Retrospective: Bolt thrower – IVth Crusade

(Editor’s note: This is a guest post by a kindred soul. He goes by the pseudonym Epicus Moronicus )

Cognitive dissonance is a thing that often causes great concern in people’s everyday life. When the brain is forced to deal with a phenomena at variance with what it fundamentally believes, it causes grave concern in the user. It  leads to sleepless nights, bouts of anger, lashing out at loved ones and generally resigns the person to unhappy times. But I am glad to say that I have discovered a variant of cognitive dissonance that has just brought a smile to my face.


Office is something that I equate with a slave labor camp. The details have changed (chains have been replaced by emails & phone calls, lashes to the back have been replaced by stern warnings from your manager citing you to complete your work by EoD, the utter physical exhaustion replaced by the overwhelming mental boredom of being in office) but the overall arch of the story remains the same. I know there are people who love being in office, consider work as their religion, and generally have a great time in office. I think I can honestly say with no shadow of a doubt that I am not one of those people. When I enter office I resign myself to the following things

1. Sitting in front of the laptop/computer like a petrified, hypnotized zombie.
2. Constantly dream of other fun things to do like for e.g. dealing with the bumper to bumper traffic while getting back home.
3. Telling myself continuously to not access (at home whenever you are bored, happiness is a mouse click away)

So consider my surprise on finding that I am actually enjoying my time in office. What changed? Of course, no one is interested in my life, but ploughing through the utter indifference of the world, and holding to a certain belief that my life and opinion matter, and there’s an audience eagerly awaiting updates on my mental state of being; I will go and provide details on how this unexpected shower of happiness brought a smile to my dreary desert like existence.

Bolt Thrower
IVth Crusade

What kind of an answer is that? It is an answer that can’t be explained, but must be experienced. Having provided platitudes like that, I’ll proceed to explain – no share my state of being upon having heard this beautiful album. Beauty does lie in the eye of the beholder, cause I can not imagine many people being fascinated by
1. The tank like incessant onward march approach to the writing of music
2. The extreme low end which reminds of how you feel when you experience the sound of thunder not through your ears, but deep in your gut (yes the bowels do loosen up in sheer display of frivolity)
3. Half an hour of repetitive music, which neither changes too much in terms of speed or dynamics.

Having mentioned all that, I dare someone with a love for metal to listen to the opening tunes of ‘Where Next to Conquer’ and not experience a certain martial approach to things. All around you things cease to be functional objects which have an everyday use in life, but are now considered purely as objects that can and should be destroyed. Your own limbs, which over the course of your life you’ve learned to control absolutely, will experience a certain independence from conscious thoughts, something that they’ve not experienced since you’ve been a baby. The greatest change that can be observed is in the head and the neck region of course, which continue to either experience an up/down motion or a circular motion, as incessant as the tank storming through the streets of a war torn territory, making carnage as it progresses onwards, as heedless of your presence, as if you were an orangutan with a banana trying to attack it. All you can do is be caught up in the whirlpool of metal, become hypnotized to the sheer brilliance of it, and experience a lack of control and experience a sense of what is truly important, a certain onward motion in life.

Like a delicacy cooked to utter perfection, by simmering it over many long hours; Bolt Thrower does the same to your senses. There’s nothing so extreme that it gets your heart racing at 150bpm which can be sustained for a few minutes after which you just drop down in utter exhaustion, its not too slow that you find yourself dozing. In essence Bolt Thrower is the simmering death metal, that keeps you on the cusp of orgasm, guarantees in you that fantastic performance that all males try to achieve. Over the 30 minutes of metal that you experience you’ll find yourself entranced by those slow and powerful strokes, those minor changes in melody which given the context feel like quantum leaps (no other band can change so little and make you believe that it has evolved), finally exploding in an orgasmic end. The music ends and you feel a sense of depletion, a smile spread across your face from having experienced what you just did, and can now take a deep breath, as some of the urgency that you felt in life has been so carefully satisfied, and that beautiful sensation will easily carry you through your remaining day without needing to focus on how bad / shit it is.

Bolt Thrower truly now must find out ‘Where Next to Conquer’, as they’ve utterly conquered our imagination and our loyalty.

(Editor’s note: Bolt Thrower have officially stopped conquering new lands since 2005)

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