In light of the recent news of Bolt Thrower’s disbanding so close to the one year anniversary of Martin Kearns’ (drummer) death, I’ve decided to create a playlist in memory of one of the most stalwart death metal groups to have pounded the drums of war. Personal favourite Bolt Thrower tracks up first followed by some killer bands playing similar styles of death. R.I.P. Martin Kearns and R.I.P. Bolt Thrower.
Bolt Thrower Favourites
It’s difficult picking a top album from their first 5 albums, going from the savage death/grind of In Battle There is No Law to the more doom laden and melodic The IVth Crusade and …For Victory, but each has some absolutely phenomenal tracks and moments.
In Battle There is No Law (In Battle There is No Law)
While it may be an easy pick, the title, and opening track, is not only a fantastic introduction into the album but into the band’s modus operandi of savage, war fueled death. After a slow burn intro section the track bursts into furious grinding death, absolute killer.
World Eater (Realms of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness)
Honestly this track beats out any other track on this phenomenal record for one moment:
Which leads into one of their greatest riffs ever produced.
Cenotaph (War Master)
Featuring Bolt Thrower’s melodic tinged riffage, the slow fade in like the calm before the storm, Cenotaph is easily one of Bolt Thrower’s better tracks, and seems to feature all of the parts that makes BT so great.
Spearhead (The IVth Crusade)
There isn’t much to say about Spearhead that wasn’t already said for Cenotaph above, except this track heaves more doom into the mixture (as does the whole album), producing a more crushing experience.
…For Victory (…For Victory)
With absolutely decimating drum work and riffs, and a solemn but majestic atmosphere that emanates from the remembrance within the lyrics, the title track from their 5th album is not only a great track, but a fitting track for the band to remembered by.
“We will remember them.”
The two following albums, Mercenary and Honour-Valour-Pride are not albums I am as familiar with, having always fallen to the first 5 and what is now their final effort, Those Once Loyal, but recent events have spurned me to check them out again, not soon enough for this article however. Those Once Loyal, however, while markedly a cleaner sounding album to BT’s earlier works, is a melodic, groove laden and still classically savage final album.
Those Once Loyal (Those Once Loyal)
Another title track pick, but an entirely reasonable one, because the riffs on this album are just fucking suburb and are perfectly matched with the melodic tinges and relentless drumming of the late Martin Kearnes.
Worship of the Bolt Thrower
Naturally any band with such consistently high quality material is going to erect a few worship bands of varying quality. Below are some quality personal favourite groups of recent BT worship.
Houston, Texas based group whose name is not only one of Bolt Thrower’s better albums, but whose early material was so very Bolt Thrower influenced, particularly of the War Master and The IVth Crusade style with the crunchier and more crushing material. Pyramid of Necropolis a great debut and the Blood Dawn EP which moves away from more BT sounding death is amazing too.
With guitar duties taken up by Ghoul man Sean McGrath, this now disbanded group took heavy influence from BT’s earliest material, playing a grinding mix of death, grindcore and crust. The tracks are savage, the desire to destroy humanity through bleak war is there, what more could you want?
While not as strictly a BT worship band, this Australian duo’s WWI focused lyrics and appropriately depressingly heavy combination of black, death and thrash feeds right into the chaotic and savage views of war BT made home with.
May Bolt Thrower’s legacy live on forever!