God Dethroned – Illuminati (Metal Blade)

Friday, 14th February 2020
Rating: 8.5/10

With their last album, The World Ablaze, God Dethroned officially wrapped up their impressive trilogy of WWI-themed albums. So what’s a band called God Dethroned to do? Jump back into the flames of anti-religion and the occult of course! They certainly aren’t going to be singing about rainbows and kittens you know. With a band that has been around close to 30 years at this point, Illuminati shows that they are still quite hungry to move forward.

No one is going to go into a new God Dethroned album and expect them to make a complete change in their musical direction. They started with a mixture of black and death metal, and that’s what they do. But it is worth noting some of the little tweaks to the formula that Henri Sattler and friends have come up with for this 11th outing. There’s a more notable keyboard/synth presence that works to lay down some background atmosphere. It’s nothing that is going to make any long-time fans turn around and start running away with a vengeance, but it effectively adds some more layers to the band’s sound. Just listen to “Eye of Horus” and you can hear the subtle influences that it really adds to the track. The other noticeable piece is more striking melodies. Granted, there’s been melodic injections to the band’s otherwise aggressive template, but it feels more pronounced. “Blood Moon Eclipse” for example, rages with just as much hellfire as anything else the band has done, but some more melodic guitarwork and atmosphere in the song’s midsection keeps it more balanced on repeated listens. The same statement can be applied to much of the album – there’s more going on than the sheer surface, if you give it a few listens. A number of riffs and melodies seem to ‘pop’ a bit more, which is a pleasant plus for an act like this one.

Illuminati is just as strong as any other God Dethroned output. With a notable emphasis on a few aspects that will grow with the listener over time, it’ll gain solid mileage as some added atmosphere and melodies start to sink in.

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