Bolt Thrower – The IVth Crusade
Album Review by Adam McCann
Label : Earache Records
Year : 1992
Where Next to Conquer?
By 1992, Bolt Thrower had established themselves as the authority on military themed death metal. Taking their album title from the failed Fourth Crusade in which the Christian Crusaders decided to pillage the Byzantine capital of Constantinople instead of reaching the Holy Land, Bolt Thrower announced a change in tactics of their own.
In comparison to contemporary death metal and indeed Bolt Thrower themselves, ‘The IVth Crusade’ shows a considerable drop in pace, particularly seen evident in the title track, ‘As the World Burns’ and ‘This Time It’s War’ in which the band begin to foray into a more death/doom direction producing an alternative to the straight up death metal which would interweave itself through future Bolt Thrower releases. In comparison to their peers, the likes of Carcass, Obituary, Benediction and Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower’s conscious choice of tempo change really did set them apart as a band which had a little bit something more to offer than guts, speed and gore.
It was this separation which ultimately pushed Bolt Thrower down the pecking order towards the debatable status of a cult death metal band and it was ‘The IVth Crusade’ which provided this turning point. However, as an album, ‘The IVth Crusade’ stands tall and strong alongside album by their peers, it is an excellent album of death metal with some fantastic playing throughout, the guitar solo during ‘Ritual’ is one of the best from this era with ‘The IVth Crusade’ only really faltering at the last hurdle with the rather dull ‘Through the Ages’.
‘The IVth Crusade’ is a decent album of excellent death metal and is a prime example of Bolt Thrower in their prime providing a solid foundation for the seminal ‘…For Victory’ and its follow up ‘Mercenary’.
Rating : 76/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann