Writing lyrics about war in death metal is nothing new. It is the forte of bands like JUNGLE ROT and BOLT THROWER, who continue to do it very well. But I can't recall a death metal album in recent memory that was as thoroughly (I presume) researched, written in such detail, and as effectively presented as "…Of Frost and War", the debut album from HAIL OF BULLETS. Delving into the frost bitten, harrowing battles that occurred when Germany invaded Russia in World War II, the descriptions of the warfare and steely resolve required of the men involved heard on songs like "Red Wolves of Stalin", "Advancing Once More", "Stalingrad", and "General Winter" are both breathtaking and disturbing. While far more than simplistic three-liners, the lyrics aren't verbose either. Color me impressed.Oh right, the band and the music… HAIL OF BULLETS boast an underground all-star cast of sorts that includes vocalist Martin Van Drunen (DEATH BY DAWN, ASPHYX, ex-PESTILENCE), bassist Theo Van Eekelen (ex-HOUWITSER), drummer Ed Warby (GOREFEST), and guitarists Paul Baayens (THANATOS, ASPHYX) and Stephan Gebedi (THANATOS). Together they have created 57 minutes of hideous old-school death metal that often sounds like the spawn of early BOLT THROWER and GRAVE. At almost an hour's worth of music, things may seem a little long in tooth for some folks, mainly because the songs aren't written with choruses with which you can sing along or patterns that hook you in. Hell, making the patterns work at all with this kind of in-depth story-telling must have been a bitch. War is a nasty business and that's exactly why "….Of Frost and War" sounds like it does. HAIL OF BULLETS hangs its collective hat on ugly-ass riffs and the kind of motoring rumble heard from the Sunlight Studio bands, as well some dirty grooving. Much of the time the album shifts from slow grind grotesqueness to up-tempo battering, while somber lead work (which enhances the dreadful images one gets of battlefield horror) and iron-scraping solos are found throughout. Topping it all off are the vocals of Van Drunen, who sounds like Lemmy Kilmister singing OBITUARY tunes. "…Of Frost and War" slams, chokes, stutters, chugs, and crawls through the cold mud, sometimes all in the same song. It's not always an easy listen, and I'm quite sure that's at least partially the point. Lyrically, it's brilliant; musically, it's solid.
To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).