Rating:
9.3
Bolt Thrower - The IVth Crusade
1992


01. The IVth Crusade
02. Icon
03. Embers
04. Where Next To Conquer
05. As The World Burns
06. This Time It's War
07. Ritual
08. Spearhead
09. Celestial Sanctuary
10. Dying Creed
11. Through The Ages (Outro)
12. Crown Of Life [Reissue bonus]
13. Lament [Reissue bonus]


Having all but left their grindcore elements behind, legendary death metal masters Bolt Thrower continued engraving their mark on the death metal scene with their fourth full-length release, aptly titled The IVth Crusade. Now, when you've released a classic grindcore album as your debut and followed it up with two stellar death metal outputs, expectations are pretty high. In typical Bolt Thrower fashion, expectations were not only met, but exceeded.

The IVth Crusade is looked upon as an old school death metal release by today's standards, but in its time this was seriously brutal stuff - with less of an occult vibe than Onward to Golgotha, less doomy passages than Last One on Earth, less primitive than Legion... you could go on and on about what this album lacks in comparison to others released during the same year, but what The IVth Crusade has that those other albums don't is a surreal sense of professionalism and duty, as if the band members took it upon themselves not to provide the "most" anything, but to supply the listener with the exact ingredients necessary for a death metal masterpiece.

No gimmicks, no marketing ploys or fancy tricks, no studio magic or plasticized emotions - this is just pure fucking death metal. Raw, edgy, slow, and - most importantly - crushing. Every riff brings with it a sense of subtle melody and groove, yet each gritty chord being struck comes with the danger of caving in your skull. These guys (and girl!) ensure the production doesn't take away any of the primitive barbaric emotion displayed by Thompson and Ward's excellent guitar work, despite such a professional sounding approach. You can feel the spite behind the mic thanks to an almost lethargic-sounding display of beastly snarls and harsh rasps by Karl Willetts, and drummer Andy Whale pounds away relentlessly behind the kit as the album wears you down. The inclusion of scarce melodic elements really adds to the album's authenticity, as the listener is made aware of the musicians' songwriting prowess. Songs flow together seamlessly with plenty of hooks and groove, making for one of the easiest "difficult" listens you'll ever experience.

At the end of the day, The IVth Crusade has proven over the years it deserves its status as a timeless death metal classic. The band's no-nonsense approach to creating some snail-paced oppressive death metal worked wonders and we're left with just over 50 minutes of solid death metal to marvel at as a result.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 10


Band profile: Bolt Thrower
Album: The IVth Crusade


 



Written on 25.04.2012 by
Troy Killjoy
Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.
More reviews by Troy Killjoy ››



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Ace Frawley - 26.04.2012 at 14:08  
Top review - well written. Took me back to the day when I was into this album.
BitterCOld - 27.04.2012 at 01:28  
I prefer ...For Victory, which I think was the band at their 80's/90's zenith ("Those Once Loyal" is on the same par, even a decade and change later) , but this album is mighty close.

good to see more BT reviews. kudos.
Troy Killjoy - 27.04.2012 at 01:31  
Written by BitterCOld on 27.04.2012 at 01:28
I prefer ...For Victory, which I think was the band at their 80's/90's zenith ("Those Once Loyal" is on the same par, even a decade and change later) , but this album is mighty close.

good to see more BT reviews. kudos.

My thoughts exactly, but this one needed a review since Richard covered TOL and you covered FV. It still amazes me that a band can release three death metal masterpieces when so many others can't even muster up anything more than "decent" with a handful of releases.
Daniell - 27.04.2012 at 22:59  
I agree with every word of the review. A brilliant album from start to finish. I'm old enough to remember its release and how floored I was by its heaviness. It fucking sucks that since then death metal morphed into "brutal" death metal bullshit. Every single song off this album effortlessly blows all modern death metal out of the water.
RavenKing - 06.05.2012 at 20:03  
One of my favorite Death Metal albums. A classic, Imo.
@gent_-_orange - 07.05.2012 at 03:05  
I prefer Realm of Chaos to this but you cant go wrong with Bolt Thrower.

Nice review.
Troy Killjoy - 07.05.2012 at 03:11  
Written by @gent_-_orange on 07.05.2012 at 03:05
I prefer Realm of Chaos to this but you cant go wrong with Bolt Thrower. Nice review.

Thanks. Personally I'd give RoC a high 8 but like you said, you can't go wrong with these guys. Even their worst material is better than like... any other death metal band's best. (Slight exaggeration, but you get my point.)
Richard - 23.05.2012 at 04:02  
I totally agree - a great review of a great album. Crushing slow to mid-paced Death Metal, with plenty of hooks and groove as you said. The title track (devastating main riff) and Celestial Sanctuary (excellent chorus and lyrics - not about war for a change!) are particularly brilliant, but there's not really a weak point on the whole album.

Another highlight is Through The Ages, with its solemn spoken word narration (in a Birmingham accent!) and doomy feel. "World War II, 1939-1945... the war that should never have happened, a prime example of man's inhumanity". Like I said in my Those Once Loyal review, Bolt Thrower write a lot about war but with a sense of respect and intelligence rather than just 'let's kill everyone' or some such bullshine!
Troy Killjoy - 23.05.2012 at 05:17  
Written by Richard on 23.05.2012 at 04:02
Bolt Thrower write a lot about war but with a sense of respect and intelligence rather than just 'let's kill everyone' or some such bullshine!

That's initially what grabbed my attention in the first place. They seem rather honorable for a death metal band, while others aim for vulgarity. It's refreshing, even if the band has been around longer than I've been alive.
Alex Fenger - 03.02.2013 at 19:23  
Written by BitterCOld on 27.04.2012 at 01:28

I prefer ...For Victory, which I think was the band at their 80's/90's zenith ("Those Once Loyal" is on the same par, even a decade and change later) , but this album is mighty close.

good to see more BT reviews. kudos.

I feel like they never managed to top Warmaster or Eternal War. Those two are absolute classics with all of their other albums being either good or great.
Lord_Regnier - 20.10.2013 at 21:35  
Written by Daniell on 27.04.2012 at 22:59

It fucking sucks that since then death metal morphed into "brutal" death metal bullshit.


Yep. I remember that I was into (old school) Death Metal in the early 90's but I moved away from the genre when it started to move too much towards Brutal Death Metal. Apart from Nile, which I see more as Technical Death Metal with different influences (and not purely as Brutal Death, though it definitely incorporates Brutal Death elements), I have an aversion for Brutal Death.

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