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Review: Bolt Thrower - War Master
Bolt Thrower
War Master

Label: Earache Records
Year released: 1991
Duration: 41:49
Tracks: 9
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: March 1, 2021
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
War Master

Rated 4.83/5 (96.67%) (12 Votes)

Bolt Thrower is a band that I brushed off in the late '80s/early '90s because of my aversion to harsh vocals, but it is now time to give them another chance. The band's third album, 1991's War Master, didn't have a review here at The Metal Crypt and it was one I encountered upon its original release, so here goes.

War Master is a rock-solid death metal record with vocals that are not "cookie monster" variety and are in reality quite easy to decipher after a few listens. I wouldn't call them "smooth," but they aren't just unintelligible growls and complement the music well. As for the music, the riffs are monstrous. There isn't a weak track, just one bruising, punishing aural assault after another. Bolt Thrower made expert use of tempo changes, switching easily between groove-laden breakdowns and screaming guitar solos sure to flay the fingers off the novice guitar player trying to emulate them. That said, my favorite track has to be "Profane Creation." Something about this one just grabbed me by the throat and forcibly banged my head every time it came on. I can't point to one individual aspect that stands out; the whole thing is magic.

Yet another missed opportunity for me back in 1991 has now come around at a time when I can appreciate the whole package and not let the vocals put me off. Fans of death metal probably already know the goodness War Master contains, but if not and you have even a passing affinity for thrash, do yourself a favor and check it out.

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