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Early British Heavy Groove laden Death
on 24 November 2006
Bolt Thrower are true stalwarts of the UK extreme metal scene. Their sound on Realm of Chaos is heavy, groove laden, but alas, some what dated.
BT were always touted as a "grindcore" outfit throughout the late 80's and early 90's, but in truth they were no more 'Grind' than any of the mainstream death metal acts at the time. Grind, for me, during this period, was the likes of Napalm, Carcass, ENT etc...
Realm of Chaos has all the ingredients of an early death metal release. Flash cover art, themes of death and war, mainly set in the future, and chaos as was set by minature based gaming company Games Workshop.
As for the music itself, there is a real leaning towards Morbid Angel riffs circa Altars of Madness. You have to listen hard, but they are well mixed in their. The solos are very "Trey" like too. The guitars on ROC cut between slow, mid paced and semi fast attacks. The vocals are excellent, with that early Cookie Monster growl, and, as was the way back then, you can actually understand whats being said.
The big draw back about this album, and the next two if I'm honest, is the repetition between songs. The riffs are all pretty much similar, and when they do differ, the structure of the track is easy to estimate. Slow opening repeated riffs, vocals slowly unfolding the pretext of the story, then a barrage of percussion and your off into mid paced death metal.
World Eater is the obvious stand out track on here. A true classic, with enough raw "metal" to build a battle ship! This track alone makes up for a hell of a lot of low points to the album. I think the reason I find it hard to listen to, and found it to date very quickly after I bought it new (yeah, all us oldies are coming out of the wood work now..I'm 29, and have this on gatefold sleeve, "gore splatter" vinyl !!)was because it couldn't compete technically with the likes of Autopsy, Death, Obituary (Slowly we Rot just closed the door on most things!!!) etc...
I'm proud that a UK band have become such a big success in the world wide death metal scene, but unfortunetly their sound just wasn't for me.
Comparing it to todays stuff, Nile, Cryptopsy, Akercocke (if you want a brit comparison) this old school death metal can only seem a little dated and very very basic, if it wasn't magical in the first place.
Symphonies of Sickness, Slowly we Rot, Left Hand Path, Altars of Madness, Eaten Back to Life, these types of albums stand the test of time because they really are magical !!! Realm of Chaos.... uuuummmm.... is not.