HAIL OF BULLETS Launch New Album Teaser

Hail of Bullets - III The Rommel ChroniclesDutch Death metal band HAIL OF BULLETS have launched the first video teaser for their upcoming new album, III The Rommel Chronicles. Yes, another World War II-themed album.

A full new song, track listing and pre-order options will be launched next Monday, September, 9th.

Death metal guru Dan Swanö about the new HOB longplayer: “Hail of Bullets return for their 3rd album, armed to the teeth with a thunderous Death Metal onslaught that combines the raw ferocity of the 1st album with the more expanded arrangements of the 2nd. A Death Metal masterpiece!”

New ASPHYX Album Cover Posted Online; Live Dates Scheduled

Dutch doom-death metal legends ASPHYX have now finished work on their 8th studio album, Deathhammer. Set to be released on February 27th, 2012 in Europe and February 28th, 2012 in North America via Century Media Records, Deathhammer features artwork by the band’s long-time partner in designs, Axel HermannIn regards to their newfound collaboration, both parties comment:

ASPHYX and Axel Hermann is a fusion that has always functioned perfectly…from the days of The Rack back in 1991, ’til Deathhammer in 2012. Like others such as Dan Swanö, Axel may be considered as an external member of the band and when we asked him to do the Deathhammer cover–and as usual we would leave him free in his expression–we were very pleased to hear he was willing to take it on.

“…And the man has exceeded himself! To the perfect death metal album comes the perfect cover that still leaves enough to everyone’s imagination. We hope he is as proud as we are on the final result. It seems all falls into place for this deathdozer of an album. I guess Axel can expect an offer from Le Louvre any time now.” – Martin van Drunen, ASPHYX

“A cover is the visual extension of an album that translates music and emotional intentions (or should I say aggression) into a clear statement of what to expect before taking the record off the shelf. In seldom cases you’re ending up with two perfect sides of the same coin. With ASPHYX and myself it has always and luckily been that case. And I am really proud of that! Show ’em Death and hit them with a hammer…visually and musically! Guess, we flipped the coin once more!?” – Axel Hermann

Recorded at The Mörser Studio as well as at Harrow Studio with their long-time engineer Harry Wijering, Deathhammer was mixed and mastered in Sweden by Dan Swanö, who previously worked with the band on Death…The Brutal Way as well as on the Live Death Doom release.

Prior to the album’s release, ASPHYX will perform a very special concert at this year’s Eindhoven Metal Meeting on December 16th, at the Effenaar club in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, where the band will be playing The Rack album in its entirety for the 20th anniversary of its release. Additionally, ASPHYX have already been confirmed for the 2012 editions of the ExtremeFest, July 5th to 7th in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as well as the upcoming edition of the legendary Obscene Extreme Festival in Czech Republic on July 14th.

PESTILENCE- Doctrine

When PESTILENCE announced their reformation, hopes were high for Resurrection Macabre, especially after the band drifted into obscurity with the strange, jazz fusion influenced album, Spheres. Resurrection was a decent album with a few high points, but like most bands that take an extended break, that offering was only a mere shell of the greatness in which PESTILENCE once was. While nobody expects Doctrine to be compared to such classics like Consuming Impulse and Testimony of the Ancients, Doctrine is a complete flop and makes Resurrection Macabre look like a masterpiece.

After the mandatory intro, “Amgod” starts off promising with a catchy riff and blast beat only to slow down into a weak mid paced riff, which unfortunately is the theme of the entire album. When vocalist Patrick Mameli comes in with his first scream, it’s so heinous and atrocious that one can wonder how vocals of this caliber can be considered as professional, even within the underground death metal scene. Mameli has lost any growl or power he once had, and instead resorts to a hoarse and throaty scream. The album is a haphazard grab bag with “Doctrine” and “Salvation,” which contain slow, drawn out riffs, while other songs like “Malignant” or “Absolution” try to sound groovy and ultra heavy. Doctrine is uninspired, completely flat, and unworthy of the PESTILENCE moniker. New drummer, Yuma Van Eekelen is fantastic live, and does his best to spice up the songs, but the riffs are so bland that there’s not much that he, or fretless bass wizard, Jeroen Paul Thesseling, can do to improve the music.

Doctrine is disappointing in all aspects, as the album is a poor slab of half written riffs and hooks thrown together. Mameli should end PESTILENCE quietly at this time, so he doesn’t tarnish the history of the band further. Fans who are disappointed with this release should check out the latest HAIL OF BULLETS with ex-PESTILENCE vocalist Martin Van Drunen, or Thesseling’s other band, OBSCURA instead, because Doctrine leaves an unpleasant taste in your mouth. (Mascot Records)

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2010

December is here, so it is time for us, the APESHIT goons, to share with you our list of metal albums that made an impression on us in 2010. Meaningful and meaningless, but sharing is caring. Bang your head and enjoy!
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HAIL OF BULLETS – On Divine Winds

HAIL OF BULLETS showed tremendous potential with their debut album …Of Frost and War, and teased us next with the Warsaw Rising EP. Most bands show some drop off with their sophomore album, but no drop off is found with On Divine Winds, only catchy tunes and heavy riffs. Moving from the European Offensive to the Far East Asian war zones, the new album gives another heavy dosage of war and atrocities.

Gearing for war, “The Eve of Battle” is an appropriate intro that leads into “Operation Z” – the track about the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Swedish “buzzsaw” guitar sound trademarked by bands like ENTOMBED, GRAVE, and DISMEMBER is emulated perfectly. The production is thick and clear, with the bass and guitar crunch sludgy enough to give the songs an extra push to damage some ear drums. Van Drunen’s distinct vocals are less John Tardy-ish this time around, and spew forth plenty of energy. The well placed vocal patterns and riff centered hooks are a great tandem to the basic but tight drumming. “The Mukden Incident” has BOLT THROWER-style riffs, but HAIL OF BULLETS executes with more precision and tightness than the UK legends in playing these riffs. Much of the formula for the band is having mid paced songs and aggressive and consistent double bass, as demonstrated in “Full Scale War” and “Guadalcanal.”

Towards the latter tracks, the lyrics focus on the Japanese and the result of World War II. “Unsung Heroes” is a dedication to all the prisoners of war that both survived and died at the hands of the Japanese army. “Tokyo Napalm Holocaust” is slow, constant, and heavy, much like the bombing that rained from the skies decades ago. “Kamikaze” is a full on, head first attack, much like the warriors that fought to the death for their country; being the ultimate patriots, sacrificing their young lives to destroy the enemy. Towards the end of the war with no choice but to surrender, the Japanese, as the closing track implies, “To Bear the Unbearable,” and shamefully surrender, promptly closes out this chapter of the HAIL OF BULLETS saga.

On Divine Winds shows the younger metal generation that death metal doesn’t need blast beats to be amazing, as there are zero blast beats found on this album. Heavy riffs with DISMEMBER/GRAVE guitar tones, an amazing vocalist, and solid drumming packs just as heavy a punch as an all out blast beat SUFFOCATION clone. The lyrical content for the album is intelligent and based on historical facts, so hopefully the listener can do some actual research on the events that took place, and appreciate On Divine Winds fully, both lyrically, and musically. (Metal Blade Records)

HAIL OF BULLETS Finish Recording for Second Studio Album

Dutch death metal masters HAIL OF BULLETS have finished the recordings for their long-anticipated second full-length to be released this October.

Comments drummer Ed Warby (GOREFEST): “I don’t think I’ve ever worked this hard on anything in my entire life, but it sure has paid off! Although ‘Of Frost And War‘ is a tough act to follow, my ringing ears tell me we’ve succeeded in besting it on every level: songs, playing, production…at the moment Dan Swanö is putting the final touches on a mix that could squash a tank, and then it’s off to the pressing plant! All the main ingredients of our blood ‘n’ guts style death metal have remained intact and I honestly can’t imagine anyone that liked our previous work is going to be the least bit disappointed, on the contrary!”

The soon-to-be-titled album was produced by Ed Warby and like before, the mix was in the capable hands of Dan Swanö.

HAIL OF BULLETS
nailed down 11 songs plus intro.

More details on pre-orders, streaming MP3s, track listing, and the new artwork will be released shortly.

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2008

We finally got off our asses and did it.  It’s already the year 2009, but we’ve complied a list of our top albums of 2008.  Compiling such a list is never easy, and 2008 was no exception.  Maybe it was a lack of albums that really stood out, or maybe we just weren’t paying enough attention.  Regardless, we took a quick look back on the metal albums we felt were notable in 2008.
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HAIL OF BULLETS – Of Frost and War

In an age where death metal seems to be defined by who the fastest, most technical band is, it’s cool to hear a group sit out the tech-shred olympics and focus on what really counts–writing catchy, heavy songs. Leave it to Martin Van Drunen (PESTILENCE, ASPHYX, BOLT THROWER) to show the new school punks how it’s done with his new heavy-as-a-tank band, HAIL OF BULLETS. Joining Martin in his onslaught is most of THANATOS handling the strings and GOREFEST‘s Ed Warby on drums. Ambitiously enough, the Dutch death squad’s debut, a 13-track crusher, Of Frost and War, is a concept album chronicling the Eastern front offensive between the Germans and Russians during World War II . “Before the Storm” sets the stage with ominous keys, setting a somber tone. But from “Ordered Eastward” through the final track “Berlin,” it’s all business. “Ordered Eastward” provides maximum buzzsaw riffage and drum pounding, before Van Drunen‘s unmistakable hoarse growls pierce the speakers. The song arrives at an absolutley crushing mid-section replete with powerful guitar harmonies and some guest vocal spice from Dan Swanö (EDGE OF SANITY, BLOODBATH). “The Lake Lagoda Massacre” and “General Winter” both counter with doom-beyond-death sludge before kicking in with an AUTOPSY vs. ASPHYX vs. MASSACRE battle of old school riffs. “Advancing once More” and “Nachthexen” meanwhile, unleash a firestorm of thunderous rhythms. “Insanity Commands” on the other hand alternates between an atmosphere of slow, impending doom and furious, headbanging groove. Of Frost and War is a rock-solid hammer of an album, devoid of nonsense and pointless noodling .It’s heavy, mean and ugly everything a real death metal record should be. (Metal Blade Records)