Bolt Thrower basically plays what is called Death Metal. Although their roots are mainly hardcore / grindcore and thrash metal as well as doom metal. The band however never liked the idea of being called a death metal or grindcore band or whatsoever. The reason for that is they do not want people to expect they sound exactly like (old) Death or (old) Napalm Death, as being called death metal or grindcore respectively. Furthermore Alan West hardly growled which is unusual for a death metal and grindcore band, (esp in the early days of death metal). He used a more shouting vocal style. Also Karl Willetts sung a few songs in a clear voice, on the first album. Pretty much imitating Alan West by the way, but not very well. On their 'The IVth Crusade' and 'Mercenary' they clearly incorporated some doom elements. And on '...For Victory' the vocals on some songs tend to sound more like hardcore.
The guitar sound is sort of Bolt Thrower's main trademark, it sounds very raw and powerful; some compare it to the sound of a buzzsaw. And they seem to be one of the very few bands that can play one riff for a hell of a long time without becoming boring. Also the drums sounds very special, lots of songs have basically the same drum structures, though never boring. This however, does not continue on 'Mercenary'. Alex Thomas did not copy Andy's style, but plays more simple, basic death metal rhythms. However, Martin seems to have picked something up of Andy's style as can be heard in the intro of 'Contact - Wait Out'
Looking at their first album cover, you'll find a picture of a medieval piece of weaponry, called a dart throwing ballista, with below it 'Don't mess with a Bolt Thrower'. It is a complicated weapon, used to shoot arrows (bolts). It looks a bit like a crossbow. The name was taken from the table top war game 'Warhammer fantasy battle' in which a Bolt Thrower is a weapon some of the armies use in this game. A picture of a repeating Bolt Thrower from the Warhammer game is displayed on the right.
Bolt Thrower are influenced in both music and way of life by punk and hardcore. And of course by heavy metal as well.
The bands they used to listen to are mainly these:
As far as I know Bolt Thrower toured with the following bands (year; tour-title) :
If you have more information on tours, tourdates, setlists, and so on, please mail me.
In 1994, Bolt Thrower were supposed to fill the support slot for a US Dark Angel Tour. This tour was cancelled because of issues Dark Angel had with their record company Combat.
I am not aware of any side projects in which any Bolt Thrower member appears. Gavin played a while in the punk band Varukers, before creating Bolt Thrower. And Andy played in Drop Dead and Urban Chaos. Alex Thomas has his own band and played in various other bands.
There are some guest appearances on various albums:
Karl Willetts appears on the song 'Jumping At Shadows' by Benediction (another fine UK Death metal band). It can be found on the album 'The Grand Leveller' as well as the EP 'Dark Is The Season', which re-released in 1995 on one disc with the 'Subconscious Terror' album.
Karl Willetts also appears on the song 'At The Wrong Side Of The Grave' yet again by Benediction, in fact it is a cover song of The Accused. On the same song also appear Jan-Chris De Koeyer of Gorefest (RIP) and Macka of The Mighty Healer (whatever that is). The track is available on 'Transcend The Rubicon' and on a limited picture 7" called 'At The Wrong Side Of The Grave'.
Furthermore, Karl Willetts appears on 'The Peel Session' album by the UK doom band Doom, on tracks 6 to 10.
Barry Thompson did some backing vocals on the Benediction album, 'Grind Bastard'.
Karl Willetts did the lead vocals for the song 'Largactyl' featured on the limited edition of Benediction's 'Killing Music' - a cover song of Amebix.
Previous bands of members are listed with in the member section
Most lyrics Bolt Thrower written are about war, the end of mankind and the end of the world and how faith and greed participate in this. Some very obvious examples are 'Where Next To Conquer' and 'War Master'. Also they've been discussing other topics as in songs like 'Ritual' and 'Lament'. Most songs on the 'Realm of Chaos' album are somewhat related to the game Warhammer. Furthermore, they (try) never make a statement, most lyrics are written is a sort objective way. None of the lyrics are restricted to one theme, and may be interpreted in different ways, but to give some hints, here's a brief description of some songs as what I think they mean, although some are taken from interviews. The descriptions about some "Realm of Chaos" songs were written by Jonathan Plouffe.
All That Remains
This song is about a world that was sucked into the warp or taken over by Chaos. I'm guessing it was sucked into the warp because the song "Through The Eye of Terror" implies that it they have went into the warp. See also Lost Souls Domain.
The meaning of the monument to the fallen soldiers of World War I in London is described.
This song is about the year 40 000 AD (the year Warhammer 40k is set).
As one lives his live according to some religion with the promise of a great after life; upon death it is revealed that that's all a lie and his actual life has passed without enjoying it.
This song was written by Karl after his father passed away.
Lost Souls Domain
This song is about a world that was sucked into the warp or taken over by Chaos. I'm guessing it was sucked into the warp because the song "Through The Eye of Terror" implies that it they have went into the warp.
"Plague Bearer" is about the an attack from the Daemons of Nurgle (Chaos god of Disease and Decay), the Plague Bearers. A Picture of what they look like can be seen on the picture of the very last page of the CD booklet. They are the very skinny Daemons.
A drug is turning soldiers into mindless killing machines.
How advancing technology takes over the control of human life.
Realm Of Chaos
This song is about the Warp.
This is one of the few songs that have no relation with war at all, it describes how boring mans life is. "Life an endless ritual, continuation perpetual"
Rebirth Of Humanity
This shows a world after mankind has destroyed it and now is trying to rebuild it so that it can destroy it once again.
Tank (Mk I)
The songs describes how it feels like when you're in a tank and you're trapped inside, and eventually die.
The 4th Crusade
It deals with the crusades of course, and how christianity was forcefed to every one in the way.
The Shreds of Sanity
Some one, like a politician, is mentally not all right and in his fall he takes mankind down with him.
Through The Ages
This is a summary of all important wars and conquests. Including:
Through the Eye of Terror
This song is about entering the "Eye of Terror". The Eye of Terror in this case would be a rip in the universe that leads to "the warp", the place where Chaos (Daemons) live. It was formed after the birth of Slaanesh (Chaos God of Pleasure) also known as the Fall of the Eldar (a Elf like race which ruled the galaxy for millions of years). Slaanesh was created by the psychic energy of the Eldar when they failed to control their emotions.
Unleashed Upon Mankind
Man creates powers that it cannot control, and neither cannot foresee what these power will do. Eventually mankind will create something to destroy itself.
This song is about the Gulfwar and the conflict that led to it. (Iraq, Kuweit in 1990 - 1991). (And no they didn't sponsor the Gulfwar by paying Saddam Hussein to start it...!)
What Dwells Within
As in the modern world people are living and judged by what they look like and their possessions. A world where there is no place for emotions and feelings; where people become robotic creatures in search of wealth.
The world eaters is a marauding army in the table top war game 'Warhammer 40,000' which influenced most of the songs on 'Realm Of Chaos'.
All songs are written by Bolt Thrower. Nowadays the music is mostly composed by Barry whereas in the past Gavin also participated in the composing. Gavin, Jo and Barry further work on the songs to complete them. All lyrics are written by Karl Willetts as from 'Realm Of Chaos' up until '...For Victory' with help from Gavin. The lyrics for their debut album are written by Alan West, mostly also helped by Gavin. The song '...For Victory' contains a quote from the poem 'For the Fallen' by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943) about the World War 1. Most lyrics on 'Mercenary' are written by Karl with some help of Gavin.
Dave wrote most of the lyrics for Benediction, and he and Gavin co-write the lyrics for 'Honour - Valour - Pride'.
Karl reclaimed his duty of writing the lyrics for the "Those Once Loyal" album.
None..., Bolt Thrower have never done any cover songs. Mostly because the band have commented on cover songs as being total shit.Although rumours have circulated about them appearing on a 2nd Masters Of Misery (a tribute to Black Sabbath). But apparently it never saw the light of day. It might just have been a lousy rumour after all, provided by Kerrang!
I know about these:
However, many 'college' bands and the like started with playing many covers, some including Bolt Thrower songs. Furthermore many bands started somewhat imitating Bolt Thrower, bands such as Burial and Grotesque obviously are quite a bit influenced by Bolt Thrower.
Apparently, the game "Heart of the Alien Sega" has been using music from Bolt Thrower, largely from "The IVth Crusade" with some elements from "Warmaster". At least Bolt Thrower is mentioned in the end credits.
Bong Ra released an 6 tracks 12" that pays homage to grindcore called Grindkrusher. On it, three tracks are related to Bolt Thrower. Bloody Cenotaph, Jo Bench and Ram Waster.
Another point of interest is a sort of Bolt Thrower Tribute project. One tape was produced titled 'Colt-Thrower - Under The Sign Of The Black Horse' It was released on cassette only, and 30 copies were produced. The idea was a Christmas present to the band members.
The Tracklist is:
The music is performed by P3TE, the lyrics are written and performed by Carl Williams of Metal Forces Magazine
Furthermore, Wesley Willis made a song called 'Bolt Thrower' on the album "Rock & Roll Will Never Die!"
The Japanese grindcore band Butcher ABC used the Bolt Thrower band logo for the promotional poster of Maryland Deathfest 2006.
One of the guitarists of Blood Duster goes by the stage name "Belt Thrower".
(Click on the images to see enlarge them)
This shows the horned guy with the spears. Also shown on the disc of '...For Victory'. It was drawn by a guy named Jim, who was a friend of the band.
This shows the skull with the three prongs protruding from it. It was drawn by Jim, who also did the first demo.
The cover artwork is done by Paul McHale, it shows a black and white picture of victims of war. This is also the place where the band name is more or less explained. Furthermore some pictures of vicious creatures are included. Artwork from the 1991 re-issue is different from the original release.
The cover artwork for Realm Of Chaos is done by the Games Workshop (John Sibbick), because they had a game of the same name ('Realm Of Chaos'). It shows a picture of a war scene with humans in armour. In the rest of the booklet, more pictures of (futuristic) warscenes appear. Also connected to the Game. They also had a new logo on this album. The lyrics for the song 'Intro' are a the back of the album cover. This is the first time the eye design appears.
Not much artwork on this album, just a simplified logo, i.e. no fancy colours, and the title. Two different version exist for this album, one has a purple cover with the text in black letter on white background, the other is all black with golden letters. I think the purple one is the most common version.
Yet another picture of a warscene, possibly a medieval situation here. The booklet shows all kinds of monsters. Those are drawn by the former designer of Games workshop Pete Knifton, he started a his own company to do the artwork. So the resemblance of the artwork on 'Realm Of Chaos' and 'War Master' is not coincidental.
Some collection of skulls, in dark orange. In two skulls, both serving as a sort of candle. The eye-design appears again, carved in in the 'candles'. The uppermost looks a bit like the Devil's skull (It has horns, goat's beard, etc). Some people might think, because of this artwork that Bolt Thrower is a Black Metal band (which is of course not true). It was drawn by Paul McHale.
The coverart of this album is a painting by Eugene Delacriox(1798-1863) from called 'Entry Of The Crusaders Into Constantinople' (click on the title for the picture, scanned by Carol Gerten, CGFA), from 1840. It is a scene for the Fourth Crusade. The original hangs in the 'Louvre' in Paris. The eye design is done by Paul McHale. It is found at several places in the booklet and on the CD itself too.
This EP has the picture which serves as a background for the lyrics on 'The IVth Crusade'. It shows a skull with four horns and big pointy teeth, also the eye design appears here, as a 'necklace' for the skull. This drawing was also made by Paul McHale.
This show a photo of some soldiers at a lake at dawn or sunset. It's a picture from the of a group of British soldiers marching towards enemy lines after landing in the Falklands during the war between Britain and Argentina. The idea of the picture is described by the band as: 'The cover title was to suggest that these soldiers would give up all the rest of their dawns on earth for victory. So by leaving the title as "...For Victory" it was asking "what would you do for victory within your life ?".' Also the eye design appears on this album, though changed quite a bit.
The same picture which was featured on the Spearhead EP.
The picture resembles Realm of Chaos a lot, and is largely inspired by the Warhammer 40.000. The weapons being used are Bolter Guns and the troops are Imperial Guards. It is drawn by Jan Meininghaus.
The cover is a photograph of a plaque on the Guards Memorial in London. It was photographed and then editted into a cover picture by Jan Meininghaus.
On four albums and an EP, a picture of a certain head appears. It has two horns, a sort of fork on top of the head and two more protrusions of the same kind sticking out the cheekbones.
It appears on 'In Battle There Is No Law', on a flag at the upper left corner and on the CD; on 'War Master' as the head of one of the creatures at the left, the red one. On 'Cenotaph', this is the biggest skull. It can be found on 'The IVth Crusade' too, but you'll have to look close at the 'Eye Design'. Then look at the downwards pointing arrow, it's carved in it. It is also in the upwards pointing arrow but not as neat. And on '...For Victory' it's serves as a background for the lyrics. On 'Mercenary' it is included in a picture taken from a stage. It also is found on banners etc. It seems that the band favours this drawing.
The eye design is from the table top war game "Warhammer". It is also known as the Chaos Star. In the early days of the game, it was the symbol of chaos, but it has developed into the symbol of the Black Legion, the biggest Chaos Space Marine Legion and most well known.
The logo, that is featured on all their albums, except the debut, is originally designed by Games Workshop. Later versions of it were designed by various artists; the latest being Jan Meininghaus. The original logo, featuring on the debut album and the demos was drawn by Jim who also did the demo covers.
This part contains information about available merchandise articles. (Please do not ask where you can get them, I don't know. Try mailorder, local stores, concerts or the record companies). Most of the stuff isn't available anymore, try trading with some one. Don't buy stuff on ebay as there are many bootlegs there.
SH means a T-shirt, SW a sweatshirt, LS a longsleeve
If you got a two-coloured shirt from the Into the Killing Zone tour, it's likely that it is been printed by either Jo or Gavin.
PP means a small patch (about 10 by 10 cm), BP means a backpatch (fits on the back of a jacket)
Ba means a badge, P a pendant, Bu a button
The opening intro usually is taken from the movie "Battle of Britian" (1969). On occassions when an Encore is performed usually you can here the theme from the film "Where Eagles Dare" (1967). Some times an outro is played afterwards, similar to album endings, gun or cannon sounds can be heard.
The voting has been revoked. The complete list of results 1997 are published here.
The result are:
Five best albums:
Five best songs:
Don't use the two addresses listed in the booklet of the "The IVth crusade" CD, they are both defunct for years (they are listed here below for historical purpose only). Try the email address on Bolt Thrower's official website For questions on older albums you can try the other labels listed below.Try one of the following addresses:
PO Box 144
295 Lafayette Street # 915
Telephone: 0115 950 6400
Fax: 0115 950 8585
PO Box 1332
73054 Eislingen, Germany
2828 Cochran St. Suite 302
simi Valley, CA 93065-2793
Strange Fruit / Dutch East India Trade
PO Box 800
231 Portobello Road
Tel : 071-7929791
Fax : 071-7929871
E-mail: click here
PO Box 2061
PO Box 23
Many people helped, by sending comments and additions and what is more. Far too many to mention all here, here are some of the main contributors. If you're name is not listed here; get-a-life!