GOD DETHRONED - Under the Sign of the Iron Cross CD
Metal Blade Records
So how does this Dutch Death Metal band surpass the greatness of last years Passiondale? They drag the listener back into the trenches of World War One for a counter attack. You get a brief opener "Declaration of War" to set the war metal tone and then you're shoved head first into a fucking war zone. "Storm of Steel" is an unhinged assault worthy of the real thing. The combination of Henri Sattler's bark like vocals plus the riffs he shares with new guitarist Danny Tunker (formerly of PROSTITUTE DISFIGUREMENT) plus the pounding double bass drums of Michiel van der Plicht (also formerly of PROSTITUTE DISFIGUREMENT) are enough to crush your helmeted skull. Longtime bassist Henk Zinger is the only past member Sattler hasn't replaced. But you know that's what happens because this is fucking war (metal) dammit! This is fucking violent with cuts like "Fire Storm", "The Killing is Faceless" and "Chaos Reigns at Dawn". Yet with all of this brutality and carnage there's still plenty catchiness to the songs. Add to that there's the solos that zip around your head like hot lead in a firestorm. Yeah I would've said "hail of bullets" but that would've been too obvious.
All is not lost on the musical equivalent of battlefield violence since Sattler's lyrics covey the truth that World War One might have started off as a glorified idea put forth by politicians and generals hiding in the rear. In reality is was a meatgrinder for the soldiers in the trenches and arguably the most gruesome massacre in the history of human conflict. I've read my fair share of books on the subject and the ones from first person accounts were the best albeit the saddest. Under the Sign of the Iron Cross is the musical equivalent to a history lesson as many subjects are touched upon all with grizzly outcomes. To me that is what makes this a great release especially when you exceed the proscribed dosage of brutality and that's the concept. The eight tracks on here will drag you away from whatever joke of a reality you're in and thrust you into a hell only man could create, the hell of war. Passiondale was my choice for the top spot in 2009's Scumfeast Metal 666 Favorite Death Metal releases. I'm thinking a repeat is in order.