Hail and Kill
Hail of Bullets are a supergroup that play death metal. Death metal of the proper, old school, straight up, mid-paced blasting variety, which in these technical times can often sound like misty eyed revivalism or, even worse, just plain dreary and uninspiring. To pull it off you need to be doing something very special indeed.
Luckily, Hail of Bullets are doing just that. What they bring to the table is a total commitment to recreating World War 2 in your ears, in both music and lyrics, which cannot be denied or ignored.
While the classic DM onslaught is all well and good, it is the addition of almost doom-metal atmospherics on ‘…Of Frost and War’ that make it stand out from the pack, as tracks like Nachthexen and Inferno At The Carpathian Mountains see the band slowing to an icy dirge that perfectly encapsulates the dismal bleakness of the Eastern front. And Stalingrad was no place for shandy boy breakdowns, thank fuck. The lyrics are amazing too, basically a load of facts about various battles, technical terminology and information about defensive formations and counter attacks in the flank – war geek overload. These are delivered by the legend Martin Van Drunen (who, according to the irrefutable Wikipedia, has overcome the extremely un-metalhead-friendly condition alopecia) in the vocal style of someone who had spent months being bombed, scavenging for food and freezing slowly to death as they use their last remaining breaths to radio for help as the merciless enemy closes in. Instrumentally, the rest of the band are as tight as Dave Lee Roth’s posing pouch and the guitar tone evokes early 90’s Stockholm, making this all sound a bit like early Entombed having a quick rake through the Imperial War Museum.
In short, this album is fucking awesome. Basically the History Channel really needs to use this album as the soundtrack to a Stalingrad documentary. I’d wank.