Posts Tagged ‘Hail of Bullets’

This is a revelation of an ongoing project I have been working on for a while now. History is important to metal, in many shapes and forms. History is also very important to me. It is what I got my degree in at university, it was the subject I was best at at school, and it is a hobby of mine. I like to seek out the lesser told parts of history, the parts you don’t learn about at school, the parts that have no bearing on my homeland or my life. These are the things that interest me. It seems to be a theme in my life, as my music is another place where I search for the obscure, the less popular, the different. Thankfully, all those things are ably found with help of the big bad web.

Metalheads revere the HISTORY of their genre; the older bands that laid the way for the new bands that appear every day. Bands like Mercyful Fate, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Venom, Death and of course, Black Sabbath. The latter being the most important of them all. But what unites many bands is their appreciation of human history, of events long past. In many cases it is war, be it the World War II themed death metal of Hail of Bullets or the juggernaut of Bolt Thrower. War is a central theme through hundreds of metal bands.

Inspiration from people of great evil from human history is another common theme, be it the malicious Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the ‘Hangman of Prague’ Reinhard Heydrich or the galloping butcher Attila the Hun. Tales of their roles in history are tied to metal songs, and there are many more I haven’t mentioned. But it seems that HISTORY as a subject is important in many ways.

Our most famous examples of such bands include Iron Maiden, Sabaton, Hail of Bullets, Bolt Thrower, Eastern Front and so on. But numerous other songs with some rooting in a historical place, time or figure exist. I want to examine how important it is as a form of expression. How these times in the past are considered worthy of immortalising in a song. What bands find in the themes or symbolism of the past that is revelant to their particular message. As I have started this research, it amazes me how frequently historical references appear in metal songs. They are everywhere, from the blasting Marduk to the psychedelica of The Meads of Asphodel; from the fist pumping heavy metal of Saxon to the howling death of Nile.

Footnote: I am, wherever possible, trying to stay away from mythological referencing, as that would make this project massively unwieldy and potentially inaccurate. I have a great respect for mythology, and I do believe a lot of it will have roots in real events or people. But as a historian myself, I will seek the evidence rather than the conjecture. I’ll examine how the stories of the past work as metal songs or inspirations. This is going to be a passion project that will see the light of day in the future. One hopes

 

Asphyx are fucking awesome. Why? If you’re asking that question, then you’re on the wrong blog and you should probably leave… If you haven’t left, then I’ll humour you for the time being. Asphyx are Dutch, they’re death metal (the brutal way) and they have in amongst their ranks one of my favourite death metal vocalists, Martin Van Drunen. He also growls like fuck in Hail of Bullets, World War II themed death metallers (also highly recommended).

What is also awesome about Asphyx is that they disappeared around 2000 before returning with a bang in 2009 with ‘Death… The Brutal Way’. Bands who go on hiatus or split up and then reform should be forced to listen to ‘Death… The Brutal Way’ on full volume repeatedly to show how comeback records should be fucking done. It is a lesson in quality death/doom, with the emphasis on death. It is relentlessly punishing, while never losing that slow, crushing riff.

If you need a reason to like this band, find debut record ‘The Rack’ or follow-up ‘Last Ones on Earth’. The latter contains my favourite Asphyx track, ‘Food for the Ignorant’. Then go for their latest, ‘Deathhammer’. Asphyx are proof that you can always rely on the old guard, especially with European death metal, to produce excellent new records that stand up with their classics. They Doom Us to Death

My friend asked me to do a blog on metal Christmas songs. Turns out that was a balls idea since I only know like 4, BUT it gave me an idea. Since it is the season to be cold, wet and generally miserable, I’ve decided to put together a list of ‘The Most Badass Songs With Winter In The Title!’

1. Blind Guardian – Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns): a fantastic piece of dark, bombastic power metal majesty

2. Sunn 0))) – Cursed Realm of the Winterdemons: The Immortal track was classic, but this cover is mind suffocatingly dense

3. Darkthrone – The Pagan Winter: Icy black metal from Norway’s finest sons

4. Sodom – Nuclear Winter: vicious early thrash from the German legends

5. Dragonforce – Black Winter Night: before they went all 500mph, Dragonforce were actually a pretty good power metal band

6. Immortal – At the Heart of Winter: the title track to probably my favourite Immortal record. At the heart of winter, there stands Immortal

7. Swallow the Sun – Descending Winters: crushing death/doom that truly feels like the cold is caving in

8. Wintersun – Winter Madness: melodic death metal at its purest, finest moments

9. Hail of Bullets – General Winter: an ominous air raid siren ushers in this juddering death metal classic about the harsh Russian cold

10. Cathedral – Aphrodites Winter: Another slab of finest English doom from the sadly retired legends.

So there we have it, that’s my top ten tracks involving winter. In fairness, I could’ve have just done an Immortal greatest hits, but that would’ve been lazy…!