German death metal brutalists Deserted Fear are huge fans of Bolt Thrower, the Coventry group who were one of the most respected underground bands of the last 30 years.
“Coming from a classical heavy metal background with Metallica, Sepultura and Iron Maiden we did not know Bolt Thrower that well, until we often got compared to their music after releasing our first demo tape,” says drummer Simon Mengs. After getting in touch with Bolt Thrower themselves, we wondered how we managed to not recognise them earlier.
Bolt Thrower disbanded in 2016 after the death of drummer Martin Kearns, but their influence lives on. Mengs has picked 10 tracks that shaped his own band – and the extreme metal scene as a whole.
For Victory (1994)
For Victory is one of my favourite death metal songs in general, for sure. The middle part has one of the most classy Bolt Thrower guitar solos. The production of the whole For Victory… album breaks every neck prone to old-school metal!
The Killchain (2005)
It fades in - it comes from the distance to attack. Alongside The Rack by Asphyx and Death Metal Victory by Unleashed, we played The Killchain at our first concerts, due to our lack of own material! Every time I hear The Killchain nowadays I just want to play it live again!
It starts with shots going through your body, followed by a tank rolling all over you - pressing the guts out of your corpse. While the song goes on you could not imagine a more satisfying death. The low verse riff gives the vibes and the chorus melody mixed with speed gets you out of your death visions. I really love the double bass and snare in that song It whips and grooves in the next moment.
When Cannons Fade (2005)
This is maybe the Bolt Thrower song I’ve listened to the most. In my opinion, the Those Once Loyal album contains the most catchy melodies without getting cheesy and When Cannons Fade displays the album very well.
What Dwells Within (1991)
A typical driving riff starts and leads into a fast death metal drumming combat, to give you a Bolt Thrower groove in the next moment. The vocal phrasing is ingenious and the end of the song is an abrupt stop!
World Eater (1989)
This riff stands in front of you and presents itself to jump on you in next moment and when the groove starts it rips off your fuckin' head! Melody and groove in this song is a mixture that for me makes that song a death metal monument!
Rebirth Of Humanity (1991)
Even though the guitars on that album are mixed a little wea,k the drums in that song rumble in a unique way with interesting, unusual fills and rolls!
As The World Burns (1992)
This gives you an idea how slow Death Metal should sound. The song fades out with one riff and that holds tension big time!
At nearly 7 minutes, this is an ultra long death metal song., although it has to tell the story of War and Peace. The harmony change in the fourth minute is very emotional and I think that is what makes Bolt Thrower great. They know how to transport emotion in heavy music, which is very rare in the DM scene.
No Guts No Glory (1998)
When I hear it today I realise that the drumming of Martin Kearns influenced me a lot. It seems that he always wanted to hit, in every part, a deep point in our human feel for timing and take you away on a wave with dynamic accents, without losing touch to the groove and feel of the whole song. RIP Martin Kearns.
Deserted Fear’s new album Drowned By Humanity is out now