Genre: Death Metal
Origin: United Kingdom
BOLT THROWER were formed in 1986 by Barry Thomson (guitar) and Gavin Ward (bass). They were soon joined by Alan West (vocals), and completed the line-up with the addition of Andy Whale (drums). Inspired at that time by bands such as Sacrilege, Discharge, Slayer and Candlemass, the four piece went on to record two demos 'In Battle...' and 'Concession of Pain' - the latter was sent to John Peel which resulted in the band being offered a session. At this time Gavin Ward decided to switch to guitar and then recruited Jo Bench on bass to complete the five-piece line-up. At the start of 1988, BOLT THROWER recorded their first Peel Session, after the transmission was aired Vinyl Solution contacted the band and a deal was agreed. Unfortunately, Alan West decided that he no longer wanted to carry on with the band and was replaced by Karl Willetts. With this line-up they went on to record the album 'In Battle There Is No Law' recorded at Loco Studios in Wales and released in the summer of 1988.
After constant gigging around the UK, the band were contacted by Earache Records who were at that time the biggest independant label for extreme music. The band signed a deal with Earache and at the same time were approached by Games Workshop - a fantasy wargaming company who had heard the Peel Session too and were interested in a collaboration with the band. 'Realm of Chaos' the second studio album was released on Earache Records in 1989, and featured cover and booklet artwork from the artists at Games Workshop.
The band were gaining a much wider audience, and were given the opportunity to record two more Peel Sessions (which were later released as an album). The band were starting to create a reputation of being one of the most powerful live acts around when they made their first tour of Europe in 1990. At the start of 1991 they recorded 'Warmaster' at Slaughterhouse Studios, Driffield with Colin Richardson producing and went on to do another successful tour of Europe and the U.S.
Next came 'The IVth Crusade' - recorded at Sawmills Studios in Cornwall in 1992, it showed the band had continued to create their own unique style of music that was easily identifiable as BOLT THROWER. The band promoted the album extensively with tours in Europe and Australia.
The recording of '...For Victory' in 1994, (at Sawmills, again), was immediately followed by the bands second tour of the U.S. This unfortunately saw the departure of drummer Andy Whale and vocalist Karl Willetts, who decided they didn't want to continue in the band. But the album was released later in the year and the band replaced them with drummer Martin Kearns and Martin Van Drunen on vocals.
With this line-up the band carried on the promotion of the album with two European tours. The next couple of years turned into an endurance test for the band with the departure of Van Drunen due to illness, the ending of the bands relations with Earache Records and the new signing to Metal Blade Records. The band played the 'With Full Force' festival in Zwickau, Germany to a rapturous audience and with the help of Dave Ingram on vocals. The next to leave the BOLT THROWER camp was Martin Kearns, who went on to be replaced by Alex Thomas for the recording of the first release on Metal Blade - 'Mercenary', (1998). The vocalist on this album was to be the re-instated Karl Willetts, unfortunately he found he could not commit himself 100% to the band so Dave Ingram (who had recently left Benediction), filled his postition.
With the support of new label Metal Blade, BOLT THROWER proved to be more successful than ever. 'Mercenary' was greatly received all over the world - in particular Germany, where it made an entry in the German album charts and received 10 out of 10, and album of the month in their biggest selling Metal magazine Rock Hard. The departure of Alex Thomas followed and Martin Kearns re-joined, in time to do the 'Full Force' festival for the second time.
In January 2001, the band went out on a few dates in Holland and Germany, resulting in sell-out shows and an ever-growing interest in the band. BOLT THROWER have continued their 'no compromise' ideals by managing themselves, booking their own tours and even printing their own merchandise. The 7th studio album ‚Honour - Valour - Pride' will see the light of day on the 19th of November! A European tour is already set for 2002 and the way things are going, the future's looking pretty good!
- 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 (2001)
- Those Once Loyal (2005)
- The Peel Sessions (1988)
- Cenotaph (1991)
- Spearhead (1992)
- Rehearsal (1986)
- In Battle There Is No Law (1987)
- Concession of Pain (1987)
- Forgotten Existence (1988)
- Prophets of Hell (1988)
- Polka Slam / Crisis Point (1989)
- The Peel Sessions 1988-90 (1991)
- Who Dares Wins (1998)
- Eternal War (2014)
- Live War (2010)
Gavin Ward - Bass (1986-1987), Guitars (1987-present)
Barry Thomson - Guitars (1986-present)
Jo Bench - Bass (1987-present)
Karl Willetts - Vocals (1987-1994, 1997-1998, 2004-present)
Andrew Whale - Drums (1986-1994)
Alan West - Vocals (1986-1987)
Alex Tweedy - Bass (1987)
Martin Kearns (R.I.P. 2015) - Drums (1994-1997, 1999-2015)
Alex Thomas - Drums (1997-1999)
Dave Ingram - Vocals (1998-2004)