Hail Of Bullets
posted on 7/2009 By:
Fresh from a well-received debut album, a string of summer festival dates, and approximately thirty seven thousand Bolt Thrower comparisons, Hail of Bullets have struck again while the iron is hot. With Warsaw Rising, this Dutch death metal supergroup have delivered an EP in the same format favored by many established bands. Featuring two new tracks, a cover, and three live recordings, Warsaw Rising is hardly essential, but serves as an opportunity for the band to have a bit of fun and demonstrate their live prowess.
If you’ve not been gobbling up every bit of quality death metal for the last year or so, you might’ve missed this band’s meteoric ascent. Featuring members of Asphyx, Houwitser, Thanatos and Gorefest, Hail of Bullets play weighty, simple, war-themed DM with a serious crush on Dismember’s signature guitar tone. While last year’s …Of Frost and War wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, it was an enjoyably vehement assault that included moments of real brilliance (“General Winter,” “Berlin”).
Warsaw Rising sadly features no such moments. Its two new cuts—the title thrasher and the mid-paced rumbling of “Liberators”—both achieve par for Hail of Bullets’ crater-pocked course. Unfortunately, neither of them deliver the stern majesty that characterizes the band’s finest tracks, though “Liberators” certainly takes greater advantage of the band’s massive guitar tone. The third studio track is a cover of Twisted Sister’s “Destroyer.” Honestly, any change to a Twisted Sister recording is a good one in my book, so Hail of Bullets’ reduction of the track to a grinding, amelodic lurch gets a thumbs-up from me.
Warsaw Rising’s most effective tracks are its three live cuts (“Nachthexen,” “Red Wolves of Stalin,” and “The Crucial Offensive”). I was fortunate enough to catch Hail of Bullets’ set at this year’s Maryland Death Fest, and these recordings accurately convey the band’s energy onstage, if not their studio-born heft (and Martin van Drunen’s voice sounds a little more ragged than usual, but only the pickiest listeners will notice). While they can’t entirely redeem this slightly disappointing EP, they make Warsaw Rising worth checking out for the band’s more rabid followers.
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