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In the future there is no hope, only WAR! - 95%

Ancient_Mariner, March 20th, 2013
Written based on this version: 2005, CD, Earache Records (Alternate cover)

Here we have what I think is the perfect Bolt Thrower album. Based on Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40k game, it’s filled with crushing death metal riffage but with an ample amount of the grind elements of earlier material. The initial release had much better cover artwork which was the art from the original Warhammer 40k rules book, but the re-release has the same artist doing his best to put down something similar without getting into IP issues. Still if you can find the original it’s much better looking. Either way get this album which goes from mid paced smothering heaviness to hyperactive blasting and back again. It’s really got everything a Bolt Thrower fan could ask for. Songs are based around elements of the future universe of the 40k game, war and the eternal fight against the evil forces of chaos. However one doesn’t need to have any clue to the background setting of the game to enjoy the songs, the lyrics and themes are great standing on their own. Opening with a mechanical sounding throbbing track that makes one feel as if a great and massive machine is rolling by while Whilletts deep death metal growl lays out the foundation for the entire albums concept. Then as that ends you are launched into the first proper track Eternal War which opens with some mid paced grinding riffage before the blast assault begins and one is forced to bang their head with abandon. What’s perfect about this slab of metal is how the move from more middling speeds to blasts and insane chaotic solos supports the lyrical themes. One moment you have the feel of vast machines of war steadily moving into conflict before the insanity of chaos hits with the grinding hyper riffs and blast beats Andy Whale lays down. You can feel the chaos oozing from your speakers with this one.

As the tracks progress they lay down the basics of the early history of the 40k universe, which is quite cool. From the wars of mankind to the fall of the Space Marine legions to Chaos this album does a nice job of telling an interesting sci-fi story, something I don’t usually look for from devastating grinding death metal albums. Stories of corruption by Chaos Gods, plague, death, and never ending war against the forces seeking to corrupt mankind are laid out and perfectly supported by the music. The standout track is World Eater, which is the name of the one of the Space Marine legions that went to the service of Chaos. It starts out with a near perfect heavy as fuck riff, fairly simple but with a groove that just grabs you, before moving into a total blast attack and back again. This main riff would be used to create a link between later albums as it would appear on several future releases. It’s like a perfect summation of the whole album in one song. Listening to Whilletts growl out WORLD EATER just sends chills down my spine and the lyrics tell a story of despair and final death and lead into the title track which tells the story of the inevitable fall of men to the forces of Chaos. This isn’t a story of hope as you may have guessed by now.

If you like Bolt Thrower’s later material you will find this a bit different with the grind elements still very intact, but the core of later Bolt Thrower is there. In summary this is an oppressively heavy slab of riffs, pounding drums, atonal solos, and some of the best death growls ever laid down. This is totally mandatory for any fan of deathgrind or just death metal in general. ENTER THE REALM OF CHAOS!