Bolt Thrower- Those Once Loyal
Metal Blade Records- 15/11/2005
By James Willcock
I really can't decide if I like Bolt Thrower
or not. I don’t know why, as they are the kind of death metal with thrash influences that I’m partial to, and the music has the kind of groove that you can bang your head to that I deem almost essential in metal. Yet the music seems to lack a certain je ne sais quoi
that would elevate it to the status of music I really love. Perhaps it’s the fact that once a song hits its stride, it happily marches on in the same fashion for the next several minutes, making the listen a some what unchallenging one.
This aside, this album is easy to recommend- if you’ve liked Bolt Thrower
in the past, you’ll like this, if you haven’t been fussed, then it’s probably not worth the effort. It’s not that this is a bad album- the band (with a fairly classic line up of Karl Willets
on vocals, Barry Thompson
and Gavin Ward
on guitars, Jo Bench
on bass and Martin Kearns
on drums) play very well together, with chugging bass lines and pounding drums underlying thunderous guitars, all mixed with vocals that would scare large rottweilers. The production is spot on, with every element balanced near perfectly to give the music maximum impact.
The problem lies with the style- Bolt Thrower
have been producing their own brand of death metal for 20 years now, and this album sees the band sticking to their guns (particularly apt, given their ever so slight obsession with all things military and warfare) and releasing more of the same. Even the press release states “In a world of compromise… some don’t”. Fans of the music will be delighted to hear another fine effort; everyone else will continue to be thoroughly uninterested. That said, if you haven’t heard Bolt Thrower
before, this is as good a place as any to get started, and I recommend that you should at least check them out as they are by no means a bad band. You never know, you might be loyal (see what I did there), and just not yet know it. Therefore, in keeping with UM’s rating scale
, I put this on the boundary and give it….