Formed: In the loo of a pub in Conventry, England, in 1986.
Sounds like: An armada of Space Marines overtaking a battle cruiser full of Chaos Warriors.
For fans of: Carcass, Napalm Death, Godflesh, Hail of Bullets, Slayer, Judas Priest, AC/DC and the Warhammer 40,000 miniature war game.
Why you care: In the way AC/DC and Judas Priest have become synonymous with consistency in hard rock and metal, so has Bolt Thrower in the death-metal pantheon. The British battalion arose from the mid-’80s thrash scene with a political flair derived from Crass and a creative twist on loan from Games Workshop and its fantasy battle games. Nine albums of mountain-sized, down-tuned guitar riffs, gloriously melodic hooks and an onslaught of double-bass drum followed. Besides creating planet-smashing death-metal tunes about the consequences of eternal war, the band is notable for sticking with its DIY roots: In Europe, the group tours in a converted school bus, limits ticket prices at $18 and screens its own T-shirts out of the back of the bus each night. The band rarely tours internationally, though. In the U.S., fans are starved to see Bolt Thrower live, and outside of one-offs at festivals like the Maryland Deathfest, we haven’t had the chance since the early ’90s. That Bolt Thrower has deigned to do eight exclusive U.S. dates is historic. That a metal show in Portland sold out so far in advance is unheard of. And for those curious about the current lineup, only the drummer has changed. The rest, including Jo Bench—the first lady of extreme metal—will be on hand, for victory.
SEE IT: Bolt Thrower plays Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., with Benediction, Hellshock and Night Nurse, on Tuesday, May 28. 9 pm. Sold out. All ages.