BOLT THROWER - The Crusade (EARACHE Records LP 1992)
It's easy to be a fan of bands like Bolt Thrower. You always know what to expect from their albums, because the band never wimped out, never decided "to progress" or change their death metal style for something completely different. They stick to their own, characteristic style, which is good, in my opinion, because this is THEIR style. I know that sometimes it can sound a bit monotonous, I know also that Bolt Thrower has been repeating some ideas or schemes quite few times. Anyway, their albums are fantastic and I love them all. Call them AC/DC of death metal (why not?!), but if the songs are great, then there's no problem! "The Crusade" is not my favourite album from Bolt Thrower, but it is one of their better achievements for sure. It's one of those album, which massacre you with heavy and brutal character, with great memorable riffs and powerful sound. It’s not super technical, it's rather slow paced, it's even quite one dimensional, but there's no boredom for me. I can obviously agree that an album, which is over 50 minutes long may need a bit more variety, but I am just not bothered about that, because this is fuckin Bolt Thrower! This is death metal cannonade and it's about to bring destruction!
"The Crusade" is definitely one of the strongest records in Bolt Thrower discography. It's not my favourite album, but one of their best for sure. The best thing about it is the riffing of corpse! Man, I could pick up dozens of riffs from it, which sound simply fantastic and I love them deeply. I get chills when I hear them. Bolt Thrower is one of those bands, which have their own, unique style - whether we speak of the riff style, song structure, atmosphere of the music, even the vocals style. All these things are pretty characteristic and unique for Bolt Thrower. Once you hear a song from them, you just know this is fuckin Thrower. "The Crusade" is a great example of that style and how impressive are the riffs from this band. I love how they merge melodies into the truly heavy parts, how intense, groovy and powerful the guitar work is. The music is brutal, but insanely epic and monumental. Yes, monumental, majestic and truly damn heavy are the best words to describe the content of this record. It's far from technical stuff, it's pretty simple I suppose, but maybe this is also why the whole thing sounds so bloody memorable and is quite easy to get into. And the kick, which this music gives, is really big. I can mention some songs, which are exceptional and truly amazing. The title track is definitely the best one here, it's absolutely best song Bolt Thrower has ever done. Classic stuff for sure. But such "Spearhead", "Where Next to Conquer", "As the World Burns", "Celestial Sanctuary" and "Dying Creed" leave me breathless and dead, totally crushed and massacred.
Lyrically this album is more like a pessimistic vision of tomorrow and present, an apocalyptic view of how mankind is destroying itself and the Earth, rather than a war based record. But read the lyrics, they're interesting and are like a bad prophecy - hopefully a wrong one - for all of us. They're also a warning and question "what will tomorrow be like?". They complement the musical content very well, I suppose.
Standout tracks: "Spearhead", "Where Next to Conquer", "As the World Burns", "The Crusade"
Final rate: 85/100