Welcome back to Throwback Thursday! This is the place where we get to indulge in nostalgia and wax poetic about excellent metal of years past. TBT number 43 features Bolt Thrower, a humble 5-piece born in the medieval-turned-modern city of Coventry, England. If you haven't had a lesson in metal greatness this week, the story of Those Once Loyal is a going to expand your metal consciousness one chug at a time.
BOLT THROWER'S THOSE ONCE LOYAL
Release Date: November 2005
Record Label: Metal Blade
Bolt Thrower have flown seriously under the radar for many modern metal fans. Part of the reason for their absence from the limelight may be due to their lack recent releases. 2005's Those Once Loyal is the band's latest full-length original studio release. From the first crescendo of intro music, slowly swelling with depth and pregnant with anticipation, to the last sustaining guitars and ever-fading march of the drums, Those Once Loyal is an unflinching study in metal from start to finish. Check out my favorite track off of the album "The Killchain":
Hard, tough, and unapologetic, Those Once Loyal is the last album Bolt Thrower decided to record. Why? For reasons unheard of by many long-standing heavy metal 'all-stars'. The band cites that they wanted to stop making music after the album's release because their subsequent material honestly did not live up to the bar they had set for themselves with Those Once Loyal. That is a sentiment I can get behind, because the album is crushing, churning, and the some of the musicianship best of what Bolt Thrower has to offer. Check out the title track "Those Once Loyal":
As simply as that, Bolt Thrower decided to stop making new music. The band, however, didn't break up and continued to tour the planet with the wealth of material they had already produced. They regularly toured, even headlining, until 2016 when the band broke up largely in part due of the tragic death of their long-time member, friend, and drummer Martin "Kiddie" Kearns.
For a band that started in '86, Bolt Thrower were truly ahead of their time. The results of their years of as a band culminated into the focused, smart effort Those Once Loyal. The album is bass-forward, combining a newer, raunchier guitar tone with steady, unrelenting chugginess and their signature homages to their thrashy influences. Check out track "When Cannons Fade":
Bolt Thrower have earned massive respect from me. Aside from the length of their career, they've also shied from away from exploiting the gender of their bass player, Jo Bench, to collect on 'the check out the chick we have in the band' (the 'low-hanging fruit' of all metal publicity grabs) attention. As if having the self-awareness to bow out with a record worth remembering wasn't enough of a reason to give the band a nod approval, the group went on touring for over a decade after the release of Those Once Loyal to delight fans world-wide. Those reasons, combined with the band's own philosophy to simply 'be different' (for example, their 1989 partnership with Games Workshop and Warhammer gaming) Bolt Thrower really have earned their carvings on the walls of the heavy metal annals of history. Fans adore them, I love them, and you should check out Those Once Loyal ASAP.