Band/Artist Profile

Band of the Week: Bolt Thrower

When I was first in search of some groovy death metal, the band that came up the most (besides Obituary, of course) was Bolt Thrower! Right when I heard Bolt Thrower, I fell in love with their sound. They are so damn groovy I can’t even. The first song I heard by them was “The Killchain” and I LOVED IT!!! It begins with a fade into the song and then the opening riff with them grooves…. Iconic. I was walking around campus like I was strutting the runway when that groove kicked in.

Bolt Thrower was an English death metal band from Coventry, England, that formed in 1986. Over the course of their 30-year career, Bolt Thrower has toured Europe, the United States, and Australia. They have also released 8 studio albums. On September 14, 2016, the band announced that they were breaking up following the death of their drummer Martin Kearns… big sad.

When Bolt Thrower first developed, they were a grindcore band, influenced by Slayer, Cras, and Discharge. The band was founded by bassists Gavin Ward and guitarist Barry Thomson. Now this is a funny story, they first got the idea of the band while on the toilet during a hardcore show. Bolt Thrower has a very flexible sound. They incorporate death metal with hardcore and doom metal making their songs heavy, groovy, and doomy (ha, did you see what I did there?)

Martin Kearns, who had been their drummer from 1994-1997 and again since 2000, died unexpectedly at the age of 38 on September 14, 2015. As a result, Bolt Thrower went on hiatus and cancelled their upcoming Australia tour, which would have been their first tour since 1993. Exactly one year later on the anniversary of Kearns’ death, Bolt Thrower announced that they would not continue as a band. They say that Kearns’ was much more than just a drummer to them, so when they carried his coffin to his final resting place, the Bolt Thrower drummer position was buried with him.

Final Lineup:

Barry “Baz” Thomson (guitar)

Gavin Ward (guitar)

Jo Bench (bass)

Karl Willetts (vocals)

Martin Kearns (drums)


In Battle There Is No Law! (1988)

Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness (1989)

War Master (1991)

The IVth Crusade (1992)

…For Victory (1994)

Mercenary (1998)

Honour – Valour – Pride (2002)

Those Once Loyal (2005)

Favorite Songs:

The Killchain, For Victory, Through the Eye of Terror, Cenotaph, Forever Fallen, and To the Last…

What are some of your favorite Bolt Thrower songs?

Stay Metal,