God Dethroned - Passiondale (Passchendaele)
Metal Blade
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (38:01)
Release year: 2009
God Dethroned, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Goat

A lot of people were disappointed with God Dethroned’s last album, 2006’s The Toxic Touch. It was plain boring, and as my introduction to this Dutch band hardly a life-changing event – in fact, I shrugged and haven’t listened to much from them since. Still, if album number eight is anything to go by, the band have not just reclaimed their reputation but sent it even higher, as Passiondale is a worthy return to form. Taking its name from the infamous battle in World War I, where hundreds of thousands of soldiers from both sides perished senselessly in horrific conditions, the album is suitably grim-faced, ripping through the tragic subject matter with fist-clenched determination. God Dethroned have retreated a little from the Melodeath of The Toxic Touch and the Black and Swedish Death influences are as strong as ever, sludgy riffing sped up to dizzying speeds – strangely similar to the war Metal of Hail Of Bullets at certain moments.

Leaving aside the morality of moshing to mass slaughter, it’s the songwriting that really proves God Dethroned have listened to my colleague Alex’s warning in his review of their last album. There’s barely a moment which isn’t headbangable, the opening infectious one-two punches of Under A Darkening Sky and No-Man’s Land followed by Poison Fog, which brings epic keyboards into the mix and what sounds like a guest spot from Primordial’s Nemtheanga on clean vocals – no, wait, it’s Henri Sattler himself! The song reverberates powerfully towards the end, melodious without being tedious, and the following track Drowning In Mud channels Hypocrisy into a catchy blast that’ll stay with you for a long time. No Survivors has more clean vocals, the song nice and blasty before with some neat soloing afterwards, whilst Behind Enemy Lines is bold and epic before chugging straight into catchiness as the band launch themselves into the fray. You certainly can’t accuse them of holding back; this is the most intense I’ve ever heard the band.

Although Passiondale is a good album, it stops short of being truly excellent. God Dethroned haven’t really made any major changes to their sound since The Toxic Touch, and the songs can get a little repetitive – if this was much longer, it would seriously approach tedium. I found myself enjoying the epic tracks like Poison Fog and the title track more than the speedy blasts, the catchy choruses working much better and feeling less shoehorned on. Of course, you’d have to be dead not to enjoy the speedy assault of Fallen Empires, yet overall this is far from album of the year material. God Dethroned are back, doing just what God Dethroned do best, and whilst fans will eat this up I sincerely doubt that it’ll earn them hordes of new devotees. Nonetheless, it is a good album, and is certainly enough to make me put the band’s earlier albums on my now yard-long 'to check out' list.

MySpace
Killing Songs :
Poison Fog, Passiondale, No Survivors, Fallen Empires
Goat quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by God Dethroned that we have reviewed:
God Dethroned - Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross reviewed by Khelek and quoted 82 / 100
God Dethroned - The Toxic Touch reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
God Dethroned - The Lair Of The White Worm reviewed by Danny and quoted 80 / 100
God Dethroned - Into The Lungs Of Hell reviewed by Danny and quoted 95 / 100
God Dethroned - Ravenous reviewed by Danny and quoted 92 / 100
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