While heavy metal is a genre that’s all about pushing things to newer, more extreme territories, sometimes bands are so busy chasing down the latest and greatest trend that they forget the basics. Fortunately, Hail of Bullets is not one of these bands. Rather than weighing the songs down with unnecessary breakdowns, electronic beats, and dance synths, the Dutch band takes a simpler, more straightforward approach. With blunt, heavy riffs, thunderous double bass drumming, and songs about explosions, death, and the horrors of war, On Divine Winds finds the band channeling the old-school death metal of the war-obsessed Bolt Thrower. In a world where there’s a musical arms race to be the fastest, most technical kid on the block, Hail of Bullets’ straight-ahead heaviness is kind of refreshing. Songs like “Unsung Heroes” and “The Muckden Incident” are classic, no-frills death metal that bowl the listener over with walls of thick guitars and furious drumming. What’s most amazing about the record isn’t that the band sounds like Bolt Thrower and Autopsy, but instead it’s that they sound the way one remembers those bands sounding back in the day, giving listeners a taste of the way things were, but with all off the crispness of modern recording to combat the murky, muffled sound of some of those old records. Fans of old-school death/doom will definitely find kindred spirits in Hail of Bullets, and shouldn’t hesitate to give On Divine Winds a spin.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney