Last year Hail of Bullets released a concept album in the form of ‘On Divine Winds’ which covered the ambitious story of the rise and fall of the Japanese Empire. Complex and technical death metal, the band raised their game several notches with the album (no mean feat considering the quality of their previous releases) and marked themselves out as serious contenders on the ever-crowded death metal playing field with their intelligent and historically accurate lyrics and brutally delivered technical death metal. With the band now touring Europe and the exciting prospect of a show in London with The Rotted on the 26th March, we thought it was high time we caught up with drummer Ed Warby to discuss the band’s feelings about the tour and their ambitions for the future.
When we last spoke, you were looking to return to the UK to play, and you now have dates in March. What can UK fans expect from Hail of Bullets on this trip?
We’re doing a one-off show at the famous London Underground and we intend to crush some skulls! Fans can expect a massive slab of pure, unadulterated old-school DEATH METAL.
How do you feel about playing the UK – was your last trip here well received?
We’re psyched as hell! Last time we played the Purple Turtle in London and that was a very memorable gig for us, so we’re really excited to return. Especially since we had a lot of good UK press for the new album.
You’re playing quite a few dates incorporating your own shows as well as festival slots – do you prefer to play festivals because it allows you to reach more people or your own headline shows which give you the chance to play to your dedicated following?
It’s not really a matter of preference but of economics, festivals are much more efficient to reach a large audience and since we only do a limited number of shows each year it’s an easy choice. I love the excitement of playing festivals, but sometimes it is nice to do a club show, be able to do a thorough soundcheck and play a longer set so we do try to book those whenever possible.
When it comes to playing live do you think carefully about how to sequence the set list given the conceptual nature of your albums?
We try, but sometimes you have to mix things up a bit, especially now we have 2 full albums to choose from. This means we’ll do Berlin in the middle of the set instead of at the end, and Ordered Eastward is a great one to finish the show with, so we do take liberties with the chronological order. When we put the setlist together we try to create a good flow and balance between the fast and slow songs and the different moods, in a live setting I think that’s more important than sticking to the concept.
Have you ever considered playing ‘On divine winds’ in its entirety?
Not really, an album and a live show are 2 different things and some album tracks wouldn’t work as well on stage. Apart from that To Bear The Unbearable is played in an even lower tuning than the rest, so we’d have to bring extra guitars for just one song. And to be honest, I don’t really like it myself when a band does an entire album, unless it’s The Wall or Dark Side Of The Moon of course…
Are you a band that prefer to play live and feel the energy of the crowd, or spend time in the studio perfecting your sound?
I’m very much a studio guy, but the band is definitely at its best when we play live. Originally we hadn’t planned on doing so many gigs, but we enjoy playing live so much we take all our busy multi-band schedules allow.
‘On divine Winds’ came out in the October of last year and was very well received – what have the band been busy with since the album’s release?
Well, life goes on as they say, Paul and Martin are already working on the next Asphyx album, I myself am recording a new 11th Hour record, Stephan and Paul have resurrected Thanatos as a live entity so we’re all keeping busy. We’ve done a few HoB shows to warm up for the coming festival season and are now gearing up for the first batch of gigs.
Are there, as yet, any plans for the follow up or have you been too busy touring and promoting the current release to think about it?
Not yet, On Divine Winds took a whopping 9 months to finish so I for one need to recharge the songwriting batteries first. We do have some plans but there’s no hurry so I don’t think we’ll start making any serious plans until late this year.
HAIL OF BULLETS + The Rotted
26th LONDON – Underworld
Images courtesy of Caroline Traitler and Metal Blade