Review Summary: An unholy blitzkrieg of thrash/death/black metal fury by a relativiely obscure Dutch band.
To me it’s crazy that this album hasn’t been reviewed yet here. I remember back in 1999 reading a review of “Bloody Blasphemy” in Metal Maniacs magazine, and deciding that I needed to get my hands on it. Obviously I’m glad I did, and I of course recommend you the reader to do so as well.
God Dethroned is a relatively obscure band from The Netherlands, formed in 1991 by lead man/vocalist/guitarist Henri Sattler. Over the years GD (hahahaha) has changed their style quite a bit and changed their lineup a lot as well, but have consistently put out solid material. Their earlier works such as this album, “The Grand Grimoire”, and “Ravenous” were largely thrash/death/black influenced. It wasn’t until “Into the Lungs of Hell” that the band changed musical directions to a more melodic style of death metal, as well as shifting their lyrics to other dark things rather than blaspheming the Christian god. That being said, I’m here to say (fittingly on a Sunday no less) that this album is a face-ripper. The album title and band name fit exactly what the music conveys, seeing as it’s an unholy blitzkrieg of metal fury.
Opening track “Serpent King” sets the record straight with what sounds like a movie snippet, and I don’t know what one, featuring a man claiming he believes in Jesus, and is then apparently shot. Then out through your speakers gallops a steed on crack hell-bent on your destruction with aggressive speed-picking and blast beats and double-bass! Vocalist Henri Sattler’s piss and vinegar vocals immediately grab your attention by the balls. He is by far a force to be reckoned with, and it’s amazing how clearly one can understand exactly what he’s saying even though it sounds like he’s swallowed spikes. The song continues with an admittedly odd chorus of male choir/chanting backed by Sattler declaring that he indeed, is the serpent king. The following song “Nocturnal” is performed with similar structure and execution, which leads us to our next song, and which I consider to the best in all of GD’s catalog.
“The Execution Protocol” is a masterpiece of beauty and brutality. It opens with slow ambient dueling guitar solos before launching into a frenzied riff. The riff speed-picks its way up and down the fretboard with ferocity as blast beats pummel away, and vocalist Henri’s opening lines give the song it’s thesis statement of “Death breathes down my neck!!!” The song goes through many twists and turns, featuring well-crafted bridges, triplet riffing to break your neck, and very creative guitar solos towards the end, ending in an unexpected piano outro.
Next is the song “Boiling Blood”, which is also titled fittingly. It sounds like something that Slayer could have written for “Reign in Blood”, only with blast beats. The song goes into an awesome breakdown that seems like an intentional nod to Morbid Angel’s “Where the Slime Live”, complete with methodical double-bass and watery vocal effects. “Boiling Blood” also features some insane ripping solos to round it out.
Another standout track is “Soul Capture 1562”. It is slower and showcases the band’s ability to write awesome harmonies and melodies. It has a surprise in that it has a female choir in the middle of the song. The atmosphere of this song is sweet, and the keyboards are really utilized here to create a mesmerizing wall of sound. The song ends in a straightforward yet memorable rock-type riff and a few nice solos. Awesome song, totally awesome.
The last few tracks, “Under the Golden Wings of Death”, “Firebreath”, and the title track are standard fare shredders. The latter actually seems to be the weakest composition on the album. Have you ever noticed how title tracks seem to be like that? And that’s not to say that the song is bad at all, it just doesn’t get the blood flowing like the rest of the album, and actually seems to steal a bit from Slayer’s “Raining Blood” at the beginning, but thankfully goes in its own direction after that.
For those of you wondering about the production of the album, it is solid. The guitars are raw and gritty and crunchy, the bass is audible (though as usual I wish it stood out more in terms of composition), the vocals are crystal clear and pissed off, and the drums are fairly balanced in the mix, yet in my opinion slightly muddy. What I really appreciate about this recording is the overall atmosphere. You may not notice the keyboards at first listen, but they are actually used quite heavily throughout the entire album, and give the production an airy feel reminiscent of many black metal albums.
All of this being said, it is my opinion that “Bloody Blasphemy” simply slays from beginning to near end, with the only detractor being the title track, and that to me is not enough to detract my rating lower than classic. I find myself coming back to it again and again for the brutality and speed and anger and extremely creative riffing style. I hope you readers pick this up. Just remember that this is not a nice album at all, so if you believe in Jesus, after listening to this, you’re gonna need him. Cheers.