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Review: Bolt Thrower - Those Once Loyal
Bolt Thrower
Those Once Loyal

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2005
Duration: 43:43
Tracks: 10
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: February 7, 2023
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Those Once Loyal

Rated 4.86/5 (97.14%) (7 Votes)

It's fitting that Bolt Thrower, who used the eight-pointed star of chaos as their recurring symbol, would bow out after eight albums. Reportedly the band started work on another album, but wasn't satisfied with the songs they were developing and decided not to record another album unless they had songs they thought were good enough, which they never did. The band continued to tour for over a decade after this, but the death of drummer Martin Kearns in 2015 permanently ended any hope of a ninth album.

Coming after a pair of albums that many fans regarded as weak (Mercenary, and Honor Valor Pride), this was almost like a comeback album. Karl Willetts was back behind the mike, and his return seems to have put a shot of extra heaviness into the band, as while this has some very distinctive and melodic guitar work, the old chugging heaviness of the band was back at the very forefront. The combination of memorable riffs and that bulldozer heaviness makes songs like "The Killchain" and "A Symbol of Eight" into some of the most memorable works in the Bolt Thrower canon. Here and there things do get a bit too slow and doomy, when I would prefer they keep the pedal down, but for their last album, Bolt Thrower pretty much delivered on everything you could want out of it.

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