God Dethroned – Under the Sign of the Iron Cross (Metal Blade Records)

Wednesday, 20th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Usually as veteran bands evolve, one expects commercial aspects to creep into the group psyche in the hopes of making underground origins blossom into career-sustaining recording and touring cycles. Dutch death metal band God Dethroned survived this shift with 2006’s The Toxic Touch, proving you don’t have to necessarily keep the drum and guitar throttle at limitless Autobahn paces to attract new members to the fold while not losing the legions who grew up with your first recordings.

Their last album, Passiondale also set the press and fan world abuzz thanks to its historical slant lyrically (akin to Hail of Bullets). So expectations are very high that Under the Sign of the Iron Cross will once again pummel brains and limbs into submission, and the quartet fail to disappoint. “Storm of Steel” alternates between kinetic blasting drums and slower mid-tempo march grooves, “Fire Storm” merges the intensity of Slayer and Sodom and “Through Byzantine Hemispheres” recalls the greatness of current Unleashed.

Lyrically vocalist/guitarist Henri Sattler uses World War I as the concept for the eight songs, plus “The Declaration of War” intro, using Ernst Juenger’s book to give a more personal account of the day to day effects of this major event in history. The album closes with the 7:29 “On Fields of Death & Destruction,” an epic that begins with slower harmony guitars before travelling into faster, almost black metal pacing before returning to a doom-like state as drummer Michiel Van Der Plicht juggles all the tempo changes seamlessly.

At 36 minutes and change, God Dethroned unfurl another platter certain to appease those who need a healthy release, and may also learn something new at the same time.

www.goddethroned.com

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)