Netherlands’ finest metal outfit God Dethroned unleashes their 11th album. The long establishment has resulted in a vast musical evolution yet their biggest metamorphosis seems to be displayed on their newest outing Illuminati. Many bands have taken inspirations from the extreme metal sub-genres, adding elements from death, black metal, and even doom metal. The Dutch superlative quartet with its newest dynamic installation shows remarkable signs of maturity. Illuminati is a unique record and it differs from the past material, the lyrical themes are focused on occultism and secret societies. While their back catalog features many outstanding albums, God Dethroned were among the first bands who intermingled the melodic ingredients of black metal with the extreme notions of death metal. Fans of the genre are surely familiar with their past albums such as The Christhunt, The Grand Grimoire and Bloody Blasphemy which offered a constant quality of blackened melodies.
These classics have defined the sound of the band, although their exploration towards the modern clichés resulted in extensive modification and metamorphosis. During the past decade, God Dethroned refined their style and adapted to the modern style of blackened death metal. Since their 2001 album Ravenous the sonic alchemy was combined with catchy hooks and dynamic brutality. The Dutch masters continued to upgrade their modus operandi yet their unforgettable transition was conceived on the Under the Sign of the Iron Cross album. Illuminati is by far the band’s best contemporary effort the various elements this time are combined with old and modern clichés.
Album opener Illuminati brings the catchy grooves while the melodic undertones of the synth provide a dark atmosphere. Metallic riffs and vicious guitar segments are brilliantly crafted to create a gloomy aura. On the newest album, God Dethroned has somehow reduced the effect of brutality giving the melodies more focus. The second track Broken Halo which follows in the same tone of the previous track kicking off with machine-gun-like blast beats, the minimal synth touches boost the dynamics. The harsh and raspy vocals are strongly presented throughout the record, while the frantic battering of the drums adds a chaotic effect.
The effort is likely to bring intensity to the chaotic tempo with blasting drums and energetic riffs focusing on virtuosity and bombastic guitar arrangements. Illuminati is fairly diverse and the melodic aspect of the guitar work is noteworthy on the following track Book of Lies. In one track the band suppresses the amount of aggression leaning towards catchy melodies. Although it seems that the modern elements of blackened death metal somehow suits the band’s new direction.
The guitars are laden with compositional techniques and the measures of aggression and rhythm are equally balanced. The consistency of the rhythm guitars provide many catchy hooks therefore the songs here sound fierce and brutal. During the repetitive choruses, the music is backed by rhythm guitar, Spirit of Beelzebub begins with pummeling blast beats and brutal riffing, one of the surprises is the use of clean vocals. The blackened fury is brought by assertive riffs, while the transition of the drums from mid-paced tempo to blast beats hits the speed of velocity.
Satan Spawn is an example of what God Dethroned is capable of, here the level of aggression escalates. The track breaks out with massive guitar barrage and the wild pandemonium of the drums erupts. The emphatic nature of the newest album is achieved through the tremendous shift from various styles. Gabriel which is one of the highlights features catchy melodies and grooves. Henri Satller’s vocal performance is great as usual, Illuminati is quite different but it is also a conglomeration of the past elements. There are strong vibes from Passiondale and Under the Sign of the Iron Cross.
And as always the guitars provide catchy tunes, melodic hooks, and chugging riffs. Handled professionally by Henri Satller and Dave Meester. On Eye of Horus, the song is focused on mid-tempo while the lead guitar arrangements are nearly perfect. The pompous tone pervades the track perhaps this is one of their most bombastic songs launched with majestic chants and ominous growls. Jeroen Pomper handles the bass guitar skillfully and Michiel van der Plicht blast beats are superb. God Dethroned also draws other influences from bands such as Septic Flesh and Behemoth.
Blood Moon Eclipse is one of the fastest tracks the wild bettering of the drums and the brutal riffs sound vicious. The fast-paced tempo suddenly segues into catchy melodies and the focused riffs overflow till the final moments. God Dethroned‘s newest album presents a spectacular and refreshing formula proving that the 30 years of experience were met with many musical changes. Illuminati is one of the highlights of the year 2020 and if you haven’t listened to the album yet then I strongly recommend you to do so.
Release Date: February 7th, 2020
Label: Metal Blade Records
- Broken Halo
- Book of Lies
- Spirit of Beelzebub
- Satan Spawn
- Eye of Horus
- Dominus Mascarum
- Blood Moon Eclipse