They spent some time just jamming together for fun before putting an ad out on Craigslist for a bass player. The one and only response was from the current band member, Will Shannon. They then decided they needed a singer. After around nine months and a few disappointing auditions they were contacted by Bryan Fontez, who completed the line-up. They worked together for around five years before drummer Leo decided it wasn’t for him, subsequently being replaced by the current stick man, Chris Galez, in the summer of 2014.
Last Bullet live by the metaphor of the band name, playing every show like it’s their one and only shot to impress. There’s certainly no question of their conviction. Whenever you look at any of their live footage it’s always an energy charged full on assault which never fails to stir the crowd. Having supported some notable bands they are now carving a formidable path for themselves. They are very much a DIY band, believing in having a say in where they are going and how they are getting there always putting 100% into everything. They’ve had definitive input in the videos that have accompanied their releases to date, with frontman Bryan even directing and editing on projects.
So, let’s roll back the clock to the band’s first release, ‘Last Bullet’. I can imagine that this stellar first production announced the group’s intent to muscle into the rock scene and flex some musical muscle with a solid line up of 5 tracks. The first, Can’t Move On, you’re treated to an infectious beat and some licks of intricate guitar work that combine very well with Bryan’s gritty vocals, producing a solid track. The next track, Carefree, gives an insight into the bands ethos of taking things as they come and doing their own thing. There’s a slick bluesy feel to this offering. Next on the list is Girl’s Gone Wild. With its dirty rock’ n ’roll sound – something that would become an established undertone with Last Bullet in their forthcoming ventures. The track is kicked off with some excellent guitar riffs that instantly get your head bobbing and foot tapping. The theme of the song fits the ‘dirty’ sound, telling the story of the less than desirable behaviour of woman whose partner appears to ignore the facts, almost in denial.
The penultimate song, What Is Meant to Be, is made up of heart felt lyrics and superb supporting drum and guitar work, building things up for the chorus’ and levelling out in between. The now customary riffs supply the finishing touches to this song. The final piece on the EP is a great serving of upbeat rock n roll in the form of Rock ‘til We Die, a statement rendition from the band. To sum up, this is an excellent first venture and for anyone hearing this close to its release they must have been excited at the prospect of what could follow.
Fast forward a year and we have the second EP release, ‘Love. Lust. Illusion.’ As the saying goes, ‘what a difference a year makes’. If I thought the first EP was good, then I was in for a real treat with this release. Seven songs make up this thunderous instalment in their musical journey. The opener, State of Confusion, immediately grabs your attention. An extremely well balanced arrangement of drums, enticing riffs and excellent vocals. Retaining the ‘sleazy rock n roll’ element from their earlier sound, the results clearly display a step up in production and the band’s maturing resonance. The pace picks up for the next track, Jet. A real solid piece that begs to be blasted out of the speakers at a ferocious volume. I would have said it was a statement track, but the whole Ep is.
The third number is Forget the Rest, another concrete edition to an ever growing catalogue of impressive rock tunes. This song delivers lyrics that epitomise the rock n roll lifestyle, cemented together with gritty vocals and impressive musical accompaniment. After a clever musical interlude we are launched into Cowboy, a great song that delivers a message of standing tough and a distinctive, ‘don’t fuck with me’ message to it. Another statement from the band, maybe, letting us know they really do mean business. The next production, Running Out of Time is a no nonsense track that jumps pace from calculated vocals to fast guitar, presenting another outstanding effort.
The final slot of this outing is taken by what is as close to a ballad as we’ve heard from these guys so far, Love Song to Rock. That said it is still heavily immersed in Last Bullet’s sleazy style of music, their acknowledgement to the wonderful sound of filthy, hard hitting, pulsating, rock n roll.
Jump forward five years and we are presented with the latest production, ’80-69-64’. The meaning of this title is yet be disclosed, but according to Bryan, all will become clear in due course. This EP boasts six stand-alone tracks, each one capable of release as a single, such is the strength of this collection from this impressive bunch of musicians. First on the playlist is Sin, a gritty, impacting number that’s got a heavy edge to it, but doesn’t lose that sleazy undertone. Next up is a stunning endeavour, both simple and amazing, Gimme Time. This bass heavy edition possesses strong vocals, accompanied by thumping drum beats and effective guitar work that delivers a track that will have you reaching for the repeat button. This is destined to become one of the band’s stand out numbers and live performance favourites with fans.
Straight off the back of this you’re treated to Bright Lights, a great track, thick with a lazy blues taste to it. This showcases the artistic cohesion between the guys with everything blending beautifully. Next up is another stunning display of the sordid, luscious style of rock that Last Bullet effortlessly deliver in the shape of Southern Lips. Dirty and seedy lyrics and solid vocals combine wonderfully with stimulating riffs and pulsating drums to great effect.
Record number five is another helping of the band’s delightful style. Smoke and Ashes showcases Bryan’s rasping vocals to perfection, wrapped in a seductive permutation of drums and weighty guitar riffs. The EP is brought to a close with Little Miss Filthy. The theme of this track needs no explanation. Evocative lyrics partnered with a hard hitting chorus cleverly trimmed with some awesome guitar skills fuse together superbly to put the exclamation mark on this hugely impressive collection.
Last Bullet are destined for global stardom, I can’t see how they will fail. As with many amazing bands that seem to fly just under the radar, it seems a frustratingly long time for them to achieve the recognition they rightly deserve. With their reputed live performance leaving the increasing crowds in awe of what they have just witnessed, it’s merely a matter of time before these guys explode into the worldwide limelight. By their own admission, they approach every live show wanting to leave the crowd feeling they should have been paying more for what they had just witnessed. The band’s passion is undeniable, the by-product if which is amazing music. I can’t wait for this band to visit the UK so I can immerse myself in their brand of rock music.
‘If someone was to ask you to choose the clear standout track on each EP, you’d seriously struggle to pin point one, such is the calibre of their work.’