When Bolt Thrower announced that they would no longer continue following the untimely demise of Martin Kearns, I was gutted. It had become a bit of a crusade for me to see the near legendary death metal band live, but, alas, I never managed to do so.
The announcement of vocalist Karl Willets’ teaming up with former BT drummer Andy Whale as well as Frank Healy (bass) and Scott Fairfax (guitars) of Benediction was a kind of relief. There was yet hope. Was I hoping that Memoriam would be a Bolt Thrower II? Yes, godammit, I did! But in a way I’m happy that it turned out not to be.
Does For The Fallen sound like Bolt Thrower? Does it sound like Benediction? Yes and yes. I’d rather ask; does it sound like a grand mixture of British death metal and crust ethos? That’s a big and resounding YES.
This album has atmosphere, it has the waltzing groove, the pinch harmonics, it has relentlessness and depth – from the very outset. As anthems go, ‘Memoriam’ is as good as any, and as the album opener, it is a foreboding of the mid-tempo heaviness and staccato riffing.
These four guys are not spring chicks, on the contrary. But what they have made here combines a freshness and eagerness to make something new with many years of experience in their respective bands.
I’m happy to say that this is a new beginning – the battle rages on. Now my quest is to see this band live – one way or another.
02. War Rages On
03. Reduced To Zero
04. Corrupted System
06. Surrounded (By Death)
08. Last Words
Playing time: 43 minutes
Release date: 24th of March, 2017