While Point of Origin may not have entirely flipped the metal world on its head, the debut offering from German metal act Downspirit really intrigued me with its unique blend of heavy metal and blues music. The instant accessibility of the release combined with a fresh take on the genre made Downspirit's debut one of the highlights of 2010, and roughly two years later, the band has returned with another batch of heavy and melodic tunes. Bulletproof? shows Downspirit once again striking a nice balance between melodic heavy metal, bluesy hard rock, and modern metal, but the band feels a little less consistent from a songwriting perspective this time around. Bulletproof? is worth purchasing if you enjoyed Point of Origin as much as I did, but otherwise I wouldn't label this as a particularly essential release.
Stylistically, the band hasn't evolved very much since their debut effort, and in many regards, Downspirit are fairly typical when compared to other melodic metal acts. What sets them apart is a strong influence from bluesy hard rock, alternative metal, and AOR that isn't found in many of their contemporaries. Compared to Point of Origin, though, I guess you could say that Bulletproof? is the more streamlined album of the two. Almost all of the songs follow a strict 'verse/chorus/verse' format, and this can lead to a bit of monotony in the second half of the record. Either that, or the second half of the album just isn't quite as good - the first six songs are all absolutely killer, and for some reason the following six just don't seem as strong. Tracks like "Greed", "The Wish", and "Are You Proud?" really start the album out on a high, and the rest of the record doesn't quite live up to these expectations. That's not to say that any of Bulletproof? is bad, however - the entire album is incredibly professional and well-executed, and the guitar solos from Cédric Dupont stand out as consistently excellent to these ears.
Bulletproof? is a very professional release, and fans of melodic metal would be wise to check this one out. Although I think Point of Origin is a more recommendable introduction to Downspirit, this is certainly a solid effort as well. I don't think Bulletproof? is an album we'll be talking about years into the future, but if you enjoy melodic metal and bluesy hard rock, there's no reason not to give this exceptionally solid observation a shot.