Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bolt Thrower - War Master [1991]

Bolt Thrower absolutely needed to deliver nothing short of a masterpiece with their third full-length "War Master." After releasing two awesome albums, there's definitely a lot of pressure to make something memorable, but there's even more pressure when the album is being released in 1991, which is quite possibly the greatest year for death metal releases ever. Classic albums like "Mental Funeral," "Like An Ever Flowing Stream," "Into the Grave," "Clandestine," "The Ten Commandments" and several others were all released in the same year. Luckily for Bolt Thrower, they released not only their best album, but a flawless death metal record to be cherished until the end of time. 

Everything about this album is amazing. Karl Willetts' vocals are just as destructive, if not more, than on the first two records. When he bellows "CENOTAPH!" at the beginning of the song with the same name, it sends chills down your spine. The bass is also extremely heavy and plays a vital part in the overall sound, which by the way, is heavier than a cinder block smashing your skull. One of the more surprising improvements on this album was the solos. Bolt Thrower went from the very Slayer-esque solo style to coherent and rather memorable solos that fit perfectly with the songs here. But the real show-stealer here is Andrew Whale's performance behind the kit. Every time the double bass pedal hits, it's almost as if a shot is being fired by a cannon off in the warzone. 

Of course I'd be a fool to not mention all of the riffs. On the band's previous effort "Realm of Chaos," we saw Bolt Thrower downtune their axes and we felt each doom-laden riff and every bone-vibrating chug. On "War Master," though, the band must have started listening to the American death metal bands because they tuned their guitars back up and found a much sharper tone similar to Death or Morbid Angel, only Bolt Thrower's sound was a lot heavier. Despite the less doomy tone, the songs here are even more doomy than before. That may sound idiotic, but once you listen to the intro of "Profane Creation" or the first verse of "Cenotaph" you will understand. One of the best parts about the band's decision to doom it the fuck up, is that it makes the faster moments seem even faster, especially when the thunderous double bass pedals are following suit. 

This is easily Bolt Thrower's best work. "War Master" retains the doomy essence of "Realm of Chaos" but also has the aggression and relentlessness of "In Battle There Is No Law!" There isn't a single weak track here either. Every song could make a death metal "Greatest Hits" collection and everyone could be the soundtrack to a medieval battle. In other words, this album is perfect.

"War Master"

Final Rating
Perpetual Endless Torment[10/10]