One of the best and most consistent extreme metal bands from The Netherlands are God Dethroned. Henri Sattler (guitars/vocals) is the band’s founder and main composer. Despite many line-up changes the overall quality stayed consistent on albums like The Grand Grimoire (1997), Bloody Blasphemies (1999) and In The Lair Of The White Worm (2002). After some years God Dethroned returned to form with the release of Passiondale, a concept album based upon the horrors of the Third Battle of Ypres (1917), better known as the Battle of Passiondale…
The musical violence of Passiondale lives up to the concept behind this album. Their signature explosive combination of black metal, death metal and thrash metal works like a charm on songs like Under A Darkened Sky, No Man’s Land, Poison Fog, Drowning In Mud and the title track. The return of drummer Roel Sanders and his fluent way of playing gives Passiondale the same charm as The Grand Grimoire and Bloody Blasphemies, which many view as some of the band’s finest work to date.
What I’ve always admired in God Dethroned is their ability to combine musical extremities with intelligent song writing and to incorporate actual melodies without making the music sound cheesy. Some of the very best examples on Passiondale are songs like the aforementioned Under A Darkened Sky, Drowning In Mud and Poison Fog. Those compositions can easily rival with celebrated classics such as The Art Of Immolation, Under The Golden Wings Of Death, Serpent King, Soul Capture 1562 and Under A Silver Moon.
Passiondale contains a nice surprise in the form of some cleans vocals by Marco van de Velde (The Wounded). His vocal contributions on Poison Fog and No Survivors add to the overall atmosphere of Passiondale. It also shows that Henri Sattler and Co aren’t afraid to experiment a bit here and there. The production by Jörg Uken makes sure that this album will stand its ground for many years to come.
Passiondale combines the timeless charm of The Grand Grimoire and Bloody Blasphemies with the song writing prowess of later God Dethroned material. It’s to their credit that Henri Sattler and Co are still able to deliver such a powerful and convincing album in their long career. Passiondale is arguably one of their finest bodies of work to date.
written by Raymond Westland