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After the atmospherically beguiling intro this album rips in like a hail of gunfire from a German machine gun nest, cutting down all those that dare stand up to its crushing might. This is the latest album from God Dethroned, a band from the Netherlands, who’ve been actively releasing albums since 1992. A band I’ve never listened to that much before, it’s always been a case of there was always some other release that was higher up my list of priorities, but off the strength of ‘Passiondale’ I’ll certainly be checking out their back catalogue. As mentioned, this album has plenty of attack but it also carries subtleties and more than a sense of atmosphere - not in the way of loads of added keyboards but rather in the pace and arrangements of the tracks themselves. There are some great lyrics when spat out with vitriol which transport you to the horrors faced by the men on the front line of the Great War like, “The sniper never sleeps” and “I cannot breath I cannot see, inhaling mustard gas, it kills me in my sleep, poison fog”. As well as these growled lines we’re treated to some great moments of clean vocals that seem to give the perspective of those waiting to go over the top, a hope, resilience and ultimate futility of what they must do. The title track is a more relaxed affair without the blasting feel of earlier tracks but this isn’t to say it lacks anything - it has a retrospective feel whilst remaining heavy to the core and again a catchy refrain keeps cropping up; “No escape from Passiondale” will enter your head after that first listen! Musically speaking, God Dethroned probably fit into the Death/ Thrash crossover camp with hints of Slayer in the faster tracks so, basically, if you want a real ‘war’ album then this is it!
Metal Blade Records
Review by Paul Sims
27th April 2009
1) The Cross of Sacrifice
2) Under a Darkening Sky
3) No Man's Land
4) Poison Fog
5) Drowning in Mud
6) Passiondale
7) No Survivors
8) Behind Enemy Lines
9) Fallen Empires
10) Artifacts of the Great War
"...this album has plenty of attack but it also carries subtleties and more than a sense of atmosphere...in the pace and arrangements of the tracks themselves."