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Impeccable - 95%

mikey22, October 3rd, 2017

I'm speechless, to be honest I really am. This album came out in 1989, 19 freakin 89 and it still crushes most death metal today. You have to understand the time period this came out in. On the top of the charts was stuff like Glam rock, Madonna, and thrash was slowly drifting away but not just yet. The death metal scene at this time was still in its infant stages so it was not fully formed and what's truly amazing is this stuff is not derived from thrash, really it isn't. This is derived from grindcore and hardcore Punk like Napalm Death (Carcass also took that route) and the grindcore/punk influences are shown in the drumming, guitar riffs, and lyrics.

We have to discuss the atmosphere displayed on this record. Never before has the atmosphere of war been portrayed so truthfully as this album. War isn't heroic or glorious; it's raw and ugly like this album. The opening riff to "All that Remains" is what I would most likely hear in my head if I went out on the battlefield with its down tuned, rotten sound. The cover art is done by games workshop that did the artwork to warhammer 40k. The remastered versions of the albums do not have the games workshop artwork featuring completely different artwork. The reason they couldn't get the art work is because they lost the license to use it.

Anyway, getting off topic here the production is extremely bottom end heavy. The bass was apparently down tuned so low the strings wouldn't vibrate and the drums give off a sense of all-out war combat. Andy Whale is easily the weakest link in the band. He's off time with the blast beats, his double kick work is sloppy, but he plays with lots of brute force. He beats the living crap out of the drum kit. The reason I link his drumming to an artillery gun is because artillery guns are not accurate and hard to use but they create a tremendous amount of damage when used and that's Andy Whale for you. The guitar playing here is undoubtedly some of the most skull crushing and rotten sounding of all time. Nearly thirty years later and modern bands cannot match the guitar sound that is used here. Here it is ugly, frightening, and heavy. The riffs played here range from doom riffs, death metal riffs, grind riffs, and some thrash riffs. The doom metal like riffs are used to illustrate the desolate feeling of war and hopelessness on the battlefield. The death and grind riffs are used to paint a mental image of all out combat because death metal/grindcore is usually violent music and the violence in the guitars present the war combat.

The bass isn't the most audible on this record but you can still hear it unlike many death metal albums which the bass is completely drowned out. Now the vocals by Karl Willets are the most guttural at the time of this release. None of the other Bolt Thrower albums did he sound this angry. Just listen to his growls on "Eternal War," "Through the eye of Terror," and "All That Remains." I haven't heard many vocals sound that pissed and filled with malice. His lyrics are also excellent on this album. The lyrics all deal with war, but the grindcore aspect inserted into the music makes a lot of these lyrics symbolic of how those in power make the weaker fight their battles in war. It's very anti-war this album and critical of how war will destroy all of us in the end. This album is also one of the few albums that rather than dealing with all out combat (which is does at times) it also displays through the music the horrific aftermath of war and battle. It's never glorious for the people on the battlefield. For the higher ups it looks glorious but on the surface level it is far from it. It talks about how many lives are ruined, lost, destroyed, and how war makes the places they were fought in completely destroyed and ruined.

In my opinion no album in death metal history has displayed the atrocity of war better than this album. It takes a look at it from a political, battle, and personal perspective. That's what makes it so effective. The atmosphere only adds to the feeling of war. If this album had pitch perfect production it wouldn't work as well. An album like Realm of Chaos comes only once in a lifetime never to be imitated.
Highlight Tracks: Eternal war, Through the eye of Terror, Dark Millennium, Drowned in torrment, All that remains, World Eater, and the title track