Review : HAIL OF BULLETS – "On Divine Winds"

Hail Of Bullets – On Divine Winds
Release date: 2010Oct12 (US)
Label: Metal Blade
Rating: 4.5/5

Hail Of Bullets is a crossover death/grind band formed in 2006. It consists of past and current members of Asphyx (Martin Van Drunen, vocals), Gorefest (Ed Warby, drums), Thanatos (Stephen Gebedi, guitar) and Houwitser (Theo Van Eekelen, bass). Their debut, Of Frost And War was released in 2008 also on Metal Blade. On Divine Winds is technically a concept album based around the rise and fall of the Japanese Empire.

“The Eve Of Battle” starts things off in a calming manner, giving way to “Operation Z” (which is a code name for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor). The ears are greeted by thrashing drums with deathly creaks and groans and the lyrics “from the kuriles, steaming south, to ride the tiger, climb the mount, undiscovered, in misty cold, high stake gamble, the crippling blow”. Imagine a battlefield in the opening throes of war. “The Mukden Incident” puts a greater emphasis on the the team of Gebedi and Eekelen to lead the charge with Warby’s machine-gun drums.

Each song is meant to tie in with a particular conflict, leading up to “Full Blown War”. At this point, the ears are greeted by a sinister, uncompromising drone with an urgency that conjures images of tanks mowing down Allied soldiers, pushed along by merciless blast beats. “Guadalcanal” marks the high-water point of the Japanese empire with a continuing urgency followed by more droning interplay between Gebedi, Eekelen, and Warby. “Tokyo Napalm Holocaust” marks the first wide usage of napalm in WWII. Warby’s drums simulate planes dropping fire from the gods, illustrating a sinister tone and the screams of those who ran in fear. “Kamikaze” marks the desperate suicidal attempts by the Empire to cripple Allied ships with the following lyrics: “Out of the rising sun, into their death they fly, messengers of destruction, glorious suicide, sacrificing squadrons, one cannot shoot them all, AA gunners blasting, deafening fireballs”. “To Bear The Unbearable” closes things off on a somber note.

On Divine Winds manages to emulate the horrors and realities of war using a potent mix of death/grindcore. Hail of Bullets have written an excellent concept album that encourages the listener to read up on the history of the battles fought between the Allied soldiers and the Japanese Empire.

FCC: Clean
Try: 2, 510, 11

01. The Eve Of Battle
02. Operation Z
03. The Mukden Incident
04. Strategy Of Attrition
05. Full Blown War
06. Guadalcanal
07. On Coral Shores
08. Unsung Heroes
09. Tokyo Napalm Holocaust
10. Sugar Loaf Hill (Bonus Track)
11. Kamikaze
12. To Bear The Unbearable

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