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Album Review "Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness" by Bolt Thrower

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


The United Kingdom’s Bolt Thrower established themselves as one of the leading death metal bands in that country during their existence. Their 1989 studio album Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness resembles a bit more of the death metal sound while still having the grindcore style drums. Those of you that are really familiar with this style will notice that these guys also sound a little like the band Morbid Angel.

What Kind of Album is Realm of Chaos?

The way in which this second album by these British veterans starts it is very dark with the thunderous drumming that Napalm Death is known for as well. The vocals are not rough like Mark “Barney” Greenway but the riffs will hit your ears like a steamroller. This album isn’t as good as most albums by the other famous British death metal band Carcass but it is good brutal death metal that addresses real life topics such as the effects of war and the selfishness of human nature. The really dark and slow building song “Intro” if we can call it that leads into what was for the time a very heavy, hard-hitting kind of release. I’ve even heard a few people say that this album was ahead of its time. That’s a valid statement considering that the death metal scene started to thrive in the 1990s. Realm of Chaos is described as that album that focuses a lot on blast beat style of drumming. There are also solos present in this album but they tend to be very fast. The solos in this album are described as being chaotic. Chaotic might not be the right word depending upon the person’s musical tastes. Even if the riffs are dark sounding which they are, Bolt Thrower had more melody in their songs compared to Napalm Death for instance. “All That Remains” is a song that is typical of that dark riffing style. Realm of Chaos is definitely a notch up higher than the band’s debut for sure. The “Outro” track that ends this album is interesting because that riff kind of sounds like what we would hear on Metallica’s song “Better Than You.”

"World Eater"

Where the Title of Bolt Thrower's Second Album Comes From

When the album gets to the song “Plague Bearer” lyrically that song makes references to infectious disease as the song says that there is no escape from the affliction. Lyrically the album is close to Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 game background. The title of Bolt Thrower’s second album is based upon a book by Games Workshop which was released in 1988.

Final Thoughts About Bolt Thrower's Second Album

The bottom line is that Realm of Chaos in terms of death metal albums is not just your standard death metal album with boring, stale riffs but rather it is a heavy album with partially exotic riffing, blast beat drumming and really heavy vocals. “World Eater” is a notable song because it has one of the band’s best main riffs. The song lyrically describes what happens in the Warhammer 40,000 game as both sides go off to war for domination and control.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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