…for Victory is Bolt Thrower’s 5th album and the follow up to their 1992 classic, The IVth Crusade. All hands – including producer Colin Richardson – were back in action, but could they meet the mark they set for themselves two years earlier?
The album opens with the short instrumental, “War,” which conjures moods of eerie morning mists and portents of doom. It’s typically massive and Bolt Thrower-ian, but when “Remembrance” kicks in with an onslaught of double bass and strafing guitars, we’re reminded that Bolt Thrower is a death metal band, first and foremost. Much of the A-side is dedicated to fast, brutal and catchy death metal with only a handful of dalliances into doom territory. Where The IVth Crusade leaned toward the ponderous and crushing, …for Victory breaks bones.
Side B continues the onslaught, peaking on “Forever Fallen”, which kicks off with one of Thompson & Ward’s greatest riff anthems. The album ends with the absolutely pummeling “Armageddon Bound” which sees Karl Willets straining his pipes to new intensity before the whole thing settles into a doomy groove with some tasty harmony soloing.
Worth noting is that Colin Richardson’s production game had stepped up a notch and the vicious assault is crisp, clean and clear. Bolt Thrower always sounds like Bolt Thrower (something in the guitar tones), but this is about as good as they ever sounded on record.
Perhaps the best thing about …for Victory is that it doesn’t continue exactly down the path laid by The IVth Crusade. Instead of trying to out-epic themselves, Bolt Thrower went back to basics, reloaded their guns and delivered 10 short, sharp shocks to the body.
Nothing fancy here, but what we get is pleasant and right for the price. Not everything needs a super expando-deluxe package that costs half a paycheck. Sometimes it’s okay to be a stripped down, simple affair you can just play to death. In this case, you just may want to.