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On disc: Hail Of Bullets

On Divine Winds - Mike Thompson - 9 stars

On Divine Winds

On Divine Winds
(Metal Blade - 2010)

When my copy of On Divine Winds arrived in the mail this morning I was ecstatic. I'm a huge fan of Hail Of Bullets and of Martin van Drunen's vocals in particular so I have been waiting impatiently for this album to arrive since it was announced.
The first thing to note about On Divine Winds is that the band have left the Russian offensive behind and launched an all-out metal assault on the Pacific Campaign of World War 2. For me this is quite a bold move. The crushing, relentless riffs of the first album ...Of Frost And War perfectly captured the harsh ferocity of the Russian campaign. Does the band manage to capture the feel of the Pacific Campaign as convincingly? Hell fuckin' yeah!
The basic sound of Hail Of Bullets has remained unchanged from the debut. The band alternates with high frequency between crushing artillery barrage doom sections and blitzkrieg thrashy breaks. Bolt Thrower and Asphyx are the two bands most akin to Hail Of Bullets although the Dutch war masters have their own instantly recognizable sound which is firmly rooted in old-school death metal but not a simple rehash of past ideas.
The members of Hail Of Bullets are all veterans of the death metal scene and features the twin-mounted heavy machine guns of Thanatos' axemen Paul Baayens and Stephan Gebedi and their ex-comrade in arms Theo van Eekelen provides the rumbling tank engine bass. Ed Wharby does a magnificent job of providing the heavy artillery in the percussion section whilst the inimitable Asphyx-frontman Martin van Drunen howls the blood-curdling war cries.
The Hail Of Bullets guys have managed to surpass themselves with this effort, releasing one of the strongest death metal albums of the year, without doubt. This could have been just another death metal album about war but the class of Hail Of Bullets has elevated it far beyond that. If you enjoyed the first album and EP you will love this. If you haven't yet heard Hail Of Bullets prepare to be crushed mercilessly!

9 stars

Mike Thompson


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