Some bands are so legendary that they transcend above and beyond the call of duty. I mean this in as much as they form into an uncontrollable force that cannot be tainted. Just look at Led Zeppelin or Queen, bands and artists so important that they themselves cannot contain what they are and bands that have left such a legacy that surely no one is to reach again. Generally these bands reach a certain peak before utter decimation occurs or they become self-aware enough to simply cease their writing or performing. It is often something that is a heavy weight to bear for fans but in a way it protects the artists reputation leaving them as a perfect idol of musical benevolence.
One such band whom have smashed the barriers time and time again are the almighty Bolt Thrower. Arguably one of the most revered Death Metal bands in the history of extreme music. Hailed by all manner of fans from all walks of life, this band made what can only be described as true Death Metal with a true ethos and mindset. Following the sad passing of Bolt Thrower’s drummer Martin Kearns and the bands eventual split Memoriam arose from the ashes. Taking on a new name yet sticking to Death Metal, Karl Willetts and Andrew Whale of ex-Bolt Thrower fame aimed to seal Kearns legacy with this new project. After forming in 2016 the band swiftly unveiled their 2017 debut For The Fallen, rapidly succeeded again by the 2018 tome The Silent Vigil. Now in 2019 we get a third full length Requiem For Mankind put out through Nuclear Blast. Yet can it live up to the shadow of Bolt Thrower or will it just be another Death Metal grave in the halls of the dead?
Opener Shell Shock is a good all round Death Metal crusher with a nice old school flare and a relatively clean production, not to mention a lumping of hook heavy riffs and iconic vocals, coming from the mighty Karl Willetts. By the time we reach Never The Victim the overall sound becomes apparent, paying homage to the early days of Death Metal whilst injecting a fresh stimulant of melody and higher production values. Never The Victim in particular is a plodding number which sees us headbanging away and giving ourselves up to the gods of the underworld, yet it is seemingly devoid of as many catchy notions as before, despite the riffs which continue to be strong and thick. Luckily Austerity Kills comes in to pick up the pace again giving us more of Willett’s grisly tones and grabbing our attention with some true ear worming Death Metal ferocity.
Things lay pretty dormant until the titular track which even in itself is still a little lacklustre. It is sad as always to say with a band which hold such pedigree but the second half of this album is somewhat removed from the re-playability of the first portion. Even with the first half in mind though it isn’t mind altering Death Metal. The whole album is actually quite run of the mill and despite the odd track it offers very little to the growing pools of modern Death Metal. To top it all off closing instrumental Interment is entirely pointless and without effect, a disappointing ending to an overall unexciting release.
It might be hard to accept when albums such as Requiem For Mankind are bad but nevertheless that is reviewing, honesty. I can’t say that this album has really given me anything new and I can’t help but constantly think back to old Bolt Thrower records when I hear it and how much better they are than Memoriam. Expectations for this album are naturally high and after all why should they not be? This may be merely a side project or re-forging of forces but it should still be of a strong calibre. If you’re searching for the new Bolt Thrower you won’t find it here, what you will find is tried and tested Death Metal loaded with a few catchy bangers and little more, don’t get your hopes up.
(6/10 George Caley)