without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
The Cenotaph EP was my earliest exposure to Bolt Thrower. It came at a time when I wasn't quite ready to make the leap into death metal (having been more of a hardcore/crossover/crust kid at that point) but something about the band's impeccably destructive rhythmic stomp and blood dimmed atmosphere of pure hellish war stuck with me and it wasn't long before I was full on the Bolt Thrower train. You could say the Cenotaph EP helped enlist me.
Underground metal of any kind was extremely difficult to come by where I grew up so I'm not certain how I came across this release. I certainly wasn't aware of the War Master album from which the title cut is culled, so I also don't mind the overlap between this EP and the full-length. "Cenotaph" is one of those eternal Bolt Thrower songs that just absolutely slays. The main riff is utterly, headbangably hypnotic. It just transfixes you. And Karl's voice casts out from it with an authority that expects and demands obedience. And the hulking tonnage that is the rhythm section (so often imitated, never duplicated) subsumes you -- all individuality gone, like a grunt at the front, as Bolt Thrower steamrolls you into submission. Between the huge riffs, killer tempo changes, sick leads, and weighty rhythms, obliteration is all that could possible occur.
"Destructive Infinity" didn't make the final album cut and is included here as a b-side. It is well worth hearing as it lays the brick work for The IVth Crusade in that it is overall slower, doomier, and more focused on a single dark epic riff that occasionally trades places with the usual tank tread/ton of bricks style riffing. I can see how this might've messed up the pace of the full-length but am glad they released it in this way. I'm less impressed with "Prophet Of Hatred," not because it is a bad song but moreso that it is tonally jarring: culled from the Realm Of Chaos session, it has that record's gnarly production and grindier vibe. Still obviously BT but also a shift in style that back pedals their sound slightly. Once you adjust, its a great tune. Less great is a pointless live cut of "Realm Of Chaos" that is so crudely captured that it borders on unlistenable.
Subsequent reissues of the full-lengths have included much of this material so as to render this EP relatively obsolete. An old-school completist like myself though finds more value in hearing things as they were originally issued and I still use this EP as a springboard for people new to Bolt Thrower: enlist or die!
After two raw albums that belong to the history of death metal, Bolt Thrower in 1991 were back with this EP made of 3 studio songs and a live one. We must say that the death metal here is still fucking heavy but a bit better structured and less chaotic. Since the opener (the title track) we can hear the new production, clearer and powerful and the new group’s approach to a more structured death metal.
The beginning is quite slow, with only the bass drum speed and some good “melodic” guitar lines. Well, here the melody is truly obscure and surely not the one in melodic death metal, so don’t worry! The vocals are more growly than in their past albums, that were in more “Cronos style”. The beginning to “Destructive Infinity” is very doom and the whole track reminds me Grave from “You’ll Never See…” album. Massive mid tempos, fast bass drums and raw vocals. The truly obscure guitar lines are always well set in the songs to give a funeral atmosphere.
“Prophet Of Hatred” is more “Swedish” in the guitar sounds and feature the first blast beats and up tempos. With this track we return a bit in the past when the group was more raw. Good song with tons of pure violence. The live recorded track is a bit chaotic but you can hear the instruments quite well; surely it shows the group’s live violence. What I did not like is the strange echo in the live vocals…anyway nothing terrible. A good EP, that shows a musical improvement by the group, shown also in their album after this.