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Easily the best thing to come out of England in the late 80s, Bolt Thrower took the best aspects of the grindcore of bands like Terrorizer and Napalm Death, combined them with the thrash and first wave death metal of the late 80s, down-tuned their guitars a bit more and unleashed what probably would have been UK’s best death metal album, had they not returned the next year and made an even better one. The sound is very organic, owing perhaps to the loose sound of the guitar and the relatively low (compared to what we’re used to in death metal these days) standard of production. This organic sound suits Bolt Thrower very well, as one of my main grievances with their later work is that they lose some of their personality on the cleaner sounding albums like ...For Victory and Mercenary. This is filthy, dirty death metal full of grit and the production on this as well as on Realm of Chaos suits the band perfectly.
The riffs are fast and grinding, and will draw comparisons to bands like Repulsion as well as bands like Slayer. The music is unrelenting, though it slows down occasionally, it never loses its brutality. It is for the most part a full-speed assault, but Bolt Thrower has some great riffs, interesting drum beats and perfectly timed tempo changes that keep the music from becoming dull. Though it does get a bit repetitive, this is a good effect and the music is in a way hypnotic, much like its successor.
These are just about the best vocals on any Bolt Thrower album. They’re very grindy and are dripping with scorn, which will remind the listener of Napalm Death. Lyrically, Bolt Thrower are singing about warhammer and the like, although thankfully they hadn’t yet adopted that awful logo, using instead artwork that could have passed for a crust punk demo.
Overall this is a great, classic death metal album that needs to be in every metalhead’s collection. It’s not quite as good as Realm of Chaos, but it’s still awesome, and great fun. It’s easily their filthiest offering, and has a more prominent grindcore influence than their later works. I highly recommend this.