With the tragic death of Martin Kearns in 2015, it looks like the book on the long and storied career of Bolt Thrower has been closed (for now).
Like a phoenix rising out of the ashes, Memoriam – a collaboration between former Bolt Thrower and Benediction members – has been born as a tribute to Kearns and the result is For the Fallen.
With members from two prominent British death metal acts, comparisons will certainly arise and that’s not a bad thing considering the pedigree. With a haunting guitar line weaving through the air, opening track ‘Memoriam’ kicks off the proceedings with a simplistic slow and steady groove and Karl Willetts’ unique vocal bark like the mission statement for the album. After a vintage war time speech, the hellfire sprays and it’s on into ‘War Rages On’ – an old school death metal salvo manifestation at its finest – big, riff laden, heavy and loud. Enough said.
‘Reduced To Zero’ conjures images of being under attack from the enemy, ‘Surrounded by Death’, ‘Resistance’ and ‘Flatline’ plod along like a big metal tank destroying all in its path, ‘Corrupted System’ brings a bit of a different edge to the game with its punky attitude and hardcore sensibilities and ‘Last Words’ closes proceedings with a dark dirgy and brutal tribute to the fallen, bolstered by the sounds of war.
Sonically and production wise, it reminds the ear of For Victory-era Bolt Thrower with Benediction’s no bullshit sonic attack with a modern twist. However, you aren’t going to hear any digital amps or triggers on this – this is as old school as it gets, but with a 2017 take on it.
Make no bones about it, this is a heavy metal album through and through – no ballads, no clean vocals, no bullshit. For the Fallen is a proud continuation of the Bolt Thrower and Benediction heritage while blazing its own individual trail and identity along the way. It certainly and proudly fills the void that Bolt Thrower left behind. Good old death metal fans will love this.
2. War Rages On
3. Reduced to Zero
4. Corrupted System
6. Surrounded (By Death)
8. Last Words