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On disc: Bolt Thrower

Those Once Loyal - Mike Thompson - 10 stars

Those Once Loyal

Those Once Loyal
(Metal Blade - 2005)

Has there ever been a more consistent band than Bolt Thrower? These British death metal monsters have been unleashing their style crushing death metal on the world since 1986 and have not yet released a bad album. Indeed, their style of music has hardly changed at all since their founding! With Those Once Loyal this mighty British war machine unleash their eighth full length album.
Those Once Loyal contains nine head pounding anthems of destruction, almost all of which could be numbered amongst Bolt Thrower's best songs. Those who know the band will not be surprised at the band's sound which is still as consistently 'Bolt Thrower' as ever, combining crushing, groove-laden riffs that are surprisingly catchy whether played at high speed or the mid-paced, doom-like plodding for which Bolt Thrower are well known. The sound is very 'bassy', showing Jo Bench's four-string talents to great effect and this makes the songs seem heavier than most other death metal bands out there!
Great news for all fans of Bolt Thrower is that Karl Willets is back on vocal duties following his unfortunate disappearance for 2002's Honour, Valour, Pride album where the vox was handled by ex-Benediction frontman Dave Ingram. Willet's voice is just as brutal as ever and his growling style just fits the sound of Bolt Thrower so well.
The real stand-out tracks on this album for me are The Killchain, which has an intro reminiscent of the song Embers From The IVth Crusade, before it breaks down into a catchy hook that will stick in your mind long after the album has ended. Anti-Tank (Dead Armour) is probably now my favorite ever Bolt Thrower song with some great lyrics and music. Finally, Last Stand Of Humanity has a true 'to-die-for' riff which will absolutely slay live. However, it has to be said that Those Once Loyal is an album you can listen to again and again without ever wanting to skip a track. It may be typical Bolt Thrower, but the metal gods were surely watching over the Coventry quintet when they were writing this album as it is in my opinion their strongest album to date.

10 stars

Mike Thompson


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