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Deathgrind's ultimate avatar. - 100%

SculptedCold, November 30th, 2005

They don't make 'em like this anymore, they really don't. Considering the comparatively restrained and measured approach of Bolt Thrower's brand of death metal nowadays, Realm of Chaos is a uniquely untamed expression of sheer ferocity that stands alo


ne in their back catalogue. Yes, the guitars were disgustingly downtuned. Yes, the bass strings were as flappy as an old granny's snatch. Yes, the drumming was technically crap, and yes, the production was so non-existent as to make Scott Burns' work sound punchy and slick in comparison. What did it result in? Not crap, not at all; rather something that, to this day, is still unrivalled and laughs condescendingly in the face of modern brutality.

To put it simply, anyone who thinks Brodequin, Saprogenic or Devourment et al hold the throne to the dog's bollocks of sick, crunchy-ass breakdowns and chugs would be advised to listen to this album, because until they do, they're wrong. Hell, Bolt Thrower don't even need a heavy production; if this was produced by Andy Sneap (god forbid), the riffs alone would have carried this album into history. Songs such as Through the Eye of Terror, Drowned In Torment and All That Remains open-up with such stomach-churningly heavy, malevolent, fat


-ass riffs that I just want to grab my bolter, charge into the street, make mountains of shredded dead, and stomp defiantly...challengingly...through the remains. Thank goodness I don't have a bolter or power armour; this CD would have long ago landed me in prison. Of course, it isn't all about the chug; what separates it from the other BT albums is that these stomping battle marches are simply the calm before the storm, and what a fucking storm it is. Every single song without fail, at some glorious point, explodes messily into straight-up insane grind like a priest unloading into a boy's vulnerable bottom. Andy Whale couldn't really keep up on the drums, but it's all part of the charm...were this as clinical and mechanised as the later albums, it would have lost its air of rough savagery. The messy drumming really fits perfectly into the overall rawness endorsed by the static barrage that is the production.

Oh what a production. Jesus. The artwork and lyrics are all about Warhammer 40000. Eternal war. Mechanized carnage. Psychological terror. Deep, black space. Daemonic creatures and energies that make the word 'evil' too inadequate. Beautiful fiction. But still, this album sounds like all that. It oozes violence and bleak death from every strained pore. The guitars wail and squeal at random points; the screams of warp energies and tearing psyches. Their gritty, abrasive texture sounds like thick armour plating grinding on thick armour plating, it sounds like the titanic metal hulls of a city-sized spacecraft buckling and breaking with battle stress, it sounds like our reality is being torn apart at the ragged edges, letting-in hordes of roaring daemons, one of which is Karl Willet's iron-wrought and hoarse vocal delivery; chanting out all these premonitions with a rhythmic dexterity that complements and enhances both chug and grind sections alike. The drums tell the same story; their ill-fitting grind pounding betraying a structure falling apart at the foundations, and the tasteful accompaniment to the chugs just loose enough to inebriate that calm with a nervous energy that is so satisfyingly expunged when the storms begin.

o words to convey the full impression this album smashes mercilessly onto its attentive listeners. From the groovy Through the Eye of Terror to the epic and foreboding introduction to the famous World Eater, Realm of Chaos continually builds with the best chugs ever written only to destroy everything in sight with Bolt Thrower's singular true (and successful) attempt at pure grind calamity, all in a fittingly dark theme and unified by a classically pertinent, if technically naff, sound job.

It's a great thing that they never tried to write another album similar to this one, because there could really only ever be one Realm of Chaos. Anyone remotely interested in pure death metal or grind needs to own this piece of history.