Hail Of Bullets is a death metal band from the Netherlands and they have freshly arrived on the scene. They are one of those bands that take the best parts from old-school death metal formulas and mix it with their ideas and influences from the present day. Their type of death metal is quite simple, both instrumentally and vocally. There is no over-use of riff techniques, drumming or cryptic lyrical messages (cheesy lyrics for that matter). This is plain old-fashioned death metal played with passion. ...Of Frost And War
is their debut album and it focuses on the horrors of war, and in this case, their focus was on the war between the Germans and Soviet troops during World War II.
Still refusing to capitulate
Leading their men to continue the fight
Comfortable generals in warm barracks
In the open fields their soldiers die
...Of Frost And War
is a powerful debut album. The instruments flow great; the sound production is nearly flawless; the music mixes perfectly with the war themed lyrics and the odd vocals provide anxious texture/atmosphere to both the lyrics and music. There are no fancy riffs or complex soloing in this album but the thick sound of the guitars almost overwhelm the listener. This gives the songs a great deal of power and strength. Everything sounds great, even if the riffs are a bit slow. I would say the guitar style could be compared to bands like late Dismember or Hypocrisy. The bass is like any other bass in death metal, either loud or non-existent. This time, it is pretty much non-existent and is very hard to distinguish from the loud guitars. Thankfully though, there is some splendid drumming instead. The drums bash forward with intense pounding and bursts of classic double bass drumming. Nothing gets boring or repetitive; almost every drum pattern mixes well together with the crushing guitars. Normally you would expect deep guttural growling or grunting when you listen to a lot of new death metal bands. Just wait until you listen to this! The vocalist has a very odd style because it sound like his scream is slightly strangled. Either way, the frustrated and intense vocals add a lot of texture and atmosphere to the music. This could be compared to the harsh reality of the past, especially during the sad and melodic ending track Berlin
Lead spitting banshees
Baptize them in fire
Most tracks on this album have a simple structure and lay-out. Tracks like General Winter
and Ordered Eastward
both have slow and heavy intros. A little while into the songs, the tracks explode with energy and anger while the tempo gets turned up a few notches. Many tracks contain gruesome and sinister riffs with some Slayer influenced solos; Stalingrad
would be two tracks that include just that. Even if this is straight up death metal, there are actually some melodic moments thrown in to give the listener a moment to rest. Before The Storm
include some nice sounding dark melodies while the rest of the tracks have a couple melodic moments. Most of the tracks listed above are more or less standout tracks for many reasons. Twelve songs make this a bit hard to endure through even one full listen. The first five tracks keep things interesting, but the middle of the album starts to drag a bit. Unfortunately, since most of the tracks follow a similar structure, there is always a risk of repetitiveness.
Marching, creeping, waiting
Snipers in the trees
Aiming, shooting, killing
These wolves will have their feast
The lyrics in ...Of Frost And War
are taken from real world events that occurred during the second World War. Also, these lyrics have a continuous flow from start to finish, providing a concept to an interesting piece of history. The Germans receive orders to engage Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia. The Germans blitzkrieg tactics completely fail because of their inexperience with the Russian countryside, harsh weather conditions, inappropriate gear and their selfish beliefs of being ''uber-menchens'' or Super-humans. Operation Barbarossa became a slow moving war that the Germans would eventually lose. The listener is taken through a hellish journey with commander of betrayal, endless death, starvation, defeat and other terrible things that the soldiers and civilians had to endure. Even if the lyrics are pretty authentic, they actually suit the music perfectly in terms of death metal genre lyrics. Nothing is over-exaggerated or confusing; everything is simple to understand and the lyrical theme works fine alongside the extreme music. This is a great example where knowledge of history and musical enjoyment can go hand in hand with each other.
Last nest of resistance
In which children fight
Old and young mobilize
Hail Of Bullets is a very interesting death metal band that has the potential to go far. ...Of Frost And War
is a powerful album that will please many death metal fans. The album might be a bit tough to get used to because of the unusual vocals. The music however, shouldn’t be that challenging to enjoy. The album has no major drawbacks and the tracks have great musical dynamics, even if the songs are easily constructed. The only thing that annoys me is that there are only a few growls in ''Ordered Eastward''. No other song has growls, which is a necessity for any death metal if you ask me. Fast and slow, heavy and forceful, melodic or intense, this album has what it takes to become a memorable death metal album. Highly recommended for those who enjoy any kind of death metal.
+ Awesome guitar sound and performances
+ Odd vocals (they stand out and make this album special)
+ Splendid sound production
+ Very great range of song dynamics and variety
+ Suitable lyrics for a death metal band
- More growls should've been used
- There should've been less than twelve tracks
-- Advancing Once More - Definitely one of the most powerful songs on here. The intro is a perfect tension builder and the main riffs are devastating while the rest of the track is pure death metal mayhem. Perfect track!
-- Ordered Eastward - Another outstanding track! The intro marches on in a great, moderate pace and the riff lines have a great flow. Not as powerful as the track above but is still a pretty damn good song. This is the only track with growls too, similar to Akerfeldt's type of growl actually
-- Berlin - The ending track is a perfect closer to this concept album. Heavy and slow, it has a great atmosphere while the melodies are gloomy and beautiful. Try to imagine the battle-fatigued soldiers fighting to the bitter end with this music in the background.
-- The Crucial Offensive - A track which is similar to Ordered Eastward. A very heavy, fast, and lethal death metal cocktail.
Final rating, a solid 4/5