Rating:
8.4
Hail Of Bullets - ...Of Frost And War
16 May 2008


01. Before the Storm (Barbarossa) (Intro)
02. Ordered Eastward [feat. Dan Swanö]
03. The Lake Ladoga Massacre
04. General Winter
05. Advancing Once More
06. Red Wolves Of Stalin
07. Nachthexen
08. The Crucial Offensive (19-11-1942, 7.30 AM)
09. Stalingrad
10. Insanity Commands [bonus]
11. Inferno At The Carpathian Mountains
12. Berlin


It's no secret that Martin Van Drunen is a legendary death metal vocalist. Also, most people that would approach this release are doing so due to the fact of his inclusion in the band's lineup. If I do say so myself; his strangled, sick, sick, sick voice is in its most harmonious (only figuratively, mind you) home with Hail Of Bullets. It just so happens to be a perfect fit with the compositions of these Bolt Thrower-meets-Dismember-esque instant classics. So, those yearning for an actual studio recording of Van Drunen's brief stint in Bolt Thrower need fret no longer. This is better than that would have been. Take my word for it.

With Of Frost And War, I am delighted to boast of the best "chainsaw"-styled Swedish death metal production my opinionated ears have heard since Dismember's Massive Killing Capacity (except, this time on a remarkable body of work). I 'm not sure if it's the compression or what, but the overall sonic experience is almost pleasant compared to the bleeding-ears effect of more popular Scandinavian death metal classics. Every damned instrument is presented at optimum display. This is also refreshing for an album of this style that is fronted my the larynx shredding of Martin Van Drunen. A smoother backdrop, in my imaginative opinion, is a much better idea than going for the deliberately unpleasant sound that some (if not most) metal eardrum rapists of the north go for.

As for songwriting, I need not elaborate too extensively, given the comparisons mentioned earlier. Just take those aforementioned comparisons, take away the disposable songs that mildly infest those groups' catalogs (chill...you know that I'm not making that up), and polish it with magic tarnish-remover. Sounds pretty killer, huh? Go on. You know you want to go find this. You'll thank me, if only silently.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 10


Band profile: Hail Of Bullets
Album: ...Of Frost And War


 


written by Tristus Scriptor | 12.10.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Misfit74 - 12.10.2012 at 08:45  
Agree on all counts. One of my favorite death metal albums period.

The riffing and guitar sound is magnificent. The drums are fantastic. The bass does its job well and the vocals need no remark. The composition of songs and creatively seamless transitions within those songs is really beautiful, for lack of a better word. Best of all, every track start to finish is excellent. This is a finely honed formula that melds the atmosphere and brutality of war with the most powerful and pristine death metal guitar sounds in the genre. Classic.
Tristus Scriptor - 12.10.2012 at 21:26  
Written by Misfit74 on 12.10.2012 at 08:45

Agree on all counts. One of my favorite death metal albums period.

The riffing and guitar sound is magnificent. The drums are fantastic. The bass does its job well and the vocals need no remark. The composition of songs and creatively seamless transitions within those songs is really beautiful, for lack of a better word. Best of all, every track start to finish is excellent. This is a finely honed formula that melds the atmosphere and brutality of war with the most powerful and pristine death metal guitar sounds in the genre. Classic.

Glad to know I'm not the only one who was blown away by this one. Yeah, this type of death metal doesn't have a million signature changes, tons of arpeggio sweeps as riffs (that gets old to me), or vocals that you'd have to tune a bass guitar down a whole octave to match; but, dammit...it's such a well thought out disc.
Marcel Hubregtse - 12.10.2012 at 21:50  
It's not without reason that this album was "Death Metal Staff Pick For 2008"
Tristus Scriptor - 12.10.2012 at 22:06  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 12.10.2012 at 21:50

It's not without reason that this album was "Death Metal Staff Pick For 2008"

Well, I totally get why- as my review exemplifies.
Marcel Hubregtse - 12.10.2012 at 22:12  
Written by Tristus Scriptor on 12.10.2012 at 22:06


Well, I totally get why- as my review exemplifies.



SO do I

Been following the band/supergroup ever since just before their debut e.p. But then again how can a band go wrong consisting of old school death metal luminaries such as Martin van Drunen, Ed Warby, Stephan Gebédi, Paul Baayens and Theo van Eekelen? Damn that line up goes back to the mid eighties when it comes to playing death metal. A couple were amnongst the first to ever dabble with death metal.

Btw live they are even better than on album imo.
Tristus Scriptor - 12.10.2012 at 23:53  
Wow. That is one of my wishes- to see a Martin-fronted band live. I was lucky enough to open for The Crown when Tompa was fronting them (which was a wonderful sound change for them; if only temporary), so seeing Hail of Bullets would feel like that to me. Side-note: Tomas Lindberg is one of the kindest and most entertaining frontmen of all time. Screw those that say (since his style is so profusely imitated) that they are tired of hearing his type of vocal. I love death metal singers that derive a growl from a scream, like van Drunen, Lindberg, and Tardy.
Marcel Hubregtse - 12.10.2012 at 23:57  
Written by Tristus Scriptor on 12.10.2012 at 23:53

Wow. That is one of my wishes- to see a Martin-fronted band live.


Then you should move here, cause quite often it's either Hail Of Bullets or Asphyx live here or nearby
Tristus Scriptor - 13.10.2012 at 00:39  
Haha. That would be cool. Before I met my wife, my plan was to move somewhere like Ireland or a country with a lot of pale, redheaded women. But, alas...I'm rooted in Texas now. She's a pretty, pale chick, though. She's also pretty METAL when she wants to be. I'm happy. I'd love to see more European and Scandinavian bands, though. We get so see another of my current favorites soon- Cattle Decapitation- with Dying Fetus and Cerebral Bore. Not bad for Chainsaw Massacre-land. Besides, Cerebral Bore ain't American, and I do so love their stuff. Takes the Cryptopsy sound, and the "slam/brutal" style, and un-trendies it. A lot of the bands where I grew up (Ozarks) are very old-school. I'm used to the stripped-down, 90s sound live (like Hail of Bullets, Obituary, Massacre, etc.). Back when my old death metal band played, everyone was stuck in the good old 90s.
Marcel Hubregtse - 13.10.2012 at 00:44  
Written by Tristus Scriptor on 13.10.2012 at 00:39

Haha. That would be cool. Before I met my wife, my plan was to move somewhere like Ireland or a country with a lot of pale, redheaded women. But, alas...I'm rooted in Texas now. She's a pretty, pale chick, though. She's also pretty METAL when she wants to be. I'm happy. I'd love to see more European and Scandinavian bands, though. We get so see another of my current favorites soon- Cattle Decapitation- with Dying Fetus and Cerebral Bore. Not bad for Chainsaw Massacre-land. Besides, Cerebral Bore ain't American, and I do so love their stuff. Takes the Cryptopsy sound, and the "slam/brutal" style, and un-trendies it. A lot of the bands where I grew up (Ozarks) are very old-school. I'm used to the stripped-down, 90s sound live (like Hail of Bullets, Obituary, Massacre, etc.). Back when my old death metal band played, everyone was stuck in the good old 90s.



So what band did you play in? S.P.O.R.K. or Isolated Fields. Well at least that is what MA came up with when I filled in your real name (I am guessing the one in your profile is the real one)

My guess wouyld be SPORK seeing when the bands disbanded or stared
Tristus Scriptor - 13.10.2012 at 09:39  
Lol. That's cool that you found that. But, actually- those were quick little projects. 'Cept Isolated opened for Behemoth and Six Feet Under once. The band that got to share the stage with The Crown, Monstrosity, and bigger, more trendy (no offense to them) bands like Shadows Fall and God Forbid, was Noctopia- a melodic death metal band that I'm most proud of remembering. I was at my peak back then. Thanks for the interest. (Are we deviating from the rules, since this doesn't apply to Hail of Bullets? Serious question, as I like to be considerate of the moderators. If it's all good, then wonderful! I never get a chance to remember that stuff in a positive light!) \m/

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