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Bolt Thrower Vs. The Unspoken King - 66%

OzzyApu, May 8th, 2009

June 11th, 1988

The battle plans were set: guitars at the ready, bass cocked back to devastate, the artillery battery to make sure the enemies are pinned, and the vocals with which to charge at them. No pain - no mercy for the weak. We will trample over the Unspoken King’s pathetic army of poseurs before the sun sets, or we will proudly die trying. Their heads shall hang from the banners and the lamentations of the sluts shall be heard between the hemispheres. For psychological purposes, let’s throw some coarse chemical weapons in for fun.

“Aren’t those outlawed in battle, sir?”
“This is still a battle, private. That’s the name of the game.”

June 12th, 1988

While still in the early hours of the morning, the Unspoken King and his army lie asleep from the excessive partying because they don’t know any better. Bolt Thrower, taking this battle as seriously as their honor, is as prepared as their budget allows them. In this early stage, they’re at their most unpolished, raw, gritty, and crusty. Following this battle, they’ll improve these characteristics, but every great band needs a grainy beginning. The artillery (drums) is set to rain down meteors and the guitars are standing by to go over the top with the tanks (bass) in merciless support. Willet’s lectures his troops one last time before he sets them loose like the demons of Hell.

“In the fight for existence and life
There is no law
And in the presence of eternal death
There is no law
And just the struggle for power the domination prevails
An arising slaughter
In revenging, every man for himself”

*The order is given, the whistle is blown, the adrenaline at its peak* – “AS IN BATTLE! THERE IS! NO LAAWWWW!!!”

The battery pour persistent double bass down like no other, but the sound isn’t as booming as hoped – instead the sound is very low and drowned. The lighter artillery (toms) are much more filling without any metallic annoyances, but have a sloppier skill while trying to keep up with the quota of rounds fired per minute. Where is the skill and training? This redundant style of fire is used on almost every song, except the more melodic ones like “Forgotten Existence” and in the later stages of the battle (the gas attack) on “Psychological Warfare.” The rhythm is more concentrated and the drums mix it up a little bit in a catchier pattern – those shitty poseurs were completely caught by surprise and the King woke up from his slumber… he was at a loss for words do to the overwhelming firepower.

The battle was broken down into nine general attacks, with all instruments taking part in each assault (tracks) – no pain, no mercy. Casualties were larger than predicted on the second, fourth, fifth, and the ninth assault; all showed signs of uninteresting tactics and lack of power, melody, and opted more for straightforward bashing. The greatest loss in all the assaults were from the bass which, although taking part in every operation, seemed to be drown under the harsh drive of the riffs. Its feats could still be heard as the air was filled, but otherwise there was little to listen to by the bass.

The troops (guitars), even just having come out of training, worked spectacularly in combat. When they found out law was bullshit in battle, they went all out and initiated no ceasefire under, even within the areas of no resistance. While the aforementioned assaults took on a more boring approach, tracks like the opening, third, seventh, and eighth attacks were by far the most successful. They blended different tactics such as headbanging rhythms, tremendously catchy thrash riffs, and a symphony drum tempos. Solos were apt on these ones and while glorious, were mostly lost under the unyielding charge of riffs. Their sound was grindy, churning, and yet not too thin to sound aggravating.

This battle is the first for Commander Willets as well, who cannot help but sound amateurish, tired out, and lets loose more of a gasping growl than a menacing one. Blame this problem on production or the crust influences the group held at the time; Willets still couldn’t pull of a real death metal growl. It works with the monotony of the battle and on its own is harsh and persistent, but it wasn’t the highlight. Compared to the other army’s commander, The Unspoken King… well, lets just say he was speechless.

June 13th 1988

Countless bodies of poseurs littered no man’s land on a scale not seen since the first day of the Battle of the Somme (1916). Heads were mounted on banners, decapitated bodies filled craters left by the well-spent artillery shells, and blood spilled rampantly. The only remaining photograph depicted is shown on the cover art - to much dismay in black and white. Perhaps it is best left with no distinct colors, lest the image become more than just a vintage warning to those who fuck with Bolt Thrower. The battle wasn’t a decisive victory for Bolt Thrower, but it proved their effectiveness and brutality, even under less brutal of productions. This would be the only battle that wasn’t massively thunderous, wickedly deafening, and a professionally executed operation. Nonetheless, In Battle There Is Now Law remains a short, seminal piece in the circuit of vintage battles fought between poseurs and those who stood for something worth dying for. As for the Unspoken King… well, twenty years later he’d be able to fathom the slaughter on his very own album…