Hail of Bullet’s – III: The Rommel Chronicles


Hail of Bullets formed when Martin van Drunen joined ex-Thanatos, Gorefest and Asphyx personnel to make a modern metal project with the intensity of old school death metal. Drawing heavily from related act Houwitser, the band specialized in pounding chorus-emphatic songs that used the simpler song structures of grindcore to accentuate the abrasive riffing of old school death metal applied with a modern metal sense of rhythm and production.

The band launched their third effort in 2013 with III: The Rommel Chronicles. This album more closely resembles late hardcore bands like Terror than death metal. The bouncy nature of the riffs and rhythms along with the metalcore-esque melodies present to us a more fun and friendly flavor of death metal in complete contrast to the death metal lexicon.

Reading the lyrics makes one feel as if they focused entirely on the lyrical aspect and assembled songs as a vehicle for those lyrics. Emphasis on riffs declines with the need to present vocals foremost. Slower riffs sound like they drifted over from a Whitechapel song. Martin van Drunen’s vocals sound as vicious as ever but that does not save the underlying problem: a lack of emphasis on riffs and song structure to fit them as has been the hallmark of quality death metal since its inception.

III: The Rommel Chronicles disguises metalcore as grinding death metal like Asphyx at the time of The Rack, creating death metal by style, not spirit. While there is much to like about this all-star lineup and many of its aesthetic choices, the underlying music cannot back up that promise and so the album feels hollow and expedient. Leave the trenches, because nothing is happening.

8 thoughts on “Hail of Bullet’s – III: The Rommel Chronicles

  1. The Critic says:

    Sounds like something later Gorefest would do mashed up with metalcore. This sucks.

  2. phallus says:

    Van Drunen fangirls are going to love this.

  3. Dr.evil says:

    Comparing Hail of Bullets with metalcore…how absurd!!!

    1. Richard Head says:

      Is it? What do you think metalcore is? Maybe you don’t know, so if not, I’ll explain: Metalcore bands use freer song structuring than a typical rock band (verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus) and this usually means disjointed songs with jarring and compositionally incompetent transitions. Open-ended structure notwithstanding, songs still emphasize hooks in the chorus or guitar leads and rely on those hooks to make the songs memorable if not at least identifiable. Harmonically, metalcore songs sometimes stray from a key root but usually stay within typical 4-chord rock progressions. The defining trait of metalcore is the use of death metal-style guitar distortion, string tuning, and drum patterns. Is any of this sounding familiar?

    2. trystero says:

      They are both shit enough that they are beyond the point of being registered. The musical arguments, arguments of authenticity or spirit etc. are all secondary. Summarized: This shit is as bad as KoRn!

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