Caligari Records strikes again! This time around the cassette label has unleashed a metric fuck-ton of black thrash from Sicilian sensation Bunker 66. These two tapes encompass the bulk of the band’s discography (with the exception of their 2014 full length, Screaming Rock Believers) and they’re likely the most fun you’ll have all year, giving recent releases from the likes of Children of Technology and Midnight a run for their money with some gnarly-as-all-get-out Motorhead/Venom/Celtic Frost worship.
Bunker 66 sound exactly how you’d expect them to; punk-fueled thrash with a strong 1st wave black metal influence. That’s no bad thing, because the band do what they do so well that craftsmanship and reckless abandon easily win out over any concerns about originality. This stuff is positively filthy w/ an appropriately loose ‘n’ lethal execution, but its also catchier than herpes. Bunker 66 have a knack for memorable refrains and include plenty of gang vocal shout-alongs to assure that these tracks will bury themselves deep in your skull with the force of a post apocalyptic barbarian’s battleaxe. They also sport some incredible song titles such as “Chubby Love” “Radioactive Bath” and “We Guys are from Hell,” but they get triple bonus points for referencing War Games with “Global Thermonuclear War.”
Given that these tracks are culled from several releases, production schemes range from nasty to really fucking nasty, with the live tracks especially being nice and rough around the edges. But even at their most delightfully ugly-sounding, Bunker 66’s racket never degenerates into mush; all instruments are audible through the grime. Obviously, the production values perfectly suit the music, adding even more grit to the proceedings, and the various recordings still manage to gel nicely in spite of being compiled from multiple sources.
The early demo and split material hews closer to black metal, while the full length incorporates more thrash and NWOBHM influences. One of the neat things about listening to these tapes is hearing the band progress and become more confident with each release, culminating in Inferno Interceptors. We’re not talking about any major evolutionary leaps here; Bunker 66 have perfected their formula, now it’s just matter of continuing to refine and sharpen it. It isn’t about progression or innovation, it’s about delivering an infernal ass-kicking.
I have no idea how they do it, but Caligari Records continues to unearth some of the underground’s finest, and Bunker 66 is no exception. These two tapes give you a hell of a lot of quality black thrash for your buck and will no doubt appeal to fans of any of the older bands mentioned in this review. Yet another in a long string of wins for this great label that knows no stylistic boundaries.