Friday, September 26, 2008

HAIL OF BULLETS - Of Frost and War CD Review

HAIL OF BULLETS - Of Frost and War CD
Metal Blade Records

What we have here is the debut CD from a virtual who's who of Dutch Death Metal history. The band's lineup includes vocalist Martin Van Drunen (ASPHYX, PESTILENCE), guitarists Paul Baayens (THANATOS) and Stephan Gebedi (THANATOS, LEGION), bassist Theo van Eeklen (HOWITSER) and drummer Ed Warby (GOREFEST). So with references like that you can easily guess that this release is going to be old school sounding and brutal. The release's basic premise is the misery of war. It's a concept album that deals with Germany's invasion of Russia during World War Two, (aka: Operation Barbarossa). Listening to this you can almost picture scenes of battle. The drums and bass come across like an artillery barrage. The guitars bring to mind utter hopelessness and despair of endless miles of carnage. Almost mechanical like a meat grinder, plus with Van Drunen's throaty growl you get a real picture for agony and suffering.

Doom laden Death Metal being the soundtrack of war, but not exactly what you would think. Lyrically this is not at all trying to glorify the warfare on the Eastern Front. In fact it's the opposite ideas being put forth but not at all in some sort of peace protest way either. Think of Martin Van Drunen as a living witness (he's not but you get the idea) giving a first hand account of the scenes he encountered. The rest of the band sets the tempo as a musical backdrop albeit a Extreme Death Metal pounding. You get stories about massacres, grim force marches during the cold winter, fighting frostbite and the enemy at once. You get the feeling of what would be better, to die from the elements of the weather or of bleeding to death from multiple bullet wounds. "Of Frost and War" definitely brings you into the cold cruel reality of the past. I like this alot and hopefully HAIL OF BULLETS will not suffer the fate of many past super groups. If that's the case then this could just be a one off shot in the dark. Like a sniper's round piercing you in the chest leaving you wondering where it came from as your vision grows darker and darker, then you're dead.

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