Finns Midnight Bullet have delivered a finely-observed take on the amorphous, hard-to-pin-down mass that is ‘modern metal’ on their new album, Hostile Resistance.

Basically, they take Metallica‘s Black Album as a basic template – the huge sound, the crystal clear production, the earworm melodies designed to snare the maximum attention in the minImum time – before adding a few heavier names (think Pantera, Lamb of God, In Flames, et cetera) into the mix to stop things getting too ‘dad rock’; Overall, this is a modus operandi that works, and the band certainly know their onions when it comes to constructing stadium-ready metal.

It doesn’t always work – Dead Redemption, with it’s odd, almost emoised vocal approach in the verses, just sticks out a little too much for it’s own good – but when it does, as on the superb title track, it’s hard to detect any weaknesses within the Midnight Bullet setup.

Lauri Ikonen‘s lea work is consistently impressive, with almost every track containing a noteworthy and very air guitar-friendly solo, whilst bassist Mirko Miettinen, enjoying a slightly more prominent position in the mix than many of his contemporaries, is also consistently impressive. The rumbling work he uses to underpin the excellent Take Me Away‘s intro is particularly pleasing to the ear, and he forms a tight partnership with drummer Mikko Nokelainen that impresses throughout with it’s agile, watertight proficiency. Vocalist Tuomas Lahti is perhaps a little ‘safe’ for this reviewer’s liking, though the regular bolstering of his lead vocals with boisterous gang backups helps beef things up when necessary’ this isn’t a big problem, but may dissuade fans of slightly heavier metal getting fully with the programme.

The swinging, groove metal fuelled Enemy Number One is a bona fide stormer, and probably shows the band in their best light, but if melodic metal with the emphasis on tight musicianship and radio-ready songwriting gets your juices flowing there really isn’t anything on Hostile Resistance that you’ll find a disappointment. Give it a try!

Hostile Resistance is out now.