Released by Metal Blade Records
Release Date : February 7th, 2020
Genre: Blackened Death Metal, Melodic Black/Death Metal,
Henri Sattler – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Dave Meester – Lead Guitar
Michiel Van Der Plicht – Drums
Jeroen Pomper – Vocals, Bass
2. Broken Halo
3. Book Of Lies
4. Spirit of Beelzebub
5. Satan Spawn
7. Eye Of Horus
8. Dominus Muscarum
9. Blood Moon Eclipse
God Dethroned is a Death Metal band formed back in 1990 by vocalist and guitarist Henri Sattler and they are considered as an established part of the Dutch death metal history. They have released ten studio albums where there is a clear evolution of their music style from death to blackened death and more recently, melodic death metal. “Illuminati” is a special record that represents a fusion of various elements from all eras of the band, musically speaking. On the other hand, the lyrics of the nine new tracks show a tendency of returning to the past with anti-religion topics, following a trilogy dedicated to World War I.
With a new lead guitarist, Dave Meester, and a songwriting process mainly done by the duet of Henri Sattler and Michiel Van Der Plicht, God Dethroned have created a record which would retain the band’s signature brutality along with their most varied material to date and the expansion upon ideas hinted at on pivotal songs from previous albums. The Dutch team has experimented a lot on this new record and they seem to have surpassed the boundaries of death metal itself. Precisely, they have played keyboards throughout the whole album, something they haven’t done in the past. Moreover, they have made some changes at the vocal parts with a grunt/scream based singing, but also with clean choirs, giving more atmosphere to the record.
The title track gives a potent starting pace to the album with its standard moments of rawness and aggression, but on the other hand, there are plenty of ethereal elements and strong melodic passages in a song that talks about this secretive sect. Moreover, tracks like “Broken Halo”, “Satan Spawn” and “Blood Moon Eclipse” are samples of massive brutality, with superb death growls, impressive guitar riffs, screaming solos, and devastating drum parts, which would please the band’s most devoted fans. There is a perfect balance caused by the smooth passage from the chaotic, full of rage sections to the melodic and ethereal ones, which provides an oddly pleasant and satisfying feeling to the listener. There are intense anti-religion elements among the lyrics, which remind the topics of the band’s releases in the nineties, even though there is a wider selection of themes in these new tracks.
Moreover, “Book Of Lies”, a tune about forced conversion, represents one of the most melodic moments of the record. There are some impressive rhythmic passages, while the mid-tempo sections smoothly fall into powerful guitar parts. “Spirit Of Beelzebub”, dedicated to the devil’s presence in the world, is one of the highlights of the album, with hymn-like choirs at the memorable chorus. A movie about a world war in Heaven entitled “The Prophecy” has been the inspiration for the song “Gabriel”, with mellow, anguished and sorrowful emotions brilliantly mixed with harsher ones: there is a strong Behemoth influence on this tune, such as the short instrumental “Dominus Muscarum”. In the end, “Eye Of Horus”, a song entitled by the Egyptian god and referred to the balance between good and evil, gives a completely different sound to the album with impressive vocal choirs, amazing memorable guitar melodies in a darkly ethereal and occult atmosphere.
“Illuminati” is a solid blackened death metal record with various twists mostly at the instrumental part of the compositions. With this new effort, the legendary European band has brought their music to the next level by achieving an important evolution to their sound and lyricism. God Dethroned embarked on a journey to unearth secret religious societies, photograph scenes of erotic derangement, feed jealous angels, tell tales of forced evangelism, detail demonic frenzies, and covet the spawn of satan. There is a perfect harmony between the raw and the melodic sections, which provides an extensive variety of sounds. Every song has its character and is remarkably listenable and memorable, giving the opportunity to “Illuminati” to reach a major audience and overcome the boundaries of death metal. The eleventh studio release of the Dutch band God Dethroned labeled Metal Blade Records could be considered as their most complete work in the thirty years of their music career. Highly recommended.
Written by: Katerina Paisoglou
My Global Mind – Staff Writer