Miss the original drummer, no blast beats, nice and catchy and groovy but a bit bland, I miss the fast drives and the assaults, can’t go wrong though – it is Bolt Thrower!
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Ahh, Bolt Thrower. What’s not to like about them? They’re like the History Channel death metal band. Their lyrical content soley deals with war and epic battles. They are also probably a candidate for the award of “Most consistent death metal band of all time.” As one reviewer claimed, “[Bolt Thrower] is like you’re favorite pizza. The box may have changed but it is still the same tasty product inside.”
For this album, original storyteller/vocalist Karl Willets is back after the band tried to co-opt ex-Benediction front man Dave Ingram who later had to jump ship for medical reasons. The most standout thing about this Bolt Thrower release is the guitar riffs and some of the paces they decided to use in certain songs. Even with these two things, it is still the same death/grind band as it always was. In fact, the only style change people comment on is that for their first three albums they had a slightly faster pace in the songs as opposed to the “IV Crusade” (and after) slightly slower pace. I don’t really look at that as much of a change in sound and anyone who demands Bolt Thrower put a couple blast beats here and there really likes a one dimensional style. I like all Bolt Thrower albums but just because a drummer can play the hi-hat, snare, and bass drum all at the same time doesn’t make any band amazing.
Great riffs, original vocalist back, a cool bass line here and there, sometimes a funky beat (4th track), and top notch production to boot. Those new to the band would be better served to check out 1991’s “Warmaster” instead and then come back to this album afterwards. On the other hand, seasoned foot soldiers in this bands fan battalion would be very well served to pick this up.
This album is refreshing in its straight-forward brutality. Bolt-Thrower have definitely managed to keep their breed of death metal alive, and with the return of Karl Willetts to the line-up, it has certainly meant a return to form for many loyal fans.
This album is heavy. The riffage is thick, and the drums are pummeling (especially on the faster tracks). I’ll be honest and say that I prefer the faster tracks, but the slower ones are still good and are meaty in a way that only Bolt-Thrower know how to do. ‘Those Once Loyal’ is a hefty slab of old school death metal, and provides a nice alternative once in a while to all the crazy tech death metal going on these days…
This album rocks. Karl is on his game with the vocals — the growls are deeper than Mercenary and For Victory, and better than Ingram on Honour, Valour, Pride. The guitar sound is similar to the last 2 albums, but heavier with more bass. The songs are mostly medium to medium-fast, unlike Mercenary which was slow, and Honour, Valour, Pride which had a lot of slow ones also. I’d put this album in my top 3 — Warmaster – #1, IVth Crusade – #2, Those Once Loyal – #3.
Those once Loyal is a return to Bolt Throwers signiture sound and is a much better then its predecessor, “Honour, Valour, Pride.” Willts returns to the band on Vocals, and BT fans will be pleased that the band hasnt gone soft and this might be the best release since “Mercenary”. Every song is a crunching kick in the b**ls and in my opinion, is second only to Slayer as the greatist metal band EVER. If you are unfamiler with the band, this album and “Warmaster” is a great place to start. ENJOY