BOLT THROWER

Death Metal • United Kingdom
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One of Britain's most consistent and enduring death metal bands, Coventry's Bolt Thrower has weathered the best and worst of times in the genre's history without giving in to commercial temptations or altering its sound. The fact that they were unusually blessed with a steady lineup throughout much of their career contributed to this stability, and though they were rarely bestowed much praise for their efforts, Bolt Thrower gradually established itself as one of the best death metal bands ever to emerge from England.

Taking their name from a weapon in one of their favorite tabletop miniatures games, Warhammer Fantasy Battle, they drafted vocalist Alan West, guitarist Barry Thompson, and bassist Jo Bench (one of the first female musicians to take part in an extreme metal group of any sort) to complete the lineup. True to their name, Bolt Thrower dedicated their career to analyzing and dissecting all aspects of
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Thanks to UMUR, Time Signature, bartosso, Vim Fuego for the updates

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BOLT THROWER Discography

BOLT THROWER albums / top albums

BOLT THROWER In Battle There Is No Law album cover 3.44 | 13 ratings
In Battle There Is No Law
Death Metal 1988
BOLT THROWER Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness album cover 3.64 | 20 ratings
Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness
Death Metal 1989
BOLT THROWER War Master album cover 3.49 | 19 ratings
War Master
Death Metal 1991
BOLT THROWER The IVth Crusade album cover 4.15 | 24 ratings
The IVth Crusade
Death Metal 1992
BOLT THROWER ...For Victory album cover 4.08 | 25 ratings
...For Victory
Death Metal 1994
BOLT THROWER Mercenary album cover 4.28 | 17 ratings
Mercenary
Death Metal 1998
BOLT THROWER Honour - Valour - Pride album cover 4.38 | 16 ratings
Honour - Valour - Pride
Death Metal 2001
BOLT THROWER Those Once Loyal album cover 4.09 | 38 ratings
Those Once Loyal
Death Metal 2005

BOLT THROWER EPs & splits

BOLT THROWER The Peel Sessions album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Peel Sessions
Death Metal 1988
BOLT THROWER Cenotaph album cover 4.00 | 3 ratings
Cenotaph
Death Metal 1991
BOLT THROWER Spearhead album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Spearhead
Death Metal 1992

BOLT THROWER live albums

BOLT THROWER Live War album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Live War
Death Metal 2010

BOLT THROWER demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

BOLT THROWER Rehearsal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rehearsal
Death Metal 1986
BOLT THROWER Concession of Pain album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Concession of Pain
Death Metal 1987
BOLT THROWER In Battle There Is No Law album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Battle There Is No Law
Death Metal 1987
BOLT THROWER Forgotten Existence album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Forgotten Existence
Death Metal 1988
BOLT THROWER Prophets of Hell album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Prophets of Hell
Death Metal 1988
BOLT THROWER Polka Slam / Crisis Point album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Polka Slam / Crisis Point
Death Metal 1989

BOLT THROWER re-issues & compilations

BOLT THROWER The Peel Sessions 1988-90 album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Peel Sessions 1988-90
Death Metal 1991
BOLT THROWER Who Dares Wins album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Who Dares Wins
Death Metal 1998
BOLT THROWER Eternal War album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Eternal War
Death Metal 2014
BOLT THROWER The Best of Bolt Thrower album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Best of Bolt Thrower
Death Metal 2016

BOLT THROWER singles (0)

BOLT THROWER movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

BOLT THROWER Reviews

BOLT THROWER Those Once Loyal

Album · 2005 · Death Metal
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voila_la_scorie
Bolt Thrower have a few albums listed in the MMA top 20 death metal albums, and as they showed up in my searches on YouTube I thought I should try them out. But how does one pick out the best album for one’s own preferences when there are eight albums from which to choose? YouTube has the answer with most if not all albums available in full for listening preview. Still, a preview is not the same as sinking into a purchased record.

Reading the Wikipedia article on the band, Bolt Thrower planned to cease recording after this album because they felt that they had finally made the best Bolt Thrower album. There was talk of recording another album after a hiatus but the band ceased in an untimely manner when their drummer passed away. I was trying to decide which album to get, “Those Once Loyal” or “Mercenary”, and ended up deciding on the former.

As far as death metal albums go, my experience is only just at the newbie level, but I feel that much of the music here is closer to thrash metal. It’s not as technical or brutal as death metal can be and it’s not as melodic as it can be either. Though double kick drumming is freely employed, the snare beats are not that fast and I don’t recall noticing any blast beats. Except for the deep, bear-like vocals, I feel the music sounds more like some of the late eighties thrash metal I used to listen to. At times there are some killer, slow n heavy riffs as in “The Killchain” and “Last Stand of Humanity”, which make these songs stand out for me. But most of the album reminds me a lot of early Slayer, or at least it make me feel like listening to “Haunting the Chapel”for some reason.

While this may be Bolt Thrower’s magnum opus, I feel it’s just a very good album that can be played all the way through with two tracks worthy of adding to a playlist. The album is consistent and heavy, though lacking much variation. Maybe it’s a good introductory album to the band? I like it but at the same time I want to hear more adventurousness. A decent piece of work for straightforward heavy thrash with death undertones.

BOLT THROWER Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness

Album · 1989 · Death Metal
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Vim Fuego
This is one of the heaviest albums ever recorded. The guitars are tuned down to bass frequencies. In the recording of this album, the bass was tuned down so far at one point the strings would not vibrate. Even Karl Willett's vocals have been electronically lowered by a harmonizer. The result is an album of subterranean, subsonic depth.

Despite the enormous sound Bolt Thrower produce, their riffs always remain clear, and the drums snappy. There is double kick bass abuse throughout the album, one of Bolt Thrower's trademarks. The songs are catchy, and have an almost sing–a–long quality, unusual for the grindcore genre. “World Eater” and the title track standing out as classic tracks from the album, and it is not unusual to find yourself growling along, Willett–style, hours after hearing these songs.

The subject matter is the Bolt Thrower staple– war, well embellished by amazing artwork from the Games Workshop. This was Bolt Thrower's last grindcore release before they strayed toward the death metal stylings of their subsequent albums. This album is a landmark for extreme music. At a time when Carcass, Napalm Death, Righteous Pigs, Terrorizer, and Extreme Noise Terror were noisily trying to break the speed of sound, only Bolt Thrower and Godflesh were truly exploring the sonic possibilities of creating massive walls of sound, rather than being noisy.

There should be a picture of this album under the definition of "heavy" in the dictionary.

BOLT THROWER Those Once Loyal

Album · 2005 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Those Once Loyal" is the 8th full-length studio album by UK death metal act Bolt Thrower. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in November 2005. Since the release of "Honour - Valour - Pride (2001)", original lead vocalist Karl Willetts have returned to the fold again, replacing Dave Ingram. Willetts had been in and out of the band a couple of times since his first departure in 1994, but it seems his return this time is permanent. And if you ask me he is more than welcome back. Dave Ingram did a decent job on "Honour - Valour - Pride (2001)", but there is something special about the way Karl Willetts growl that just fits Bolt Thrower´s music like a glove.

The music on the album is in the trademark war/battle themed death metal style that Bolt Thrower have practiced since the early 90s. Ultra heavy beats, simple yet effective downtuned riffs and a commanding growling vocal on top and you know you´re listening to Bolt Thrower. What makes "Those Once Loyal" stand out from especially the last two albums by the band, is the extremely high quality of the material and the performances. The musicianship are strong, the sound production probably the best yet on a Bolt Thrower album, and the songwriting is memorable. Each and every track on the album are simply killer material.

In my world "Those Once Loyal" is close to perfection when we´re talking this type of death metal. Which means death metal relying on brutality and simple riffs as opposed to death metal focused on technical playing or progressive ideas. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

BOLT THROWER Honour - Valour - Pride

Album · 2001 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Honour - Valour - Pride" is the 7th full-length studio album by UK death metal act Bolt Thrower. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in November 2001. After performing the vocals for "Mercenary (1998)", lead vocalist Karl Willetts left Bolt Thrower again and the band recruited former Benediction frontman Dave Ingram to replace him. Ingram was a fan and longtime friend of the band so his inclusion was a natural step. The drummer position also saw a change as Martin Kearns, who played with Bolt Thrower in the 1994 - 1997 period returned to the fold and replaced Alex Thomas who had played the drums on "Mercenary (1998)".

Despite the lineup changes Bolt Thrower as usual sound unmistakably like...well Bolt Thrower. While Dave Ingram is a slightly weaker vocalist than Karl Willetts and it seems to me he isn´t given much room to put his own mark on the material, his vocal performance here is alright and more or less fits the music like a glove. With Bolt Thrower you always know what you´re gonna get. Simple yet effective downtuned riffs, heavy beats, war/battle themed lyrics/imagery and deep growling yet intelligible vocals in front. So far...so good.

The sound production on the album does drag my rating down a bit though (why are Dave Ingram´s vocals so low in the mix?). It´s not bad but it´s slightly weaker than the sound on "Mercenary (1998)" and much weaker than the sound on "...for Victory (1994)". I don´t think the material is quite as interesting or memorable as was the case on the last couple of albums either, but we´re of course still talking quality old school death metal with a distinct sound. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is warranted.

BOLT THROWER Mercenary

Album · 1998 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Mercenary" is the 6th full-length studio album by UK death metal act Bolt Thrower. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in November 1998. After releasing "...For Victory (1994)", lead vocalist Karl Willetts left Bolt Thrower, and the band recruited former Pestilence/Asphyx frontman Martin van Drunen as a replacement on the subsequent tour. Martin van Drunen did two European tours with Bolt Thrower before leaving the band in 1997. Willetts temporarily returned to record the vocals for "Mercenary", but left again after the recording sessions. For the subsequent tour he was replaced by former Benediction frontman Dave Ingram. The drummer position also saw changes before the recording of "Mercenary", as original drummer Andrew Whale decided to quit the band. He was first replaced by Martin Kearns who played with the band in the period between 1994 and 1997. Kearns was then replaced by Alex Thomas who plays the drums on "Mercenary".

Bearing in mind all those lineup changes and general unrest in the band, it´s amazing how consistent Bolt Thrower sound. From the first notes of "Mercenary" they sound unmistakably like themselves. Downtuned heavy riffing, war/battle themed lyrics/imagery and in front the brutal yet intelligible growling vocals by Karl Willetts. I sense a slightly more melodic approach than earlier, but this is by no means a melodic death metal album. This is old school and gritty to the core. The stoic/epic atmosphere of the last couple of albums is also intact and you can almost smell the gunpowder, the fires, and the blood of the battle field, and hear the screams of the wounded while listening to the album. I guess song titles like "Powder Burns", "Behind Enemy Lines" and "No Guts, No Glory" speak lourder than words. It´s at the same time stories of the horrors of war and the glory of battles won.

"Mercenary" is yet another great album in a long line of excellent releases by Bolt Thrower. The only issue I have with the album is that the sound production is weaker than the sound on "...For Victory (1994)", but it´s not a major issue. A 4 star (80%) is fully deserved.

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