We honor someone who must be honored.
Like the loss of a brave soldier after his last battle, the passing of Martin ‘Kiddie’ Kearns deeply impacted the life of legendary death metal band Bolt Thrower. The drummer was an integral part of this platoon since 1994, when he was only 17 years old, taking a brief furlough from operations in 1997 and returning in 1999 until his physical departure. A year after his sad passing, this pioneering band broke the silence and answered to the question constantly asked by fans: are they coming back?
Published on their official website, Karl Willets, Gavin Ward, Barry Thomson and Jo Bench released a final statement about the destiny of the band in which they declared the cessation of all operations of their 30-year brotherhood.
In their words:
“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.”
Debuting with 2001’s full length, Valour – Honour – Pride, Kearns did an impressive job keeping the pace of the juggernaut sized rhythm section of the band, beefing up the already original and monstrous riffs. He also did a great work in live settings, in which he shined with tight performances and incredible sound. Bolt Thrower was a well-oiled machine that destroyed all stages and satisfied their fan base with pit-inducing anthems. Those Once Loyal was the last studio album played by Kearns and is declared by many followers as one of the best releases of their entire catalog, condensing with mastery all the powder and steel recollected in all their career.
Paving the road for many extreme metal acts, the stomping rhythmic hammering of Bolt Thrower is constantly named as a big influence on the death metal genre. First influenced by the lore of the Tabletop RPG Game Warhammer 40,000, the band moved to a more serious lyrical and aesthetic concept. Overall, the cohesive nature of their style is still regarded and remembered for their effectiveness and consistency; talking about war, battles and the code of honor behind all of the violent nature of mankind, the band distanced themselves from the regular gore thematic that was a staple in the 80s incipient death metal genre to embrace a meta-speech in which they explored ethical and moral topics of how people struggle and fight in a war called life.
As a tribute to his friend, vocalist Karl Willets posted to his Twitter account photos of an intimate tribute to Kearns; meanwhile fans around the globe shared their favorite memories of the band’s live shows, photographs, and their favorite songs as a way to express the never-ending brotherhood to the mighty Bolt Thrower.
We raise a toast to you, Martin and everyone in Bolt Thrower. Thank you all for your work in extreme metal. Respect to the fallen, you will never be forgotten.