Last year on the 14th of September, the death metal world unexpectedly lost one of the greatest drummers it has ever seen, at the young age of 38. Martin “Kiddie” Kearns, drummer extraordinaire at Bolt Thrower, lost his life exactly a year ago and left everyone saddened. Our thoughts go out to the family of Martin Kearns once again and also to everyone involved at Bolt Thrower. We hope they continue to be strong and hope that the memory of Kiddie remains embedded in all of us.
Questions were asked about Bolt Thrower‘s future. What would happen now? Would Andy Whale return? Would we ever get to watch Bolt Thrower again? Well, on the anniversary of Kiddie’s passing, all those questions have been answered.
On behalf of ourselves and Kiddie’s family, we would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and support over the last 12 months. Together with Kiddie’s family we made the conscious decision to keep his unexpected death a private matter, and to take time out to deal with it all.
When Kiddie joined us back in 1994, although he was only 17, he instantly improved Bolt Thrower as a live band, and no one was more loyal to, and prouder to be in Bolt Thrower than him.
We spent over 20 years together, touring the world, with 3 different vocalists, but he was so much more than just a drummer to us. So when we carried his coffin to his final resting place, the Bolt Thrower drummer position was buried with him. He was, and will now forever remain THE Bolt Thrower drummer, our Powerhouse and friend Martin “Kiddie” Kearns.
As for the rest of us, Bolt Thrower has been our way of life for 30 years, never driven by money, fame or ego, but by our own personal principles and values that have guided us through life, and which bonded us as friends long before Bolt Thrower was even formed…
This is the latest post on boltthrower.com, the official website of the band. How do I feel about this? Well, I am devastated. As someone who got into the band relatively late, I had the honour of watching them live in Bremen two years ago exasctly in a week’s time, and was blown away by how magnificent a live act they were. At this point, I must say, I only had been listening to them for over a couple of years, still dwelling in my prog/modern metal shell. But that one gig changed my mind about old school, slower tempo death metal. Knowing how rare BT merch is, I bought everything they had on offer. After that, I travelled to Berlin to catch them again and that was the last time I’d see them. Last year, when I heard that Kiddie had passed, I couldn’t believe it. It was there, on the website, but I did not want to believe it. It wasn’t fair that the world lost yet another person who strived to play music that wasn’t about “hoes” or “butts” or “swimming in money”. Someone who played music that was deep and actually meant something. I had just bought Those Once Loyal, the last BT album and was into it from the first note on. Whenever asked what my favourite BT track is, I say The Killchain without a moment taken to think about it. Ganesh and Nolan from Kryptos will attest to that fact. This album was not far from being the ultimate Bolt Thrower album and I am glad that they have called it a day with it as the last thing they released.
From hearing stories on how they threw away an entire album because it did not live up to the BT standards, to not selling their merchandise online because they weren’t in it for the money, I slowly but surely fell in love with this band. Which is why it does not surprise me that on the anniversary of Kiddie’s death, they have decided to end the Bolt Thrower era. For 30 years, they kept it filthy and stayed true to themselves. Band members came, band members went, but the spirit remained. One was part of the Bolt Thrower family, from the beginning to the end. As I type this, I’ve got the entire catalog on loop and I’m screaming on the inside that it isn’t fair that it has to come to an end. However, the decision is understandable. Gut-wrenching, but it had to be made. If the band didn’t think it could’ve moved onwards without Kiddie, there is no way anyone or anything could convince it otherwise. Actions define an entity and the conviction with which Bolt Thrower have gone about their business over the last three decades, commands respect that is most definitely unparalleled.
There is hope however, in the form of Memoriam, a band comprising of former Bolt Thrower drummer Andy Whale and Bolt Thrower vocalist Karl Willets. With Memoriam, the war rages on!!!
So, I raise my glass to one of the best, if not THE best, truest and kvltest death metal band in the world. We shall always remember the fallen.
Thank you, but not good bye, Bolt Thrower.