Who Dares Wins
For over a decade now, England’s Bolt Thrower has maintained a Scorched Earth policy to its patented brand of “war metal,” a death-metalized juggernaut (un)hinged by bulldozing double-bass beats, detuned doom riffs on uppers, and vocalist Karl Willets’ scowling-general demon-growls. However foaming-at-the-mouth the band may be, Bolt Thrower consistently remain the quintessence of non-academic tightness, lending itself more to a stately and studied battle-stance than prerequisite death metal chops, the band perpetually refining its war-like aesthetic with each subsequent record. But to say Bolt Thrower’s six studio albums are nearly interchangeable isn’t so much an indictment of the band’s lack of growth as it is a testament to the band’s uncompromising single-mindedness — an earmark of a band unfettered by extreme metal’s trends and tribulations.
And the unbelievers need look no further than Who Dares Wins , an odds ‘n’ sods collection that compiles two out-of-print EPs ( Cenotaph and Spearhead ) and two tracks from the Rareache compilation. The funny thing is, Who Dares Wins rampages as consistently as any other Bolt Thrower full-length (the near-perfect Realm of Chaos notwithstanding), and it’s merely a compilation — not a full-fledged studio album, mind you — stretching four years of the band’s existence: all blood, broadswords, and general Warhammer imagery, Bolt Thrower characteristically approximates the sound of a Panzer proudly steamrollering the waste it’s laid. Though only hinted at on the ne plus ultra title track of 1988’s In Battle There is No Law! debut, the band now occasionally douses its victory marches in tar-thick gobs of uber -doom (e.g., “Destructive Infinity,” “Lament”); still, the more Bolt Thrower seemingly changes, the more it stays the same.
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