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When your glory hole is a trench - 80%

autothrall, February 6th, 2013

...For Victory's biggest issue was that it had very little to offer beyond what Bolt Thrower had accomplished, so its focus turned towards the production values of the instruments and vocals. Admittedly, they did achieve a sleeker, more accessible sound than records like The IVth Crusade or Realm of Chaos, but I can recall having only a lukewarm reception upon its release. One that has grown slightly more positive down through the years, but if I'm ever seeking my fix of the group's seminal warmetal, this is never the album I'm going to reach for above others. Even the cover image seem a little lackluster by comparison to the prior efforts, their first to veer away from more eye popping artwork; but to be fair, the photo of British soldiers during the Falklands War of the early 80s has some internal meaning to the band, as was mentioned on the "Through the Ages" outro on The IVth Crusade.

As an introduction to the band's style, a 'my first Bolt Thrower record', ...For Victory certainly functions as a gateway to their superior, past works. The melodies here are monumental, threaded with a worldliness far brighter than the oppressive din of a record like Realm of Chaos. The considerable amount of grooving chords cut further into the higher strings, and as a result they feel friendly and fulfilling, perhaps not entirely above a few hints of influence from the eminent trends of the early through mid 90s like grunge and groove metal. It's surely a modernization of The IVth Crusade, but they'd abandoned that grim, gnarled fuzz in the rhythm guitar for something up to the standards of evolving studio production. I've had several acquaintances who consider this the best 'sounding' of the Bolt Thrower catalog, and judging by the criteria they used, I could not wholly disagree. The drums, for one, sound absolutely riveting, in no way dominated by the guitar tone; while Karl Willett's vocals are sauced in more effects than on the earlier albums, which lend them a more professional atmosphere. Jo Bench's bass playing wasn't quite a step beyond what she'd produced in the past, but her tone here pops along more noticeably, most of her lines wholesome even when following the rhythm guitar precisely. Leads, too, are dramatically more melodic and emotional here, some of their best.

In terms of songwriting, I'd say there were three absolute killers among this selection, like "Graven Image" and "Armageddon Bound" with their slightly more complex guitar grooves that very carefully balance the higher, searing melodies with the swaggering muscle of the grooves. "...For Victory" itself is hands down one of my favorite Bolt Thrower songs, with a superb if simple lead sequence and an air of majestic desperation in its sum atmosphere. Once I think past this trio, though, the remainder of the album fits all too snugly into the 'It's Been Done' category, and many of the chord progressions and melodies seem like underwhelming mirrors to those I've already mentioned. ...For Victory is paced well, and consistent enough that you'd rarely need to interrupt a direct 38 minute playthrough, but its most absorbing and unforgettable material could easily be condensed down to an EP worth. Granted, audiophiles might be more inclined to revisit this than the first four albums, because it's certainly the most balanced in instrumentation and the dichotomy of aggression and musicality, but one thing I was really missing here is atmosphere...

...For Victory is similar in lyrical tone to its predecessors, exploring the ramifications of centuries of human conflict in broad, psychological strokes, but this is more suited for the History Channel than the absolute crushing darkness of their old wargaming-inspired concepts. Nothing wrong with that, really, and bands like Hail of Bullets have certainly taken cues from Bolt Thrower's legacy and written some smashing World War themes, but I for one am more privy to the band's more oblique and repulsive material. In other words, I enjoyed the ominous Bolt Thrower considerably more than the glorious Bolt Thrower, even if both poles suit the band's modus operandi. As such, this particular album was never really my favorite, but I'd be lying to ignore its considerable aural qualities. Worth owning, far better than its two successors, and I enjoy it more than the 1991 record War Master, but other than a handful of the tracks, I rarely feel the compulsion to dust it off.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

One bloody heavy death metal beast, this! - 90%

Lane, October 25th, 2011

Bolt Thrower's fifth crusade for death metal rolls over a listener like a battle tank. No mercy given, even though I didn't even ask for it... Again the album's theme is war, the most brutal thing man has invented. This time lyrical themes are more modern than last time on 'The IVth Crusade' (1992).

'War' opens the album kind of a slow way, but it's just an intro after all. Then, my favourite BT song 'Remembrance' literally explodes from speakers and the slaughter begins. On this album the band offer 10 tracks of groovy, but still very, very brutal death metal. It sounds practically ageless. '...For Victory' continues where 'The IVth Crusade' left and BT's trademarks are present: Eastern-flavored guitar melodies (by Baz Thomson & Gavin Ward), huge walls of guitars with rumbling bass assault from miss Jo Bench, low vo-kills by Karl Willetts and Andy Whale's double bass drum attacks. BT are unique, you know when it's them. The band travels from mayhemic attacks to epic hymns, for which the best example is the title track. There's no any credits included (I got the CD version), but the sound is totally heavy and absolutely fitting for this war-inspired embodiment of brutality. I dug up from somewhere the net, that production was handled by the band and guru Colin Richardson, and engineered by John Cornfield.

The biggest drawback (if you can call it like that, that is) of '...For Victory' is the almost insignificant variety between songs. But that's how BT do it, so I shut the fuck up! You either love it or hate it. Cover artwork is really cool with soldier marching to sunset after a battle. Booklet itself is a bit boring (only Warhammer Chaos Star eye design and horned monster skull with spears) and cursive typography is awful. Well, no bigger drawbacks here!

Another album by Bolt Thrower recommended for all death-heads. With '...For Victory' it's like you confronting a big horde of enemies and you're in for a good beating. Not much more words are needed to tell how good this album is, except: If you want it truly HEAVY, assaulting and nothing too technical, then gratify your primal needs with '...For Victory'!

(Originally written for Archaic Metallurgy in 2006)

We Will Remember Them - 95%

hippie_holocaust, October 24th, 2011

What we have here, O metalheads and heshers, is a murderous onslaught of straight ahead death fuckin metal. …For Victory was given to me by a friend who worked at a psych-ward. A patient was moved out and had left behind this cassette among a cache of other tapes of bands ranging from Broken Hope to King’s X. I had never listened to BT and For Victory just seemed to have the most magnetism to my metal eye.

Obviously, the subject matter at hand is war. And no band does war quite like Bolt Thrower. Their music has one intention, and that is to crush you. BT demonstrate a Slayer-esque dual guitar approach, but to these ears the resulting tone may be even more diabolical. The opener here, which is indeed entitled “War,” creates a doomy, menacing ambience, as if descending onto the battlefield from the heavens. It’s as though these Brits have actually seen, smelled, even tasted the grimmest of combat. This is one of the finest preludes to any work of death metal as the heaving sounds bludgeon you into a realm in which death is very near. “War” reeks of despair, destruction and disembowelment.

Now that we have been doomed to a gory death, “Remembrance” ensures us that all hope has, in fact, been abandoned. The balls-out speed metal riffing and double bassing are hurled at you through raging torrents within a controlled chaotic cosmos of perpetual annihilation. In fact, this entire opus is the embodiment of the red planet, eternally at war within itself at the hand of great god Mars. If you survive this sheer, seething hate, and claw your way with bloodied hands to the title track… Fuck. You’re another casualty, decapitated by a blunt chunk of smoldering shrapnel. You begin your descent into hell, your flesh licked and eaten by the black flames that bring forth this disharmonic symphony of devastation.

This music is simply not for the tech-obsessed. As our doomed fathers have taught, the eerie vibration of down-tuned, distorted guitar is that which crushes, suffocates, and ends life. Bolt Thrower know this perfectly well and what they do with their instruments is destroy. Drummer Andy Whale does not suck, neigh, his flying feet are the very tracks of the tank. His drumming is not flashy, and could even be called predictable, but you won’t have time to worry about that before the next molten riff sears your skull.

By the time you reach “Lest we forget,” all senses, thoughts, and emotions have been consumed by an entropic demise at the dismal end of the war to end all wars. You have been thrashed to nothingness; all external stimuli are your death personified. You’re not alive, nor are you dead. “Silent Demise,” with its utterly crushing vocal delivery and glorious lead guitar is a prime example of BT’s use of slow tempos in order to dominate. The riff that comes blasting forth from the perfectly titled “Tank” lets a bit of the ol’ grind shine through, as you are blown to bits then pulverized yet again as this beast rolls over your ravaged corpse. A vast, burning world of pain has engulfed all that ever was, leaving nothing but fallout and grey desolation. The panzer that is Bolt Thrower has obliterated your puny earth.

Highlights: Every graven second.

So damn heavy! - 90%

Ancient_Mariner, January 8th, 2010

Imagine a line of main battle tanks rolling over a plain at full speed, crushing and destroying all in its path. Well that is what this album is. When I listen and close my eyes and lose myself in the music I can imagine myself in the commander’s position of an M-1 Abrams rolling into battle at full speed. Pure heaviness and power!

Bolt Thrower makes one kind of metal, death metal with themes of war, and man do they do it well. On this slab they kick thing off with a short instrumental piece before grabbing the listener by the throat and they don’t let go until the record ends. The riffs are heavy and thick as hell and range from a slower pace in songs like Silent Demise to a more to a more wide open assault in tunes like the title track that just grab you by the whole body and demand that you start to bang that head before letting you off with a slower outro. I like that the album never sacrifices heaviness for pure speed at any point, sometimes speed gets out of control but not here as most of the material is more of a mid tempo style that enhances the heaviness. In fact this may be the heaviest album of all time in my humble opinion. Sure there are faster and more brutal records but this thing is oppressive in its tone and makes the listener feel like a tremendous weight has been pressed down on them to crush the life from them.

The drums are a bit sloppy in places but they smash along with plenty of double bass but no real blast beats to take the focus off the riffage thankfully. Blast beats have their uses but this album is better for leaving them off. The solos are competent but not mind blowing, my favorite being the solo section in the title track that moves into the full body slamming chug riff. Holy shit that grabs me by the balls! The keys to this band and this album are the heavy rhythms and incredible growls. Guitarists Thompson and Ward lay down some of the thickest guitar tones known to any man this side of Tony Iommi. On the vocal side Karl Willetts puts on an amazing performance here with his death growls, heavy and brutal but very understandable. The bass of Jo Bench rumbles along with the music but is just part of one destructive whole rather than standing out on its own. Everything here is a slave to the heaviness as it should be, as you should be as well.

The song themes range from war, to war, to well more war. But what else do you want from this band? Dying in battle, glory, remembering fallen comrades, and all the stuff you demand from the mighty Bolt Thrower.

If you like death metal at all and love themes of violence and war you have to grab this disc and let it kick you in the face over and over until you submit to its power. Armageddon Bound indeed!

Standout tracks – Remembrance, …For Victory, Lest We Forget, Silent Demise

Crap tracks – None, just degrees of kick ass.

Relentless - 95%

OzzyApu, June 17th, 2009

Bolt Thrower lay waste to everything they come across, leaving very little mercy to hope for. On this album the band focused a little more on stronger melodies and more mid-paced charges rather than the gluttonous doom found on The IVth Crusade. The production and general songwriting formula hasn’t drastically changed since War Master, but that can be looked at as a good thing since it kept Bolt Thrower within the realm of consistency. Every song here rolls like a tank through a battlefield: skull-crushing bass, artillery-like drumming, massive (and I mean M-A-S-S-I-V-E) sounding riffs, and some beastly growls. Therefore, I can’t really comment much else on the instruments – they literally sound like that on every track.

Lyrically it’s the same shit; war. It’s perfect for this type of music and leaves an everlasting picture in your head of a frayed battlefield still raging on. The fact that I can barely make out Willets makes no difference; the music, accompanied by his growls, paints the image in my head. It clears whatever I had in my mind before and fills it with death, glory, battle, and a stronger message about war than I’ve ever been given in any film depicting such. If I were to make my own war film, Bolt Thrower gets first dibs on the soundtrack. Production values on …For Victory are high and crisp, allowing all the instruments to have this wall of sound close in on you; it cuts off all hopes of escape and rushes in for the kill. It isn’t just some small wall, either, it’s a towering behemoth. Hearing curbstomping giants such as “Tank (MK 1)” and “Lest We Forget” will no doubt get you in the right mindset to kill or be killed - a feat Bolt Thrower accomplished even way back on their grindy debut.

Surprisingly there aren’t many / any blast-beats I can find. Usually death metal bores with low points in songs that are coincidentally always accompanied by blast-beats; Bolt Thrower performs superbly without these nuisances. Instead, they opt for a more galloping approach where the drumming retains a vast supporting role, instead of being pushed aside from the main operations (ugh… I mean rhythm). Willets himself has a less guttural / demonic growl than on the previous two albums, but it isn’t a lifeless growl either. It still works and isn’t that much different – it’s just something I noticed. I must include the fact that even though Bench is eye candy, she is treated as anything but one – without her bass, I doubt this album would have the kind of punch it does (or any Bolt Thrower album, for that matter). Most bassists stay behind the creative process, but this woman basically said fuck all that and supports the band head on in their attack.

This album was my introduction to Bolt Thrower, serving a great deal as a “gateway” album to the band and in turn holds a place in my heart. I hear much praise for Bolt Thrower, but little in this album’s name – go forth and appreciate.

Of course this is essential - 95%

Noktorn, March 2nd, 2009

This is stunning, but this should come as no surprise to anyone who's seen the logo on the cover of the album. It's by Bolt Thrower, after all; only one of the most consistent, long-lasting, and undeniably brilliant artists in the death metal scene. '...For Victory', the endeavor's fifth full-length album, often goes underappreciated in the face of more popular releases like 'Realms Of Chaos' or 'The IVth Crusade', but it's just as worthy of attention as any of the band's other albums. It's a timeless monolith of death metal in a style that is totally the band's own and will continue to be for years to come.

The style is of course rooted in what was established so many years previously: grinding, midpaced death metal packed to brim with epic and desolate melodic leads which suddenly drop into tremolo and double bass warfare. The riffs, as always, are the centerpiece of the album and in the customary Bolt Thrower style. Songs open with rock-based drumming under simple, melodic riffs before the grinding chaos starts; double bass ignites and a throb of low tremolo pulses under the intensely guttural, roaring vocals of Karl Willetts. The instrumental performance are tight and the band turns on a dime from majestic grandeur to savage and guttural death metal. The formula is decided and never fails to impress.

What separates this from the previous album is certainly aggression; 'The IVth Crusade', while of course a death metal album through and through, was somewhat more contemplative and melodic than this one. '...For Victory' wastes no time getting to work on the listener after the intro track, with 'Remembrance' storming in like doughboys over a trench, not even bothering with a melodic riff before immediately firing into one of Bolt Thrower's classic tremolo riffs over that incessant drum beat; you know the one. The added intensity of this release compared the previous one presents a rather different but still amazing side of Bolt Thrower; that of the savage, grinding death metal artist, and the material on this disc can be traced all the way back to 'In Battle There Is No Law' without trouble. Each track tramples the listener, and the album as a whole never loses step once.

If you're fortunate enough to have acquired the limited edition version of this album, you'll have an extra bonus in the form of 'Live War', the only officially released Bolt Thrower live album. Hearing Bolt Thrower in the live environment is a very different experience from the recorded one, and can be interpreted as better or worse depending on the listener. A considerable amount of dedication goes into the production of a Bolt Thrower album, and many of the elements you know by heart from the recordings are very different. The most obvious example is Willetts' vocals; somewhat pitch-shifted on the albums, the vocals sound like a much more conventional death growl when this effect is lost, and in some ways adds a more human element to the music that's missing from much of Bolt Thrower's work. Without constant layering, the music isn't as suffocatingly heavy as usual, and in general, the effect of the live experience is to present Bolt Thrower as a more conventional though still unique death/grind band. While I don't listen to this disc too often, I like having it as an alternate view of this band, and it's certainly worth your time to seek out this version of the album and acquire it.

'...For Victory', like all Bolt Thrower releases, really needs nothing said about it; the music wholly speaks for itself and no explication of it is necessary or can even convey the weight this British endeavor manages to carry in every note. Certainly this, like all other Bolt Thrower material, is completely mandatory to the dedicated death metal fan and should be sought out at all costs; they've been around for so many years for a reason.

...For Victory. - 92%

Perplexed_Sjel, September 18th, 2007

‘...For Victory’ continues the barrage Bolt Thrower have continuously put their fans under. Heavy, crushing and eternally damning it's fan base to a life with permanent hearing difficulties. Bolt Thrower are known for letting their music act as a metaphor for their lyrics. The pummelling nature of the drums, the unrelenting melodic guitar riffs they take shape during the superfluous solos that just keep coming, one after the other and the growled vocals which send shivers down your spine. Each and every element that makes Bolt Thrower what they are. A war machine driving on through the sea of dead bodies and the red blood stained grass. Crushing all who lie in their wake. Forcing each of us the surrender to the almighty vehement power that they are. ‘…For Victory’ marks numerous changes from the roots of the band, which were initially laid back in the 1980’s. Continuing on with the war inspired sound, Bolt Thrower have made a few tweaks in their sound. Perhaps most importantly, the change in production. ‘The IVth Crusade’, Bolt Thrower’s previous effort to this, held a dark and violent production over the audience whilst ‘…For Victory’ allows the sweet sounding melodies that the heavy Bolt Thrower sound springs from to develop more productively and with a more precise destination in sound. The dark undertones to the previous effort, whilst they were fantastically portrayed, would not suit the more enchanting and melodic effort that Bolt Thrower have for us here. Whilst the production does sound cleaner, there is a smoky feel to it, as if the pounding of the drums produces smoke with each hit. This smoke rises and stirs around the soundscapes of the record and produce a very inspirational sound which reminds me of war chants or cries.

The epitome of war inspired metal. Many consider Viking metal to be the true portrayer of music based on the concept of a war like sound, but Bolt Thrower override that theory with their now infamous brand of death metal. Bolt Thrower, through their soundscapes, create an unparalleled feeling that you are in fact on a battle ground yourself, facing the oncoming enemy. ’…For Victory’ is all about adrenaline pumped power. The rhythm guitar, led primarily by Gavin Ward, is the sole reason behind the layered and lush sounding atmospheres. Facing the enemy you raise your sword to the heavens and as the fantastic riff hits your ears, you're charging into your unknown fate. Bolt Thrower take you by surprise with their use of layered guitars and sinister bass.. The sheer heavy nature is not to everyone's liking, as the lyrics to Graven Image suggest, 'Words cannot explain'. Perhaps it's irony that Bolt Thrower hit the listener like a bolt from the blue. This unrelenting style of play is appealing and agonisingly brilliant.

"All feelings put aside
Numbed by the vision
Nothing left alive
Facing devastation"

These very lyrics seem quite apt in describing the picturesque imagery Bolt Thrower conjure up through their solid musicianship, which shines through mainly due to the high standards of guitar performance, and immense song writing capabilities which have kept them, in the eyes of the public, at the top of their game for years. The lyrics are apt due to the fact that Bolt Thrower's essence has the ability to surround you, eat you whole and then spit you out only to be crushed by their war machine sounding music. This may also have something to do with the murk of the production. Your feelings will be put aside in the wake of battle and numbed by the beauty that is created through devastation that the sometimes slow to mid paced guitars create. Songs like ‘Forever Fallen’ portray this with power and prowess. Bolt Thrower manage to create catchy songs with fantastic twin guitar riffs and overwhelmingly divine drumming from Andy Whale, who was producing some fine displays back in the early to mid 1990’s, particularly on ‘The IVth Crusade’ and this record, ‘…For Victory’. His double bass work is the most important aspect of his drumming. Songs like ‘Lest We Forget’, with it’s almost tribute like influence, is a fine example of how well Andy Whale’s drumming has come along. His double bass work in well controlled and constructed with the sole aim of forcing the audience back into their chairs. To me, ‘…For Victory’ isn’t the idealistic Bolt Thrower record, but this British act have continued to produce the best of the best, so it’s becoming hard to judge what my favourite record is. This would be close.

The ultimate blend - 96%

morbert, June 12th, 2007

Bolt Thrower had progressed with each album, becoming slower and more melodic each time, eventually resulting in their most melodic album ‘The Fourth Crusade’. I can imagine the band having some thoughts about how to continue this progression but ‘For Victory’ makes perfect sense.

Compositionally speaking it was in fact a step back. In a certain way that is. Their melodic approach had not vanished but the intensity of ‘War Master’ was brought back, resulting in some up tempo parts and brutal riffing becoming a key element in their music again. So even though it was a step back on paper, the resulting blend was superb, refreshing and can afterwards be considered the ultimate Bolt Thrower sound.

After a great but typical intro the album runs of with the powerful death metal tune ‘Remembrance’ reminiscent of the earlier days but - as said - without losing their melodic qualities. Another highlight worth mentioning is ‘Tank (MK1)’ which was their grooviest song to date and remains a favourite together with ‘Remembrance’, ‘Armageddon Bound’, ‘Where Glory Beckons’ and ‘Lest we Forget’.

The album cover was pretty different from earlier works, now being just a picture instead of a painting or other work of fantasy art. It worked though and gave the album some extra freshness.

The quality standard the band set for themselves with this album would prove to be pretty hard to live up to until their 2005 album ‘Those Once Loyal’. Maybe this had something to with all their line-up changes which started around 1994.

so... damn... heavy - 82%

ironasinmaiden, January 8th, 2003

Bolt Thrower are pretty much second tier death metal... they've been around forever yet they never get the recognition of say... Carcass. Still, England's history channel fanatics can play some solid death metal and For Victory is straight up brutal. Like damn. First time I heard Remembrance I was pinned down to the wall. By the time it was over I had whiplash. That song has the heaviest riff EVER penned, and sets the tone for a solid 37 minutes of metal.

Bolt Thrower's style in a nutshell.... heavy as shit riffs over droning drums, with fierce growls and the occasional doom break. Indeed, BT's drummer sucks ass, and doesn't do much in the way of pacing. Sometimes the tedium of hearing the same song over and over grows old, but standouts like Forever Fallen and slower paced ...For Victory make up for it.

If you like to bang yer head, and do it well, get this CD. It's heavy as shit and has the perfect tempo for nonstop thrashing. I dunno if I'd place it in the death metal classic field, but you could do farrrrrr worse.... recommended for fans of DM in general.