November 17, 2010 | , | 4

Hail of Bullets, On Divine Winds

Hail of Bullets: On Divine Winds

Having already conquered Eastern European campaigns with 2008’s …Of Frost and War — encompassing the German/Soviet conflict during the latter half of WWII — Hail of Bullets set their sites on the Pacific Front. Massive not just in thematic scope, but also sheer bludgeoning sound, this latest effort from the Dutch supergroup is chock full of Japan’s rise and fall, the attack on Perl Harbor and the eventual end of battle through atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Once again produced by Dan Swano, On Divine Winds is a huge album. Buzzing riffs come across like several thousand lead bees flying from muzzles in every direction. The rhythms section brings visions of rumbling tanks and earth rattling bombing runs. The mid-paced and slower tempos found throughout the disc lend a bit of a crushing groove to a few of the songs that, when subtle melodies are incorporated, will have heads nodding along in no time.

The Eve Of Battle
This minute long opener helps set the solemn mood that the rest of the album carries. It can probably be skipped in future listening.

Operation Z
The albums first single chronicles the initial blow by Japanese forces on the U.S. with the surprise attack on Perl Harbor. After the brief clip of Kamikazes crashing from the skies in their suicide missions, the band gets down to business with big riffs, pummeling drums and a thick overall vibe. This is a crushing track and really gets you excited for the rest of the album. I love the groove around the 2:30 mark. Be sure to check out the video below.

The Mukden Incident
Man, this album not one crushes skulls like tank tracks over deceased soldiers, but it’s also a pretty viable educational tool. A quick Wikipedia search lists the Mukden Incident (or Manchurian Incident) as a precursor to Japan and China’s role in global combat during the years that spanned WWII. As for the music, there’s a solemn vibe to the thick riffs that are accompanied with rolling drums and vicious vocals. The soulful, distant lead at 2:20 only adds to the overall vibe of the track. I’m digging the hell out of this album so far.

Strategy Of Attrition
Raucous drums, thick bass and churning riffs get “Strategy of Attrition” off to a bruising start. Man, the depth and power of each track on this album is immense. The vocal work has been consistent and appropriate for the chugging death metal that fills the album, but it has more of a ragged feel on this particular track. There’s a decent grove flowing through this song, as well.

Full Scale War
I love the solemn vibe to the opening guitars in addition to the rolling drums. It really gives the song a bleak tone like you’re sitting on some body-strewn beach early in the morning, awaiting orders to storm the enemy entrenched in the mountainous tree line before you. Sick song!

Dueling riffs dominate the opening to this next song as the more ragged, desperate sounding vocals come in. This is a beefy, churning song that is one of my favorite on the album. It’s one of the more aggressive tracks on the album and some nicely timed tempo changes to keep you on your toes.

On Choral Shores
Man, I love the opening guitar work that gets this one going. It’s slow moving and somber, but quickly gives way to massive, buzzing riffs and strategic drums. “On Choral Shores” is a thick track with slightly deeper vocals and bruising rhythms. Head banging mayhem is sure to follow this suffucatingly thick riffs, especially as the tempo ramps up a good bit just after the two minute mark. This is a killer track.

Unsung Heroes
A more melodic tone to the opening guitar work helps set this next track apart from the rest a bit. It’s got a more uplifting vibe, but is still vicious as fuck. This high energy, up-tempo track is about the Bataan death marches and those that survived this particular ordeal. There’s some sick soloing around 1:40 that cannot be missed and the unrelenting drums reenact the constant marching and beatings the prisoners endured. Pretty slick song.

Tokyo Napalm Holocaust
And now, we finally come to the most awesomely destructive event of WWII. Two separate atomic bombs are dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, thusly ending Japan’s involvement in the war. The music on this song, starts off slowly like the monotonous flight of the bombers as they make their way toward the two cities. The vocals to the track go into great detail of the mechanisms and chemical reaction contained within that split-second of atomic fusion and explosion. It’s a dark track that ways heavy and thick with doomy riffs.

Sugarloaf Hill
Some seriously punishing drum work gets this next one rolling along at a good clip as the driving riffs come in. This one feels like the ebb and flow of a constant battle to take this hill before the allied forces took Okinawa. It’s a well crafted song with plenty of temp shifts and energy to power you through.

The first thing you hear on this next track is some slick guitar reverb that automatically puts images of dive-bombing Japanese fighters as they plunge into troops and battleships below. “Kamikaze” is a frenetic, high energy track that’s an all out assault on your skull with driving riff, unrelenting drum work and thick rhythms. Fucking awesome song.

To Bear The Unbearable
The final track to close out another stellar album starts off with a soulful, melancholy lead that really sets a somber tone. With lyrics describing the shame and dishonor of Japan’s loss, “To Bear The Unbearable” is an epic track, relying mostly on the music (with minimal vocal interaction) to drive the song forward. It’s beautifully somber and dark with suffocating riffs that weigh heavy and an appropriately slow moving pace. It’s the perfect song to end On Divine Winds.

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