War is The Law
Its good to look back at what Death Metal used to be, heavy and loud with some brutal lyrics (not just gore). Especially now since the current metal scene seems to be filled with metalcore groups which never really cut it for me. I like my solos and actual lyrics, not screams and breakdowns. For me, War Master really delivered. From the first track to the last its a never ending stream of grinding Death Metal that obliterates everything in it's path. With a sound that so many could only hope to emulate because no other band carries the same weight that Bolt Thrower does. If you like your old school Death Metal like Carcas and Morbid Angel, then this is a must have.
Bolt Thrower's refined formula is immediately recognizable on the opening track "Intro... Unleashed (Upon Mankind)", a song that brilliantly combines doom oriented atmospheres with mid and up-tempo sections. The track that follows, "What Dwells Within", starts with an epic riff, followed by an impressive and powerful vocal entrance by the inimitable Karl Willetts. After the first two songs, the listener easily understands that "War Master" is a different creature from "Realm of Chaos". Regarding the songwriting, although it feels slightly repetitive, it is carefully arranged now, while it focuses on building different but coherent dynamics within the songs and canalizing more effectively the aggressiveness of previous releases. Colin Richardson's effective production and sound engineering also helps the band in finally establishing its distinctive signature sound. This well sensed balance with respect to sound and arrangements, continues throughout the album with songs such as "The Shreds of Sanity", "War Master", "Afterlife" or the epic "Cenotaph", a thematic and musical continuation of the previous classic "World Eater". As it becomes evident from the song titles, "War Master" is lyrically focused on all aspects of human warfare, continuing the established tradition of previous releases.
Despite the slightly repetitive songwriting, "War Master" remains an excellent effort, based on interesting musical performance from a band that finally found its identity. As for the album itself, it still remains one of the most respectable death-metal albums ever released.