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Under the Sign of the Iron Cross

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Album Review

One of heavy metal's most consistently underrated bands, the Netherlands' God Dethroned have nevertheless been building from strength to strength throughout the 2000s, and in 2009's Passiondale, delivered what in many fans' opinions was the strongest album of their career. Then, barely one year later, the quartet was already diving back into the foxholes of WWI in search of the morbid inspiration for their next album, Under the Sign of the Iron Cross, which, one would assume, promised to deliver something of a mirror image of its predecessor. Assumption confirmed: the album provided a severely distorted mirror image, capturing God Dethroned in their heaviest, fastest, ugliest, most uncompromising frame of mind in nigh on a decade, as evidenced by blazing blackened death metal stampedes such as the opening tandem "Storm of Steel"/"Fire Storm," and further merciless onslaughts like "Chaos Reigns at Dawn" and "Red Baron." This turn of events is obviously bad news for fans who took a shine to 2006's unusually restrained and melodic The Toxic Touch, but not entirely so, since God Dethroned intermittently involve strong melodic lines amid the reigning sturm und drang, namely on the title track, "Through Byzantine Hemispheres" and closing epic "On Fields of Death & Desolation." And, needless to say, the historical themes add another layer of entertainment depending on how big a nerd you happen to be. Finally, it should be noted that God Dethroned's attention to deep, dynamic detail eventually busts through their never-damaging attack over several listens, making it evident that Under the Sign of the Iron Cross is yet another album that both the band and their fans will be mighty proud of in years to come.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Dutch death-metal band God Dethroned was formed in 1991 by vocalist Henri Sattler with several friends (credited only as M. Beukeveld, M. Arends, and A. Dijkstra); they recorded a demo and got the opportunity to release an album on the small German label Shark in 1992. Titled The Christhunt, it did little commercially, and God Dethroned went on hiatus the following year, with Sattler forming a new group called Ministry of Terror. Following that band's 1994 album Fall of Life and a supporting European...
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Under the Sign of the Iron Cross, God Dethroned
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