Tuesday, 27 March 2012

BOLT THROWER - Realm Of Chaos (1989)

01  Intro
02  Eternal War
03  Through The Eye Of Terror
04  Dark Millennium
05  All That Remains
06  Lost Souls Domain
07  Plague Bearer
08  World Eater
09  Drowned In Torment
10  Realm Of Chaos
11  Prophet Of Hatred (Bonus Track)
12  Outro

Bolt Thrower were formed in September 1986 by bassist Gavin Ward and guitarist Barry Thomson in a Coventry pub toilet during a hardcore punk gig. Shortly after, Andrew Whale and Alan West joined on drums and vocals respectively. Their debut LP released by Vinyl Solution, "In Battle There Is No Law", is only a half hour in length and has a primitive and raw sound often categorized as grindcore. Not satisfied with the production and promotion from the label, Bolt Thrower decided to leave Vinyl Solution and were signed by Earache Records putting out "Realm Of Chaos" in 1989.

The album was mixed at Slaughterhouse Studios and engineered by Colin Richardson. It was  produced by the band and Digby Pearson. The cover artwork is produced by Games Workshop. The whole album is closely tied to Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 game series and Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness was the title of a gaming book by Games Workshop released in 1988. In 2005 a re-issue of the record was released by Earache, featuring new artwork. The band advises not to buy the re-issue, as they have not been involved and will not get any royalties.

This is essentially a purer form of Death Metal, free from any of the blackened traits of earlier albums from the mid 80s which still retained a heavily thrash style, while also avoiding the comical obsession with descriptive gore that Cannibal Corpse was soon to bring forth. It’s evil to the core, yet the riffs pound like machine guns and artillery rather than mystify the ears with visions of metaphysical horrors threatening to steal one’s soul. There is still a strong Thrash remnant in the presentation of the guitars, complete with slower breakdown sections that wander chromatically yet still have a groove quality to them. Likewise, Karl Willet’s vocals have become much more guttural and hideous sounding, well beyond what Chuck Schuldiner or Jeff Becerra would have done back at around this time, to the point of sounding more demon than human.

This was Bolt Thrower's last true grind release before they strayed toward the death metal stylings of their subsequent albums. This album is a landmark for extreme music. At a time when Carcass, Napalm Death, Righteous Pigs, Terrorizer, and Extreme Noise Terror were thrashing away noisily trying to break the speed of sound, only Bolt Thrower and Godflesh were truly exploring the sonic possibilities of creating massive walls of sound, rather than just being noisy. There aren't many complaints that can really be made about this album. It's one of the heaviest albums ever recorded and has a great mix to please just about everyone. Stand-out tracks include; "All That Remains", "World Eater" and "Through The Eye Of Terror".

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