God Dethroned - Passiondale review
|Release date:||April 2009|
01. The Cross Of Sacrifice
02. Under A Darkening Sky
03. No Man's Land
04. Poison Fog
05. Drowning In Mud
07. No Survivors
08. Behind Enemy Lines
09. Fallen Empires
10. Artifacts Of The Great War
Disc II [limited edition] [Live in 2005]
02. Boiling Blood
03. The Warcult
04. Soul Sweeper
05. The Art Of Immolation
06. Villa Vampiria
07. The Last Zip Of Spit
08. Sigma Enigma
09. The Serpent King
Like a rat gnawing at your skin while you sleep, God Dethroned's latest not only drops you right into the trenches of one of the bloodiest World War I battlegrounds, it does so with a personal touch that leaves even your own lungs full of mustard gas. Loaded with more aggression than the band has offered in several albums, Passiondale honors the slain with a menacing conviction layered with a crossfire of chaotic and stalwart melodies.
While the band's previous release marked a unique and imperative point of growth musically and lyrically, Passiondale devours all that The Toxic Touch created and reimagines it with all the fury once reserved for older efforts like Bloody Blasphemy. Look no further than the second tour of duty for drummer Roel Sanders, who seems the ideal match for the necessary machine-gun backdrop necessary to evoke an accurate recreation of the subject at hand.
This time around, vocalist and guitarist Henri Sattler took on all the riffs himself, which has made for an internally focused barrage of his characteristic reflective melodic passages with his overwhelming, yet tight death and thrash-infused guitarwork. His vocals are as powerful as ever, offering a raw mix of clarity and emotional depth with an authoritative urgency within his throaty delivery. Sattler's development and perseverance as a composer continues to impress me, as Passiondale burns with maturity and strength yet relies on an inner intensity that never seems satisfied.
Tracks like "Under A Darkening Sky" and "No Man's Land" are instant hits and what immediately drew me into the album, as they are all-out explosions, much reminiscent of waking up to an enemy's onslaught after a fear-driven sleep in the trenches. It's the addition of clean vocals, courtesy Marco van der Velde, however, that push songs like "Poison Fog" and "No Survivors" to a higher level, and make for some of the band's most dynamic work. His singing is like echoes through time that are unearthed each time you visit the battlefields of nearly a century ago, as he speaks verbatim some of the survivors' words that have been preserved all these years. This is a war that has reached the verge of ancient history now, yet each time I hear these songs I find myself in a mental film of poisoned water, death and solitary fear.
"Your country needs you, so come and join our war
It's fun and takes you places you've never seen before"
With interjections of campaign slogans and soldiers' own words and of course the frenzy of the bullet-drenched fields, Passiondale takes on all of the war's most brutal subjects with commanding authority. While the stench, rotting flesh, and endless machine gun fire faded as the stalemate that took 900,000 lives ended, God Dethroned's latest not only personifies this but also delves into the aftereffects of war - those that can make anyone a prisoner of war for life. At once as blunt as a cemetery lined with plain white crosses as it is a serenade played to the tune of a soldier's dying breath, this album has unexpectedly become one of my most respected and favorite releases of the past year.
||Written on 17.03.2010 by Music and the written word are two of my passions in life, so I figured, why not combine the two?|
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