God Dethroned - Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross
Metal Blade
Aggressive Melodic Death Metal
9 songs (36:24)
Release year: 2010
God Dethroned, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Khelek

As many probably know, God Dethroned is no newcomer to the death metal genre. From their early beginnings as a death and blackened death band in the 90s, to their progression to a more melodic style, they have continued making solid albums throughout the past fifteen years. Last year's Passiondale got mostly favorable reviews, and I found it to be quite an enjoyable album that got the band back to some of their faster, more aggressive roots. Less than two years later we now have the follow up, and once again we're looking at a story based on war, specifically the first World War. Musically Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross is quite similar to Passiondale; there's a lot of aggressive death metal here, with melodic elements coming through in some songs more than others.

The intro track is some melodic, foreboding guitar wailing, which does give the impression of the sounds leading up to a battle. The aptly titled Storm Of Steel is up first and takes no prisoners with fast, crushing riffs backed by furious drums. This song actually reminds me somewhat of Behemoth because of the speed and intensity of the music. The vocals of frontman Henri Sattler are also at their deepest and most guttural. This is the sound of pure death metal fury; prepare to headbang. The song rages on for close to 4 minutes with a cyclone of quick, memorable guitar riffs and drums, never letting up for a second. Fire Storm is up next, and while you may think it a bit gratuitous to have two songs in a row that have "storm" in the title, these guys will show you why you need to just keep headbanging. This song is just as brutal as the first, though the walls of guitar are a bit slower here. The solo is a bit too dissonant in my opinion, sounding a little out of place on a song that is overall more contained, but it doesn’t hurt the overall quality. The next song, The Killing Is Faceless, gets back to what God Dethroned have always done well: catchy, heavy riffs. There is also some excellent melodic guitar soloing during this song. However it still retains much of the aggressiveness already displayed by Sattler's growls. I'm not big on the clean vocals in the quite melodic title track, although once again the guitar work is excellent. The vocals simply don't match them in intensity. Towards the end of the album the music slows down a bit with the catchy yet simplistic Through Byzantine Hemispheres and the epic On Fields Of Death & Desolation.

For the most part this is a fast, enjoyable melodic death metal album. While some of this sounds more like the brutal or traditional death metal of bands like Behemoth or Kataklysm, there are still strong melodic elements in some songs. Instead of following the mainstream trends and compromising their sound, God Dethroned have once again asserted themselves as an old school band that knows what death metal actually is. It may not be as memorable and melodic as some of their past albums, but in terms of pure heaviness and energy Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross is definitely at a level higher than many. I am probably most impressed by Sattler's intense vocal performance. This is a guy who is close to 40 years old, yet his vocals are no less intense than when he started the band, not to mention his guitar work is top-notch as usual. Another well executed album from God Dethroned.

Killing Songs :
Storm Of Steel, The Killing Is Faceless, On Fields Of Death & Desolation
Khelek quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by God Dethroned that we have reviewed:
God Dethroned - Passiondale (Passchendaele) reviewed by Goat 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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