Hail Of Bullets are back with their third full length album at the end of the month. The Dutch old school death metallers are experts in creating proper traditional sounding death metal. ‘III The Rommel Chronicles’ continues the band’s tradition of marrying death metal with detailed historical themes. This album concentrates on German field marshal Erwin Rommel, an admired and feared strategist of war, with the lyrics painting out the theatre of battle to a heavy metal soundtrack.
The bands vocalist, Martin Van Drunen, is the main researcher for the historical content of Hail Of Bullets and it doesn’t go to waste. His vocals are unmistakeably death metal vocals but they are decipherable enough for them to be understood. There’s also plenty of spoken word bits too but they’re not all in English…
The thunderous groove in the riffs and drums are up there with the best. This album bowls along with an unstoppable force which again qualifies the military theme. The raw production and rough buzzing guitars cook up images of troops surging forward in the deep mud with gunshot drums erupting all around.
‘The Desert Fox’ just about has it all. From desperation filled vocals, thundering rhythms and soaring guitars pieces to an eerie doom-ridden riff to close the track. ‘Tobruk’ continues the style with even more urgency whereas you may lump ‘To the Last Breath of Man and Beast’ in the melodic category were it not for a ferocious vocal performance and an At The Gates style slicing riff.
‘The Death of a Field Marshall’ is a more melancholy track and appropriately brings the album to a close. It has a slow bass-heavy groove that could wake the dead.
It’s been a vintage year for death metal. Carcass have pulled off the mother of all comebacks and Entrails and Exhumed have weighed in a couple of corkers too. Hail Of Bullets manage to capture the very beginnings of death metal with precision and sincerity and ‘III The Rommel Chronicles’ shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s big, brooding and unapologetically simple in approach but it hits the spot perfectly.