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The Soundtrack of War. - 100%

crusthead, January 17th, 2010

War is a subject that is heavily exploited in metal and its many subgenres, but very few come close to capturing the ambience of war in their music. Britains Bolt Thrower are one of these bands, and I shall go on to say that they are pretty much the best in the business of war themed metal. Not only that, but in my opinion, one of the finest, most honorable acts in the death metal scene.

Consisting of 10 tracks and a sombre spoken word outro, The IVth Crusade is the bands 4th full length album and stands out as a highlight in their discography. Production oozes that "early death metal" feel. The downtuned guitars crunch through like tanks over rubble, yet doesnt drown out the rumbling bass. Solos are all well timed and memorable, and add only to the mood of the song without ever feeling out of place.

The drums are also perfect in the mix, as it syncs in well with the rest of the instruments, without sounding too dominating or weak. For the most part of it, the underlying drums are simple patterns that support the guitars. But once the double bass kicks in, you would see how it adds more to the "heaviness" factor of the album. The vocals are what I consider a shining examples of how said department can sound killer while sounding (gasp) clear at the same time. This vocals style conveys the emotions of war without which the album could never be complete. Not that I dont enjoy indecipherable vocals, but its a welcome change to hear Bolt Throwers vocal style once in a while.

Concerning music, Bolt Thrower sure know how to write a tune that can hold your attention.The heaviness and brutality becomes obvious from the very ‏first second of the album. They manage to get enough variation out of the handful of riffs that make up a song, so it remains interesting till the end. And it works fine for me . Because, personally speaking, I really dont feel the need to hear a new riff every 10 seconds. What matters is whether or not the song conveys an emotion to the listener. And as far as this album goes, there is plenty of emotion. So much so that after a point, it becomes more than another metal album, it turns into the soundtrack of war itself.

To sum it up, There are no blast beats, no ridiculously gutteral vocals, no ultra-complex guitar sections here. Just old-school mid-tempo death metal with a lot of class that leaves a few dozen smoking craters on the current death metal scene.