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Into the Eye of Terror - 100%

dthdncr, September 4th, 2013

It was the early 90's and I was deep into thrash and wargaming. Games Workshop had recently opened up a shop a bike ride away from my parents house. It was there among the fellow Warhammer players that I discovered a gate fold vinyl album featuring cover art from my 40k space marine box set, a band named after a Warhammer Fantasy Battle siege weapon: Bolt Thrower. I immediately purchased it expecting it to just be something along the lines of the punk, crust, and oi-punk that they usually played in store. I got home that night and was blown away by what I heard. This was metal, maybe with a touch of punk but definitely with a metallic sound and presentation. What came from the speakers was a huge (for that day) wall of sound even faster than most of the thrash I had known and with a sound so thick and brutal I immediately understood why Games Workshop was associated with them. The sound represented utter chaos and war and the aural assault of distorted guitars and bass, bomb blasts and guttural vocals forever changed my life! In the liner notes they called themselves death metal and from then on I was hooked, something had succeeded thrash.

Reminiscing aside, this album was a masterpiece for it's time. The intro starts the album off with a sense of desolation, sounding as if you are in an abandoned, war torn spaceship adrift in some galaxy. 'Eternal War' kicks in and sets the stage for what is to come: massive sounding (but not overly bottom heavy) distorted guitars by Gavin and Barry. The music is a mix of thrashy Slayerish parts for the slow and mid paced sections and early death/grind for the faster sections, usually accompanied by Whale's bomb blasts (one of the first bomb blasts that I know of) and rolling double kick beats melded together by Jo's crunchy, over-driven/distorted bass that makes the guitars sound even more massive and viscous creating a 'wall of sound'. When there are leads they are more of a chaotic nature like Kerry King but pushed further. While I certainly wouldn't call this melodic death metal Gavin and Barry do make use of harmony and different guitar lines, not always playing the same part which is definite factor in their wall of sound and something they expand on more on future albums. Karl's vocals fit perfectly and are still some of my favorite as they avoid the trend of other early death metal bands and keep the vocals low, guttural but articulate and not just muffled grunts that might as well be another kick drum track.The production is raw and crusty and it works well for them. In hindsight the playing is sometimes sloppy compared to today's standards but the pure energy and savagery are definitely captured and very clear considering how low they were tuned in an era before extended range instruments came around. On later releases they would tune up to D to tighten and thicken up their massive wall of sound.

Standout tracks: Well, all of them but if I had to pick a few they would be 'World Eater' which to date is still a favorite song of mine. The riffs comprising the first two minutes of the song are just fantastic with a thrashy harmonized feel that resolves to a union pulse. Other great tracks: 'All That Remains', 'Lost Souls Domain', 'Realm Of Chaos', and 'Eternal War'