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Maybe You Had To Be There... - 85%

Kneurosis, February 11th, 2011

Back in 1988, metal and punk music had only recently acknowledged each others' good points. I was a punk rocker back then, and punks scoffed at metal. We thought it was all glam with dudes dressed like women shrieking in falsetto vocals about fucking 14 year olds. I had metalhead buddies who thought punk music was faggy, with guys wearing pink hairdos whining about getting dumped by their girlfriends.

We were both right and wrong. Finally, metal and punk found some common ground. The problem was (for punx, anyway), that the metal bands that began openly admitting that they were a little punk too were sounding better. Metallica doing Misfits covers was what turned me onto metal (besides good ole Black Sabbath). All the punk bands that crossed over started to suck. D.R.I., Suicidal Tendencies... Just didn't have the talent and they sounded like they listened to too much Anthrax. Crust punk was a genre of talentless drunks who wished they could play like Slayer but who had no hope.

Enter Bolt Thrower. These guys were punx who loved Discharge but who checked out Slayer and knew what they wanted to play: Death Metal.

And ya know what? I'm listening to it now and it's pretty fuckin good. And not just in a nostalgic way. The production is raw (some might say it's awful), but to me that's part of the appeal. It sounds tinny. You have to turn the bass up but then it's kinda muddy. Sometimes it sounds like a wall of noise. Fuck it. Enjoy it for what it is. This is essentially 80's crossover.

The riffs on this album are as catchy as a lot of their later albums such as Warmaster, the IV Crusade, and For Victory. At 4:30 of the opening and title track, when Karl roars "NO LAW!" it still gives me the shivers and makes me grin. "Psycholigical Warfare" is another good one. Catchy riffs and buried solos.

All in all, maybe you have to have heard it back when death metal was young to truly appreciate this album. I can't say for sure. If you wanna hear a band who's overproduced and has had the road paved for them by countless death metal bands over the course of 20+years, then "In Battle There Is No Law" probably won't do it for you.

If you wanna hear an album with soul and energy, especially with the knowledge that they developed to be one of the better bands in their genre, check this album out.