Interview withÂ Hail Of Bullets drummer – Ed WarbyÂ regarding the new album “On Divine Winds” andÂ the upcoming “tour”.
Since releasing ‘On Divine Winds’ only positive reviews can be found about Hail of Bullets. Together with Legion of the Damned and Asphyx Hail of Bullets redefined Dutch Metal music. How does it feel to be one of the named bands that are forming Metal music in The Netherlands?
Terrific of course! We set out to bring back a style of death metal thatâ€™s all but vanished from todayâ€™s scene in favour of the so-called more â€œbrutalâ€ variation, so itâ€™s a nice reward for our efforts to get this kind of recognition. It is a bit ironic that all of these Dutch metal-redefining bands are more or less retrogressive in their approach, but thatâ€™s fine by me.
Most of your lyrics are about warfare. Is this something you will continue on future albums?
That does seem likely, the combination of old school death metal and war-themed lyrics is a golden one and it doesnâ€™t look like Martin will run out of inspiration anytime soon. Itâ€™s a great subject for a metal band and it suits the grimness of our music well.
If so, have you already got a new “war theme” in mind?
I think so yes, but Iâ€™m not telling what itâ€™s going to be yet! Donâ€™t want to see the next Sabaton stealing our thunder, now do we?
Why did you decide to focus on these subjects?
When we started this band I made a few demos with songs Iâ€™d written and as soon as Martin heard them he decided the lyrics would deal with war, and specifically the Eastern Front,Â a subject heâ€™d been wanting to tackle for a long time but hadnâ€™t found the right band for yet. We all loved the idea, especially since it gave us an edge over the usual splatter/horror lyrics associated with death metal.
Has any issues arose about the subjects of war from different countries?
Do you mean us getting in trouble for our lyrics? Not really, thereâ€™s always a few boneheads calling us either commies or naziâ€™s (not sure which one I find most amusing) but in general the reception has been very sensible. I must say I was a bit nervous when we did our first show in Germany for Of Frost And War, Martin doesnâ€™t sugarcoat anything in his lyrics and thereâ€™s some very painful stuff in them for a German audience, but they totally accepted us. And I heard from a Japanese friend that even some Japanese magazines were impressed with our attention to and respect for historical detail and accuracy.
How much input did you have with the album art of ‘On Divine Winds’?
A lot. The cover was done by Mick Koopman who did all our releases so far. He came up with a rough version and we liked it so much we wouldnâ€™t let him change it anymore, although he tried all kinds of things. The finished cover is very similar to his first idea, and I think it looks bloody awesome. It puts you right in the action, almost like a 3D picture. The entire booklet was done by Mick as well, Martin provided the pictures so each page is exactly how we wanted it to look. Same goes for the digibook and LP editions, we basically have complete control and freedom in this area.
Are you all fully focussed on HoB or do you still work on other projects?
HoB is very important for all of us and the band gets our full attention when needed, but we all have other things going on as well. Paul and Martin are currently working on a new Asphyx album and I just started recording the next 11th Hour record which will take some time. But the oft-asked question â€œis HoB a band or a side-projectâ€ can be answered unambiguously as â€œa bandâ€.
Besides the old school bands like Bolt Thrower and Obituary are there any newer bands that inspire you?
Afraid not, the new bands we like (Facebreaker, Coffins, Funebrarum, etc.) are all inspired by the golden era of death metal so thereâ€™s no real inspiration there. The best and most inspiring band Iâ€™ve heard in ages is Triptykon but thatâ€™s basically a continuation of the mighty Celtic Frost, which was already a major influence of course.
You’ve got an upcoming tour. Are you excited about it and are there any particular places you especially look forward to playing at?
Actually itâ€™s not a tour, if you look at the dates youâ€™ll see itâ€™s only weekends. When we started this band we all agreed we wouldnâ€™t be getting on a tourbus for weeks on end to play show after show, getting bored with both our music and each other in the process. Instead we focus on doing shorter trips to different countries with the added bonus of visiting places you wouldnâ€™t normally reach by bus. I myself am very much looking forward to the big festival shows, weâ€™ll be playing the main stage at Summer Breeze for the first time after proving our mettle in the smaller tent last year, and the Brutal Assault/Party.san weekend also promises to be glorious. Maryland Death Fest and Wacken are some other ones to look forward to, and of course weâ€™re all stoked about the upcoming gig at the London Underground!
Is there any reason that your tour mainly consists of festivals?
Festivals are a great way to reach a lot of fans and it sure as hell beats trying to fill a club on a Tuesday night. We do have some clubshows booked, but the main focus is on festivals this year. If you donâ€™t tour itâ€™s the only way to really make a name for yourself and promote the current album.
What kind of crowd responses do you get at festivals?
So far weâ€™ve been rather victorious I must say, which is another reason we love festivals. Itâ€™s a great feeling to see rows and rows of people singing along with the music. Our first few gigs were all big festivals apart from one try-out in a club, so we basically established ourselves as festival-fiends right away.
Is there anything else our readers should know about Hail of Bullets?
That we kick ass, cleave skulls and take no prisoners?
Thank you for your time and good luck with the tour!
Thank you, and stay brutal!