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Bolt Thrower - Warmaster
Review: Developing linearly in the style of the previous album, Warmaster infuses melodic development into the relentless grind and steps back from full-on speed to give songs more breathing room, and a sense of pauses between assaults, replenishing the epic heavy metal tendencies to which Bolt Thrower have adapted their deconstructive sound, giving this album the feeling of retrospection over a long day of challenges and appreciation of their meaning.
Audibly moving into the more "epic" realm which their subject matter, and metal-ish tendency of stacking grinding riffs up against melodic lead riffs to create both atmosphere and a subconscious forward thrust, Bolt Thrower nonetheless capture what is good about all underground music: having lost the convenient harmonic centering and verse/chorus format of rock music, underground metal and grindcore songs structure themselves architectonically, meaning that all parts justify each other and complement each other, which transcends linearity and emphasizes isomorphism and phrasal dialogue.
This creates a wonderful maze effect where just when the listener is feeling comfortable with a pair of riffs supporting each other, a third drops into the mix and creates another option, which is then invoked later by yet another and helps conclude the song. This style of writing gives depth to the music, and Bolt Thrower pursue it with an uncanny ability to shape their riffs around subconscious forms in an almost Jungian sense, evoking shadowy figures from dreams and fantasies as if they were characters in theatre.
While a melodic underpinning thrives in these songs, it is subtler than the work to come and more architected than the earlier output of this band, showing a maturation process in which the music gains intensity and is not simplified to be an artifact of its audience as happens to most bands at about this point in its career. Grinding and then releasing that confined energy into melodic fills, Bolt Thrower layer new depth onto their style -- and for the listener, open worlds to explore.