Album number 5 of the British war machine that used to be based on
Global Domination and made me discover this site in the first place.
“5” as in “V for Victory”, clever huh? Given its quality and the past
affiliation of the band and this site, it’s an absolute must that this
album is featured in the Class666 section.
10. The guys and girl really had their shit together when composing
“…for Victory”. They must have been on some creative high by the time so
that they didn’t even see the need to incorporate the
“WorldEaterCenotaphEmbers”-riff anymore that they had featured on the
three previous albums and brought back on “Mercenary”. The total playing
time is around 40 minutes, and most of the 10 songs clock in around the
4-minute mark. The exception to the rule is the aptly titled intro
“War”. This is not one of those forgettable introductions that have
plagued the genre since that one band felt sorry for the kid with the
keyboard, but a minute-long instrumental buildup into “Remembrance”,
which then opens with an artillery shot (the exact same sample that can
be found on numerous Bolt thrower songs…) and kicks in all guns blazing,
twisting the strangle grip not giving no mercy. Following this, the
tempo slows down a bit, and most of the following songs are executed in
fast mid-tempo, spiced up with some speedier outbursts as well as some
slower sections that often sport simple yet effective melodies.
The songs stand for themselves quite well, partly due to the fact
that almost all of them have a quite memorable intro. Just skip through
the album listening to 3 seconds of each song, it’s awesome. Apart from
“Forever fallen”, which isn’t exactly flattered by that approach, but
otherwise just as good. To sum things up in adequately belligerent
fashion, the album ends with two more artillery shots (Guess which
sample they used…).
Bolt thrower haven’t brought back the blast beats last featured on
“War master”, but then again, who needs blast beats if they back up
their decision to get rid of them with enough kick-ass riffing and
awesome melodies to pack an entire album with? No-one, that’s who. Yep,
no fillers are served here, instead we get quality through and through,
so I won’t even bother to try and look for highlights. Another good
approach to enjoy this album apart from that introduced above is to
start at 00:00:00 and press “Play”.
Quite unique and quite good at the same time. Guitars sound as heavy
and meaty as they can and the bass lays a solid foundation buzzing in
the background (a sound they later perfected on “Those once loyal”),
together forming Bolt Thrower’s trademark wall of sound that
relentlessly pushes forward to surround you completely. What makes the
album stick out from the lot is that heaviness does not come at the
expense of a clear sound. You can perfectly make out what’s going on,
but at the same time it all grinds like there’s no tomorrow. Sound-wise,
mind you, their songwriting stopped being grindy a long time before
they wrote this. They had already found their formula for guitar and
bass sound on “The IVth crusade”, but what has improved a great deal on
“…for Victory” is the drum production, which sounds a lot fuller and
thicker than ever before.
10. Majestic melodies are something you’d expect on your daily dose
of power metal, the Bolts however know how to twist those around and
give them an edge that makes them fit perfectly on a Death Metal album.
Lead sections and solos both have long strayed away from the chaotic
realms they used to delve in, taking a more serious approach at creating
atmosphere than on earlier records. Only rarely do both guitars wander
off into double lead sections, but mostly does one do the dirty work
down on the ground, while the other one hovers above, oftentimes
accentuating the breaks in the vocal delivery. The rest of the time,
both produce riffs like avalanches. Metal avalanches!
9. I remember reading somewhere that Karl Willets was in singer
school or something as a kid, and it shows in the fact that you can
actually understand what he’s singing about, because he knows how to
pronounce words in a song. Now that doesn’t mean he’s going all Soprano
on us, be advised. In fact he shows off some pretty bad-ass deep growl,
just comprehensibly. It doesn’t get much better, really, but on the
closer “Armageddon bound” he changes his vocals a little bit, switching
to a slightly higher voice – supposedly to make the it sound more
intense. For some people that works out, for some it doesn’t work at
all. I’m a bit stuck in the middle, detracting one point to soothe the
7. It’s definitely there, and it’s pretty gritty, but it’s tough to
shine for a bassplayer on an album with two guitars tuned like Baz’ and
Gav’s. On “Those once loyal”, Jo Bench managed just that, but here, she
basically just adds another couple of bricks into the wall, and it’s
good to have them there. Just don’t expect anything too remarkable.
7. Drummer Andy Whale used to be a bit of a weak spot on earlier
records, which, as some say, contributed to their charm quite a bit. Now
it’s not like he turned into a drum god over night, but this whole
argument has been made quite obsolete for victory (hah!), since he
manages to deliver a pretty tight performance here. While that might be a
slight change to the early days, he’s still pulling off his trademark
snare roll fill quite number of times. Apart from that, he pretty much
nails what he’s trying to do, which is nothing spectacular, but solid
double-bass work and groovy, effective and to-the-point drumming.
10. Bolt thrower has always been a band that is centered around one
thing: War. On “…For victory”, they dumped all the dark future
Science-Fiction references they used to convey their theme until “The
IVth crusade”, making this album seem a lot more mature without changing
a working formula much. Plus, unlike a lot of other metal songwriters
that choose war as their topic, the Bolts do not succumb into the kind
of historical nerdery that consists of rambling on about some war
operation that they’ve read everything about in their collection of
history picture-books. That can even be pulled off reasonably well, but
there’s a better way to do it. Add the “…for Victory” booklet to your
literature list for the next one, little Sabaton. No “Nazi-Panzer
smashes quickly through the front and kills a lot because it is hard
metal”-shit is to be found here. Instead, this album brings forwars
lyrics that have some thought put into them, with the overall topic
being man trapped in the insanity of war, something that is all too
human and inhuman at the same time.
“As fire fills the sky
We once believed in life
Now time to die
Now in deaths glory
Mans final destiny
The final price to pay
Fun fact: On reading the songtitles you’ll find that death and
remembrance play a big role, and it is quite obvious Bolt thrower drew
some of their inspiration in that respect from the ANZAC, quoting “Lest we forget” by Laurence Binyon twice throughout the album.
9. Silhouettes of British soldiers in the Falklands War in front of a
sunset. How’s that for a history lesson? Badass, you say, and I agree.
However, the really good thing about this album cover is, it fits the
overall feel of the album perfectly. Listen to the start of the title
track, look at the cover, rejoice. The backcover doesn’t look so good, I
gotta admit. Look at it while listening to Hammerfall.
5. It’s fairly heavy as it is obviously made of stone. ‘Tis a bit
stuck in their old gothic Games Workshop imagery, though. Getting rid of
some stained glass to make it look less like a fucken cathedral was a
good choice. Eleven years later.
6. At the moment, my copy is lying on the other side of the world,
but I think I remember some ugly font and greenish color choice inside. I
might be wrong, but then again, I don’t remember anything particularly
good about the booklet, so I guess I’m being generous here. Anyway, it’s
got the lyrics and everything…
“…for Victory” showcases a matured band that has evolved naturally,
has found its perfect sound and produced a milestone of epic death metal
in the process. Although it probably served as an inspiration to many
bands, this album stands unmatched until today.