Review Summary: Still relentlessly pursuing a straightforward death metal sound, Hail Of Bullets somehow progress their sound while doing seemingly little to it.
Hail Of Bullets is a band with practically one selling point, albeit a huge one. The vocals of Martin van Drunen were the unquestionable highlight of early Pestilence
, and his presence here has a marked effect on the quality of the band's sound. While altogether not too different from the latter of those bands, Hail Of Bullets seems to have advanced their sound to the point of excellence with practically no effort, and not solely due to Drunen; this is the point where one can conclude that the band is more than just van Drunen with a mediocre death metal backing. Instead, he's backed with some of the most solid straight death metal around.
The criticisms of the last Hail Of Bullets albums seemed to lie in the fact that they were extremely generic, and that certainly hasn't changed. The same tremolo picked death metal riffs and big, Swede-death style chords are still here, but the general quality of them has improved. It's not even as though the tempos have changed much; the same mid-paced chugs and slow paced, doomier sections are here. Yet, the arrangements here are simply better - the riffs are slightly catchier and more crushing, the leads are better placed and more atmospheric, and the songs are less awkward in terms of length.
This goes a long way in making this album genuinely one of the better death metal efforts this year, and it shows in many of the songs themselves; Swoop of the Falcon
fulfils its role as the foreboding opening fantastically, Dg-7
is appropriately epic and colossal sounding for a song of its length, To the Last Breath of Man and Beast
and Farewell To Africa
both work as shorter, more aggressive yet melodic numbers, and generally the album doesn't drop in quality at any point, with enough variation to justify its longer-than-average duration for a death metal album. While nothing in particular, besides Drunen's spectacular vocal performance, is special here, the all around strength of this album does go a long way in making it one of the better death metal albums of the year.
Swoop Of The Falcon
To The Last Breath Of Man And Beast
Farewell To Africa
Death Of A Field Marshall