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4.13 | 29 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1992

Filed under Death Metal


1. The IVth Crusade (4:59)
2. Icon (4:11)
3. Embers (5:18)
4. Where Next to Conquer (3:50)
5. As the World Burns (5:25)
6. This Time It's War (5:51)
7. Ritual (4:29)
8. Spearhead (6:47)
9. Celestial Sanctuary (4:38)
10. Dying Creed (4:17)
11. Through the Ages (outro) (3:45)

Total Time: 53:30


- Karl Willetts / vocals
- Gavin Ward / guitars
- Barry Thompson / guitars
- Jo Bench / bass
- Andrew Whale / drums

About this release

Earache Records
September 2nd, 1992

Recorded at Sawmills Studio, Cornwall, by Bolt Thrower, August 1992.
Mixed at Fon Studios, Sheffield, September 1992.
Produced, Music and Written by Bolt Thrower.

Front Cover Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople painted in 1840.

The U.S. Re-issue includes Crown of Life and Lament as bonus tracks.
Some versions of the U.S. Re-issue had these songs printed on the back, but not pressed on the CD.

Thanks to Time Signature, bartosso, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"The IVth Crusade" is the 4th full-length studio album by UK death metal act Bolt Thrower. The album was released through Earache Records in September 1992. It´s the successor to "War Master" from 1991. Both "Realm of Chaos (1989)" and "War Master (1991)" helped put Bolt Thrower on the map and made them one of the most prolific death metal acts on the UK scene of the late 80s/early 90s. "The IVth Crusade" further strengthened their position and ultimately was a great artistic and commercial success for the band (in underground terms of course).

"The IVth Crusade" is where Bolt Thrower really came into their own. The first three albums are quite different in sound and style, and in retrospect it´s obvious that the band worked hard on creating their own distinct sound on the early releases. "War Master (1991)" came close, but it´s on "The IVth Crusade" that Bolt Thrower found the right combination of ultra heavy mid-paced riffs and rhythms, deep growling vocals, and war themed lyrics, paired with a powerful and raw sound production, which works perfectly with the material.

The 11 tracks on the 53:30 minutes long album are all consistent in quality and style. The only track which is different from the rest is the closing track "Through the Ages", which features spoken words instead of growling vocals, with Karl Willetts reciting names and years of different wars. So it´s an album where it´s difficult to mention highlights, but the epic opening to the title track is always a winner. "Celestial Sanctuary" could also be mentioned as a standout track, because of the melodic chorus and the catchy vocal lines during that chorus. A bit more variation between tracks could generally have made the album a more interesting listening experience, but it´s not a major issue.

"The IVth Crusade" is upon conclusion the next natural step in Bolt Thrower´s career and overall a quality old school death metal release. As mentioned above a bit more variation could have made it even better, but as it is it´s still a quality release and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.
Bolt Thrower has been putting out Death Metal since the very early days of the genre, and though the debut was a bit rough, all of their releases have had a very consistent level of quality without doing anything too dangerous. Insanely heavy, crunchy guitars and classic OSDM riffage is the name of their game and they win every time.

The IVth Crusade is to Bolt Thrower as South of Heaven was to Slayer. The band slows down a bit, even including a few tracks that could qualify as Death Doom (except it just sounds like slow Death Metal), and focus a bit more on melody. That’s not to say this album isn’t packed with energy though, as many of the tracks are still loaded with double bass drumming and tremolo riffs.

There’s very martial feel to this album. Bolt Thrower has always written about war and battle, but the mid-tempo pace and march-like rhythm section really seals the atmosphere here. Again, this album isn’t doing anything new, it’s just executing OSDM incredibly well, and makes for an awesome listen front to back. Couldn’t ask for more from this legendary band.
Bolt Thrower completely dropped the Warhammer 40,000 references - at least, the unambiguous and open ones - and slowed down their playing a little for this majesting and doomy followup to War Master. Whilst the final track is a bit of a stumble - a rather bland and rundown of the history of war set to miscellaneous riffing - the rest of the album is the most confident, capable and compelling album the band had recorded to date. With their earlier grindcore influences now entirely gone, it is rather straight-down-the-line death metal with a few doomy flavourings here and there - but when it's performed this well, that's more than good enough for me.
Time Signature
This time it's war...

Genre: death metal

"The IVth Crusade" is lightyears better than any of the band's previous releases, I think. The main reason is that the level of musicianship is miles higher than on "War Master". The drumming, which I think was incredibly sloppy on previous releases, is now tighter than a clenched fist, and the double bass drum work is the way it should be on this album.

"The IVth Crusade" is fairly mid-tempo for a death metal album, as the blast beats and grindcore elements are completely gone. The album is nonetheless brutal musically and lyrically - naturally, since Bolt Thrower's lyrical universe primarily deals with war. While not down-tempo like doom metal is, the music on this album is very heavy, and that is what contributes the brutality. Yet the guitar riffs have a certain sense melody to them, and this means that, unlike on the previous releases, the music on this album is also memorable. Some examples are the anthemic main riff of the title track, the opening and main riff of "Icon", the opening and verse riffs of "Where Next to Conquer", the doomy verse riff of "Celestial Sanctuary", and the equally doomy opening riff of "This Time It's War". The album also contains a lot of thrashy elements that remind me primarily of Slayer and early Sacred Reich without the same level of speed.

The only weakness to this album is outro track, which, with its spoken lyrics, becomes a bit annoying.

"The IVth Crusade" is a brilliant heavy death metal album, which should appeal to fans of death metal and perhaps also some fans of doom metal, because it is really heavy. Granted, Bolt Thrower operate with only a handful of riffs per song, which are repeated a lot, but since they are really good and effective riffs, this works very well - people who expect higly technical death metal might be disappointed, but if you like really heavy death metal, then this is an album you cannot afford not to have.

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