God Dethroned - Passiondale (Metal Blade, 2009)

I was perplexed when I saw this album. To my vague recollection, God Dethroned were a black/death metal band of the gratuitously blasphemous persuasion. But here we have an album named after the bloody World War I battle. Being a military history buff in addition to a death metal fan, I figured I'd check it out.
I'm extremely impressed. What we have here is a raging slab of melodic death metal. A Bolt Thrower aesthetic meets the riffs and songwriting sensibility of Amon Amarth. In the spirit of their label-mates, God Dethroned have created an infectious war machine that gets you up out of your seat and demands headbanging.
There are some surprisingly compelling melodies mixed in with the pounding marshal riffage. In addition to competent mid-range death metal vocals, we have some fine clean singing that accentuates some of the more somber lyrical moments. You know, trench-foot and drowning in mud are not always glorious subjects.
The theme of the album does not waver from its examination of the horrors, atrocities and violence of war. At times, the lyrics seem painfully simplistic, but any fan of this music should be well seasoned in tolerating such things.
The songs here are quite diverse, and maintain their quality throughout. The production is even and packs a nice mid-range punch. The sonic landscape is as pleasing as any recent Amon Amarth release. The drums are steady and perfectly fit the frantic march of these tunes.
I have no idea if God Dethroned have changed their musical direction as much as their lyrical interest. I do know that any Amon Amarth fan should stow their beer horn for a minute and check out this excellent album.

83/100

God Dethroned @ Myspace

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