Review Summary: THE SNIPER NEVER SLEEPS
War. It’s a common theme for metal these days. A lethal concoction of drop a guitars and jackhammer drums complimented to gruesome lyrics revolving around hopeless conditions, shattered morale and brutal warfare. Unfortunately, the delivery of these sorts of albums is rather ruined by the fact that the true story of the lyrics can't be discerned through the heavily distorted vocals. Bands such as Hail of Bullets and Arch Enemy have fallen into this trap before. God Dethroned, however, brings you the full spectrum of dark and dank emotion with their new release, Passiondale.
"Life Expectancy, there is none!"
From start to finish, Passiondale delivers every dark, gritty and bloody war torn scenario to your ears with throat-shredding but disturbingly comprehensible growls. You would be surprised how much this adds to the music. What normally would have been a mundane album full of blistering riffs and pounding drums is an album animated by memorable vocal lines and skillful song-writing.
“Die, no hope no glory!”
“Die, no victory!”
In my opinion, one of the greatest parts of “war metal” is the sheer heaviness. Almost every second of Passiondale is home to an endless supply of good, heavy riffage. About enough heavy to sheer the skin off of your bones and render your ears completely useless. Ever so often, Passiondale is graced with a shrieking, squealing solo that burns up notes faster than a bat out of hell. The drumming is nothing more than the standard mash of indistinguishable double bass blitzkrieg and violent snare hits, but with the rampage in your ears, you won’t notice.
“Carnival of death!”
Although musically solid, Passiondale’s shining strength is in the lyrics. The true focus of Passiondale is a body-strewn, gas infested battlefield of 1917, in the burning heart of WWI. The lyrics focus heavily on the darkest aspects of the war, “poison fog” being a tribute to the sickening use of mustard gas to eradicate entrenched soldiers. The song portrays the excruciating tale of a god-forsaken soldier whose lungs are filling with the crippling gas, and he can no longer breathe. The rest of the lyrics often delve into the actual warfare itself, describing horrendous battle scenes littered with corpses and soaked in blood. “No Survivors,” is perhaps the greatest and saddest example of this lyricism. Fortunately for the listener, the lyrics avoid straying into truly gruesome details. True, some of the content is rather graphic, but nothing even comes close to the grisly lyrics and carcass-like gore references of other “war metal” bands, particularly Hail of Bullets. Thus, Passiondale makes a powerful point without scaring off potential listeners.
This is quite easily, the best heavy stuff I’ve heard all year, and it sure as hell beats Chimaira as far as “pure ***ing metal” goes.