Bolt Thrower - _Those Once Loyal_
(Metal Blade, 2005)
by: Jackie Smit (
Bolt Thrower, much like their US death metal counterparts Obituary, are something of an anomaly. In a world where evolution and consistent progression are regarded as being fundamentally vital to a band's continued relevance, they managed to carve a niche for themselves very early on in their existence through which they subsequently built up an uncannily rabid fanbase; one which appeared to maintain, if not exceed its momentum despite the band's silence post 2001's _Honour, Valour, Pride_. Now they've etched themselves onto 2005's lengthy list of comebacks, and unsurprisingly there's little in the way of unique characteristics to separate their eighth full-length effort from its forerunners, a point which will almost certainly stick in the craw of a significant number of reviewers. Yet it shouldn't come as a surprise -- this is Bolt Thrower following a tried, tested and much beloved formula; and with Karl Willetts back in the vocal booth, _Those Once Loyal_ shows off the band at the absolute peak of their craft. "The Killchain" and "Last Stand Of Humanity" are classic Bolt Thrower, chock full of rollicking grooves that burrow themselves deep into the listener's conscience. Short and long -- _Those Once Loyal_ easily tops _Honour, Valour, Pride_ and comfortably stands up alongside _Mercenary_ and _The IVth Crusade_. And that, to the mind of any Bolt Thrower fan worth their salt, equals a resounding triumph.
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