Reviewed: May 1999
Released: 1998, Earache Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Yet another 1998 Earache release that did not see the light of day in North America until this year. And once again, Earache has attempted to cash in on a former signing of theirs. Remember the Entombed compilation? Was it coincidence that this was released the same time “To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth” was? And what about the “Wake Up and Smell the Carcass” compilation? Did this have anything to do with the release of Black Star’s “Barbed Wire Soul? Now we have “Who Dares Wins”. Is it coincidence that this was released the same time as “Mercenary”? Whether it’s a marketing scheme or not, I believe there is nothing more pleasing than the release of rare music!
War is declared with the opening four tracks from the “Cenotaph” CD/LP single: “Cenotaph”, “Destructive Infinity”, “Prophet of Hatred”, and “Realm of Chaos (live)”. The first three could easily be found on the CD releases of their albums, so there’s nothing special here. “Realm of Chaos (live)”, exclusive to the CD/LP single, is one of the worst live recordings I’ve ever heard! The battle rages on with four tracks from the “Spearhead” EP: “Spearhead” (extended remix), “Crown of Life”, “Dying Creed”, and “Lament”. At the time, three of these tracks were exclusive to the EP. And Earache has since re-released “The IVth Crusade” with two of them as bonus tracks. But for those who have the original “IVth Crusade” CD and never found the “Spearhead” EP, these tracks are worth their weight. The compilation concludes with two tracks taken from the extremely limited “Rareache” box set: “World Eater ‘94” and “Overlord”. These two tracks could also be found on the Japanese release of “…For Victory”. “World Eater” is one of the most monumental Bolt Thrower songs ever recorded. The 1994 rendition is slower paced, with the blast beats thrown out the window. Whereas the original was somewhat of a blur, it is easier to hear the riffs in the newer version, due to better production and slower tempo. “Overlord”, the rarest gem here, sounds like it was made up of leftovers from the “…For Victory” sessions. Now this may or may not be the case, but regardless, the song flattens your ass like an armored personnel carrier!
Now for the complaints: One, the cover artwork is the same as the “Spearhead” EP. Don’t get me wrong, the artwork rules, but couldn’t they have used anything else? Two, the band photo on the back is the same as the one inside “The 4th Crusade”. Come on, how hard is it to find a different photo? Three, it would have been nice to see a more expanded booklet, with more photos (especially live ones), artwork, and other nostalgic Bolt Thrower stuff. The extent of your dedication to Bolt Thrower’s war machine will determine your desire to get this CD or not.
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