Hail of Bullets
...Of Frost and War

Much like Bloodbath’s Resurrection Through Carnage in 2002, the debut from Hail of Bullets is an album forged by a group of death metal veterans plying a pure homage to classic death metal. Headed by vocalist Martin Van Drunen (Pestilence, Asphyx) and joined by guitarists Paul Baayans and Stephan Gebedi (Thanatos), bassist Theo van Eekelen (ex Thanatos and Houwitser) and drummer Ed Warby of Gorefest fame, Hail of Bullets is a band that is the sum of its parts and so much more.

Of course there is a heavy, expected early Pestilence and Asphyx influence, but (in part to Dan Swano’s MASSIVE mid range mix and master) there is also a heavy Dismember tone due to the mix of well paced and melodic crunch as well as a heavy Bolt Thrower influence, and not just due to the war theme of the album (the entire album is based on Hitler’s ill advised Eastern Front campaign of WWII), but because of some thunderously pummeling faster moments that imbue tanks tracks lumbering over smoke filled battlefields.

As with the era Hail of Bullets are paying homage to, …Of Frost and War isn’t about speed or complexity but riffs and more riffs, all glued together with a sense of heft, restraint, melody and killer guitar tone that comes together to form that ‘special’ feeling that death metal has lost for many years with the exception of a select few bands and some of the genres stalwarts already mentioned.

Starting with the pure 90’s intro “Before the Storm (Barbarossa)”, Hail of Bullets launch into the pure Asphyx meets Bolt Thrower assault of “Onward Eastward” and don’t look back until the amazing “The Rack”-like, epic throes that close “Berlin”, which ends the album in classic fashion. Each track from the Dismember-ish heave and gallop of “The Lake Lagoda Massacre” and “Red Wolves of Stalin” through the monstrously loping “General Winter” and “Insanity Commands”, the Bolt Thrower rumble of “Nachthexen”, crushing groove of “Stalingrad” and afore mentioned epic closer “Berlin” are just fucking perfect in every facet.

While bands like Decrepit Birth and Origin have certainly pushed the boundaries of modern death metal, it’s bands like Dismember, Bolt Thrower, Fleshcrawl, Nominon, Demonical and Evocation as well as super groups like The Project Hate, God Among Insects, Bloodbath and Hail of Bullets that carry the torn and bloodied flag of classic death metal with a pride and conviction so few bands today have.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
May 15th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: gordeth

    This sounds godly! It’s great to see Martin Van Drunen on a proper death metal album again. I always liked his distinctive voice.


  2. Commented by: Dan

    This sounds shabangin’. I listened to “Onward Eastward” on their website and found it to be righteously rousing. Color me interested.


  3. Commented by: vugelnox

    good stuff here! I love the lyrics and the Bolt Thrower influence running throughout this album.


  4. Commented by: brandon

    I LOVE this album! One of the best death metal albums of the year right here, the Bolt Thrower-esque elements are fantastic but I like Van Drunens vocals better (and by no means do I intend to imply that Hail of Bullets is a Bolt Thrower clone). I think …Of Frost and War is an instant classic, death metal needs more Hail of Bullets.


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