“Not too many bands will go 9 years between their first and second albums and live to tell the story. Let alone their waiting fans! But too many years later the guys are finally back. Let’s be honest here – the only chance they guys had was to deliver a cracking good record and one that outshines the debut. And I think they’ve done just that.
Bite The Bullet isn’t as heavy as the debut Thunderdome, rather it is a little more refined and mature even, but it still packs a punch and is a very fine melodic hard rock record in every way. While we sit back and contemplate the possibilities of a new Thin Lizzy album, I highly recommend you spend that time with Street Legal. Bite The Bullet mixes the classic British hard rock influences of Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake (both the Lynott and Coverdale comparisons are uncanny), with that typical Scandi twist to round things off.
The band include a few covers into proceedings – the storming Stage Dolls rocker Loadin’ Up, which is given heavy treatment; the ever popular Michael Sembello pop rocker Maniac which is again rocked up and the very curious decision to include a version of the tongue in cheek Bad News ‘masterpiece’ Warriors Of Genghis Kahn. All good fun and the band don’t take themselves too seriously here.
But the real strength in the album is the original compositions. The Whitesnake styled rocker (written by Tommy LaVerdi) Somebody Up There Likes Me is cool, but the Thin Lizzy mid-tempo blues rocker Unconditional Love is pure gold. Shadow In My Heart could be a classic Coverdale sung MTV ballad and Bite The Bullet could have come straight off the band’s debut. Starship Trooper and Trapped are both Lizzy styled uptempo melodic rockers. The Battle Of Kringen is an interesting instrumental, with the epic heavy ballad/rocker Silent Tear closing the classy album off.
The Bottom Line
Let’s hope the guys are back for good this time and can re-start momentum on their career, as they really are a classy outfit and any lengthy delay in the future would all but kill them off. But if they get back to work on album number 3 straight away, the future for Street Legal will be very bright indeed.”
– MELODICROCK.COM, 2009
“After years of waiting, the highly anticipated return of Street Legal has arrived! Bjorn Borge and the boys unleash, ‘Bite The Bullet’, just in the nick of time! Just when the rock music scene needed a swift kick in the arse, Street Legal once again deliver the goods. Street Legal is now fueled and powered by Bjorn Boge on bass and vocals and his brother Oystein on drums, with Tore Ostby (formerly of Ark and Conception) and Rolf Bjorseth on guitars. “Bite the Bullet” is a true piece of Classic Rock” says singer and bassist Bjorn Boge. “Groovy. Bluesy. Very melodic. And lots of cool guitar stuff ! More “organic” than “Thunderdome” soundwise, but with lots of energy and passion. The album is loaded with guitar heavy, metal anthems as well as smooth blues tracks. Borge sounds a little like Phil Lynott, but that doesn’t take away from his vocal talents. The songs are simple, memorable, and a blast to listen to. From the moment, “Loading Up” fires out of your speakers its obvious the band hasn’t missed a beat. Just as strong and just as powerful. As they prove on tracks like, “Somebody Up There Likes Me”, “Bite The Bullet” and “Trapped”. There are really no weak tracks on this album. Bjorn and the boys even serve a suped up version of the Michael Sembello classic, “Maniac”. Street Legal is all about bluesy hard rock and melodic heavy metal. Their debut release ‘Thunderdome’ is/was an overlooked gem. If you’re into guitar driven hard rock this album is destined to rate in the top 10 of any music collection. A full metal jacket of 11 blistering tracks of hard rock fury that will shake your very foundation!The new release was produced by Bjorn Boge and mixed and mastered by Tommy Newton (Helloween, Victory, UFO). A definite contender for best hard rock album of 2009! Welcome back boys!”
– The Atomic Chaser, ALL ACCESS MAGAZINE (USA), April 2, 2009
“Having made a mark in the early new millennium with their record Thunderdome, Street Legal heralded a new era of melodic hard rock – however, a hiatus took place, a lineup change, amongst other things. But now, finally the inevitable return is upon us for a second helping of bad-to-the-bone rock and roll that is punchy, heavy, and to the point; not being a synthetic aesthetic - with a base around the blues driven hard rock wrapped up with a metallic edge, similar to bands such as Slash’s Snakepit, Tangier, Hardline, and Baton Rouge – really keeping the guitars in full force with all of the power up front and center.
Bite the Bullet is a collection of great tunes, minded with catchy hooks and soulful power – filled with dueling Thin Lizzy-esque leads (“Unconditional Love”), boogie rock supremacy (“Loading Up” & “Trapped”), emotive & dark ballads (“Shadow in My Heart” & “Silent Fear”), grinding metal riffage (“Warriors of Genghis Khan”), and even pop gusto the cover of the Flashdance tune “Manic” (second hard rock cover of this track in a year) for a plethora of fierce classic rock tunes for the modern age.
There aren’t big synthesizers (although keyboards are used) or massive high harmonies as vocalist Bjorn Boge has a range similar to Coverdale’s – it’s an album that puts emphasis on the guitars, bass, and drums made ready for the arena. Having heard that in the past nine years the band members went through rough times, the overall aggressive vibe of the record certainly reflects that – where the turbulent moments have been turned into song. One of the most vital and true-to-form hard rock albums to come along in years!”
– Tommy Hash, YTSEJAM.COM (USA), March 8, 2009
“It has been nine long years since Street Legal’s debut CD, “Thunderdome”. Was their sophomore effort “Bite The Bullet” worth the wait? Absolutely!
On this new disc, Street Legal has gained the help of axeman Tore Ostby. Ostby may not be a household name amongst many of you, but for those of us who have been long time Jorn Lande fans, we know Tore as Jorn Lande’s band mate from the band Ark, as well as Jorn’s debut solo CD, “Starfire”. He is an extremely talented guitarist whose music I have been enjoying for several years now. Must like the past releases he has played on, Ostby’s guitar work shines and helps Street Legal craft one hell of a good CD.
There are several cool tunes on this disc that are worth checking out, with no real duds in the bunch. “Loading Up is as solid of an opening cut as I have heard all year. The title track “Bite the Bullet” is one really good rockin’ cut. The cover of the tune “Maniac” from the Flashdance soundtrack was completely unexpected. Street Legal isn’t the first band to cover this tune (Firewind did it first) but they absolutely nailed it. This is a pretty fun tune.
Street Legal’s music on this disc is just hard enough to keep a lot of hard rock fans happy, and melodic enough to appeal to the AOR crowd as well. I hear a lot of similarities to Thin Lizzy, with a few Whitesnakeisms thrown in for good measure. Singer Bjorn Boge isn’t a dead ringer for Phil Lynott vocally, but he does sound a lot like him.
“Bite the Bullet” is a solid release from a pretty good band. I hope to hear more from Street Legal in the future.”
– Rob Rockitt, HARD ROCK HIDEOUT (USA), March 4, 2009
“When I heard about the title, the classic Bob Dylan same-title album came to mind at once! There is a similarity, regarding the term “classic”. The Norwegians play no other than classic hard rock. Thin Lizzy are, with no doubt, one of the main influences, especially concerning vocals, whilst UFO, Blue Oyster Cult and early Whitesnake elements intensely follow. Powerful ingredients, eh?
The result of those influences and the way Street Legal bring it on, is more than satisfactory. Strong and well-played tracks, rock and roll feeling, a beautiful ballad (Shadow In My Heart), a fine cover on “She’s A Maniac” (unforgettable “Flashdance”… ), which is here entitled “Maniac”, while “The Battle Of Kringen” could be one of my favorite songs, if it wasn’t for “Gates Of Babylon” and maybe “Transylvania”.
“Bite The Bullet”, full of hard rock riffs, worthy solos and very good vocals, which fill the atmosphere with feeling, is one of the most pleasant surprises for this semester.
The album is exceptional and I suggest you buy it without any hesitation.”
– Dimitris Kazantzis, ROCKPAGES.GR, 2009
“In April 2000 I’ve been to Landgraaf (Netherlands) to see Dare live and at that tour they has Street Legal as their openers. The Norwegians were quite good and afterwards I listened a lot to Thunderdome. Since then I haven’t heard from them… So it was a nice surprise to see that they are back with a new album called Bite The Bullet. For the album Bjørn and Øystein Boge got a helping hand by guitarists Tore Østby and Bjorseth.
The opener Loading Up shows that Street Legal are sticking to their roots. The up-tempo rocker is a catchy classic rock tune with great guitars. With the following Somebody Up There Likes Me they offer a balladesque rocker with a slightly modern sound. A stadium rocker you might expect from Bryan Adams… After a few spins this one haunts you! They speed up again for Unconditional Love which has a Thin Lizzy touch - not just because of Bjørn Boge’s vocals! With Warriors Of Gengis Khan they leave the classic rock behind and present a heavy metal tune with crunchy riffs and a catchy chorus. A bit like the early 80’s NWoBHM stuff… I think this one might scare off some AOR fans who enjoyed the first 3 tracks, coz this shows them quite heavy. With Shadow In My Heart they are back to bluesy hard rock in the vein of early Whitesnake. A beautiful ballad with a symphonic touch. Very cool! Another heavy metal track is Bite The Bullet. Another rocker, but not as heavy as the title track is Starship Trooper, even if there are heavy riffs… Trapped is kicking off very heavy, but they ease off a bit and the Thin Lizzy vibe is back. At The Battle Of Kringen Street Legal present a heavy rocker with a progressive edge and a slightly epic touch. The instrumental sticks out a bit due to the more progressive sounds, usually I’m not a big fan of instrumental music, but here I don’t miss the vocals. A real surprise is the Michael Sembello tune Maniac which most will know from the Flashdance soundtrack… I once heard Michael Sembello play this one live - while he was on tour with Jennifer Batten - and this is very close to Sembello’s version. I like the heavy version of this 80’s pop tune, but I confess, I always liked the tune. The closer is called Silent Tear, a tune which starts slowly and then becomes a melodic heavy rocker. But then an semi-acoustic passage and emotional vocals - and they return to the heavy rock with crunchy riffs - and back. A cool track which combines the heaviness and the melodies. A catchy tune which slowly sneaks into your head - and stays.
Well, the classic rock stuff is pretty cool, and I like the heavy rockers, too. But the album lacks homogeneity… Personally I don’t have a problem with the different sides of Street Legal and I can enjoy both, but some classic rock fans won’t welcome the heavy ones while heavy metal fans might find the soft side of Street Legal too mellow… Street Legal is walking on the razor’s edge and only time will tell, if it works out. I think the heavy tunes show the band like they are live - at least what I remember - and I guess that live the balladesque ones will have a heavy edge… And then homogeneity is back. Check them out and make up your mind!”
– Claudia Ehrhardt, ICE VAJAL, 2009
“Frontiers Records going ’vintage’ again! This is STREET LEGAL’s sophomore release, called “Bite The Bullet”, and if you expect another melodic Rock/AOR catalogue number well, it is not the case this time. Let’s chop it up in key-facts:
DA VINCI: This quintet was - even if never noticed/promoted by grand Media back then - one of the finest Hard Rock/AOR pieces to emerge from Norway/Scandinavia in the late 80s. With great hooks, crystal clear production and some remarkably charming vocals, DA VINCI released two albums in 1987 and 1989 (”Da Vinci” and “Back In Business”, in respect) and scored good success in their homeland, while the rest of the world was shaking to the EUROPE rhythms.
Bjorn Boge: The bassist of DA VINCI, he also sang lead vocals and was the songwriter for the band while handling the production. Willing to come up with a different - more ’classic’ - sound through a new project, he formed STREET LEGAL in the late 90s and released the first album, “Thunderdome”, in 2000. Who ever purchased this CD back than can as well stop reading and consider he/she should look out for this new cut soon.
STREET LEGAL: Who knows what happened all these nine years? Fact is, to be up-to-date, the band is back in action, with Boge calling his brother Oysten to fill in as the drummer, and guitar issues finally solved by Tore Ostby (ARK, CONCEPTION) and Rolf Bjorseth performing the 6-string parts. Is this a steady lineup, now? Should we have to wait for nine years again for (and if) a third album? Proof overruled.
Vintage Hard Rock: even more focused on the hardrockin’ magic of the late 70s/early 80s than “Thunderdome”, “Bite The Bullet” will surely apply to the rocker’s thirst for music to the likes of (mainly) THIN LIZZY, Gary Moore (80s era), BLUE MURDER, MSG, (some of) WHITESNAKE and VAN HALEN (MK I). Indeed, the THIN LIZZY reference could alone speak for the whole album. Twin lead melodies, rockin’ choruses, deep vocals by Boge and a sensational atmosphere for the mature rocker/metalhead. The album has energetic tracks (”Warriors Of Genghis Khan”, “Starship Trooper”), breezing ballads (”Shadow In My Heart”), bluesrockin’ mid-tempo cuts (”Somebody Up There Likes Me”, “Silent Tear”), up-tempo rockers (”Loading Up”, “Unconditional Love”), ’epic’ anthems (”The Battle Of Kringen”)…everything to feed your vintage Hard Rock hunger. Boge is a good singer, he fits the scene and there’s no words to describe the guitar parts. Tore Osby’s name speaks for himself, plus any guitarist dealin’ with this wizard shall be of admirable expertise.
Bjorn Boge works as a producer, too, being in charge of the sound for bands like DODHEIMSGARD, KOVENANT, CADAVER and SUSPERIA. Yeap, extreme Metal stuff. Still, when it comes to his own influence, it’s stuff like “Bite The Bullet” that bursts out. STREET LEGAL reminds us of the magic of genuine, vintage Hard Rock music. Reminder accepted, Bjorn.
P.S. #1: STREET LEGAL will feature a bonus track for the Japanese release of “Bite The Bullet”, a version of the classic song “I Don’t Wanna Wait Anymore” by THE TUBES.
P.S. #2: “Maniac” is a cover version of the 1983 hit by Michael Sembello (included on the “Flashdance” movie OST).”
– Grigoris, METAL TEMPLE, March 3, 2009
“It is hard to believe it has been 9 years since Street Legal released their debut CD Thunderdome. I’m not sure what has happened to the band since their debut, but 2009 marks their comeback with the release of Bite the Bullet. I’m not sure if the band had broke up or if Street Legal was just a side project, but I was happy to hear that they were back. If you’re not familiar with the band, they have a very strong Thin Lizzy influence. I swear at times, vocalist/bassist Bjorn Boge actually emulates the late great Phil Lynott. The music is styled with that classic Lizzy sound mixed with a Blue Murder vibe, which is especially apparent in the killer ballad Shadow in My Heart. It is really refreshing to hear a band doing this style of music, especially since John Sykes isn’t putting out any new material.
Bite the Bullet pretty much picks up where Thunderdome left off. I’m not sure if these songs were left over from the Thunderdome sessions or if they were penned for this specific release, nonetheless they rock. The CD is comprised of 11 tracks, 2 which are covers. The original studio tracks are full of great melodies and catchy choruses. As you would expect, having a TL influence, there is lot of killer dual guitar harmonies delivered by Tore Ostby (Ark) and Rolf Bjorseth. Check out the track Unconditional Love and you’ll hear what I mean. The CD is pretty solid, but not all of the songs have that great factor. I would say half of the CD is stellar and the other half being good. I found this to be the case with the first CD as well. The songs that are good, just don’t have that power to overwhelm the senses, which tend to turn them into back ground music.
The covers chosen for the CD really peaked my interest, because they both took me by surprise. The first cover was from Comic Strip Presents mock metal band Bad News: Warriors of Genghis Khan. I always thought it was a cool song, even though you’re laughing the whole time you see Bad News perform it. It is a hard rocking track and the band do it justice. The second cover is of the 80’s pop hit Maniac, from the Flashdance soundtrack. The guys rock this tune up, which makes it one of the stronger tracks on the CD. All in all a nice comeback from the band, hopefully it won’t take another 9 years before we get the 3rd one.
Bottom Line: The closest thing you’ll get to Thin Lizzy or Blue Murder out there. The boys aren’t ashamed to wear their influences on their sleeve and have come up with a solid release. Good melodic hard rock with a classic vibe.
Standout Tracks: Unconditional Love, Shadow in My Heart, Maniac and Silent Tear.”
– Ragman, THE RIGHT TO ROCK, December 20, 2009
“Although many music historians are quick to dismiss it as a “lost decade” for rock & roll, mired in excessive studio gimmickry and synthesized commercialism, the ’80s still gave birth to an astonishing array of great music and left its mark on innumerable future bands like, for example, Norway’s Street Legal. The group’s year 2000 debut album, Thunderdome, was flagrantly steeped in ’80s-flavored hard rock, and their belated 2009 sophomore effort, Bite the Bullet, also follows suit, with a strong selection of songs featuring equal measures of hard riffing tenacity and hook-laden choruses — arguably catchy enough for radio, yet quirky enough in a Euro sense to entice fans of everything from Europe to Whitesnake. In fact, shades of the still paunchy-and-mustachioed, pre-peroxide Whitesnake definitely inform the clever rocker “Somebody Up there Likes Me,” and the post-peroxide version also makes an appearance during sultry ballads “Shadow of My Heart” and “Silent Tear” (seriously, throw Tawny Kitaen into the video and nothing’s missing). Crossing the Atlantic, now, both the title track and “Starship Trooper” recall the Skyscraper-era David Lee Roth band, with their angular riffs, feigned Vai-sized guitar heroics, and smooth, smooth finish; and a (possibly) non-ironic cover of “Maniac” — Michael Sembello’s smash hit from the Flashdance soundtrack — epitomizes the peak of Street Legal’s shameless ’80s worship. It’s not half bad, either! But perhaps the real ace in Street Legal’s inspirational deck is the one revealed by third track “Unconditional Love,” when singer/bassist Bjorn Boge abruptly transforms himself into Philip Lynott, of Thin Lizzy! From his tough-as-leather, cool-as-ice, husky-voiced delivery, to the song’s mid-paced swagger and twin-guitar harmonies, the Lizzy aesthetic — ’80s version, naturally — is replicated to such perfection, that one could care less if it’s derivative. Nor that it is subsequently revisited by other evocative numbers like “Warriors of Genghis Kahn” (which sounds like a Chinatown outtake, at times), and the instrumental “Battle of Kringen,” which references Lizzy’s Gaelic anthems like “Black Rose” and “Emerald.” Of course the cynics will surely still claim that it’s merely the passage of time that makes the heart grow fonder for these admittedly dated ’80s sounds, so often reviled and ridiculed, but, come on — life’s too short — and only the most jaded graying hard rock fans could possibly resist Street Legal’s infectious nostalgic adventure on Bite the Bullet.”
– Eduardo Rivadavia, ALLMUSIC.COM, 2009
“Street Legal is another band of ‘almost made it’s’ that is back for another try. Nine years after releasing their debut album they are back. With a stamp that states “Certified Classic Rock” on the back of the cover one expects this to rock – and it does!
“Loading Up” will make you sit up and pay attention. There are rocking guitars and solid vocals throughout. In fact, the entire damn album is like that. This is a winner. There is a lot Whitesnake dripping off of this band, however, they twist it to their own good and make an album that is iPod worthy. So, buy this one and play it loud and often.”
Rating: B = buy it
– Jeb Wright, CLASSIC ROCK REVISITED, 2009
“Loading Up” is anthemic with a blusey tinge. The album’s title track “Somebody Up There Likes Me” is a steady rocker with throaty melodic vocals. “Warriors Of Genghis Khan” jumps into European metal territory with monster riffage and pounding drums. The album’s title track “Bite the Bullet” is a smooth track with a hook laden chorus. “Trapped” delivers some of the best guitar licks since the days of 80s thrash. I hate to say it, but the bands best track is a cover tune. Street Legal pump up the energy and inject distorted guitars into Michael Sembello’s “Maniac.” If you don’t remember the artist, you’re sure to remember Jennifer Beals sitting in a chair, dumping a bucket of water on herself in the movie Flashdance.
Bite the Bullet is the sophomore effort for this Norwegian-bred band. The group combines hard rock elements with straight-up blues. When all is said and done, Street Legal deliver a strong rock album.”
– George Dionne, ROCK IS LIFE, 2009