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Hail of Bullets: On Divine Winds

Hail of Bullets are Dutch and as brutal as something that's very brutal indeed. In the way that Sabaton use Heavy Metal as a means to discuss war so Hail of Bullets convey their thoughts on similar themes via the medium of Death Metal and a pretty potent way it is too.

As with their debut ...Of Frost and War, actual melody is trimmed to a minimum but brute force and aggression are very much to the fore. Drummer Ed Warby also produces and this record sounds suitably crisp yet full.

I can see former Pestilence man Martin van Drunen's vocals being difficult to get into for the uninitiated but it's difficult to think that anyone would dip into On Divine Winds unless they knew exactly what they were getting themselves into.

I found, whilst listening and reviewing that it was difficult to pick out one track to single out but equally that once I had put the album on I was going to get to the end no matter what which must be a good thing. If pushed, I'd plump for "The Mukden Incident" as the best track because of the big riffs but to be honest that description could mean any other song from a very confident release.

It would be churlish of me not to point out that via their website (see link below) there is a chance to sing karaoke with the band. Good luck if you choose to do so!


Track Listing
1. The Eve Of Battle
2. Operation Z
3. The Mukden Incident
4. Strategy Of Attrition
5. Full Scale War
6. Guadalcanal
7. On Coral Shores
8. Unsung Heroes
9. Tokyo Napalm Holocaust
10. Sugar Loaf Hill (bonus track on ltd. 1st Digibook edition!)
11. Kamikaze
12. To Bear The Unbearable

Added: January 12th 2011
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 934
Language: english

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Hail of Bullets: On Divine Winds
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-01-12 07:00:18
My Score:

Full Scale War

For a band with such prolific and well-respected musicians as that of Hail of Bullets, it's hard to not expect a lot from On Divine Winds. Serving as the supergroup's second full-length outing, it's clear that these guys are still all about delivering "real" death metal (which is a good thing). Unfortunately, the album rarely reaches the level of excellence that I would expect from this cast of musicians. I hate to say this, but the vast majority of On Divine Winds is dull, uninspired, and generic death metal with no innovation in any form. While I can easily look past the innovation factor, the sub-par compositions and monotonous feeling throughout the album severely blemish my listening experience. On Divine Winds has plenty of positives that may make it worth checking out for some people, but I can't call it anything more than another mediocre death metal release.

The music here is old school-styled death metal with a few touches of Swedish death metal. While that sounds like something I would really enjoy, the compositional aspect is incredibly weak. Even right after listening to the album, recalling more than a few riffs is a difficult task. The lack of memorable songwriting is really the crippling factor that On Divine Winds suffers from. Aside from a few other knocks in terms of Hail of Bullets' derivative sound and the lack of variation on the album, most everything else is excellent. I especially enjoy the war-themed lyrics, not unlike fellow-countrymen God Dethroned. The musicians are equally excellent, especially Ed Warby - what a drummer! The production also suits the music perfectly. It seems as though the delivery aspect is spot-on, but even that can't completely cover up the lack of memorable songwriting and generic tone throughout the album. If Hail of Bullets works on making more memorable tunes and a more original sound, I could forecast a very strong third album. Unfortunately, that isn't the case here.

Conclusion:

On Divine Winds is a decent death metal album by Hail of Bullets, but not much more than that. I must confess that I was quite disappointed with this release - it could've been so much better. I'll go with a 2.5-3 star rating here. The musicians are talented, the production is great, and their lyrics are well-written, but that can't cover up sub-par songwriting and an unadventurous attitude. Fans of the band's first album may want to pick this up, though I can't say I was too impressed by it.



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