God Dethroned
Ravenous

Holland’s God Dethroned exponentially improves on their brand of catchy death metal with each album. With the release of Ravenous, there’s no questioning the band’s commitment to creating high-quality extremity. Ravenous comes at a time when death metal is experiencing a resurgence and bands in the genre are pushing the genre’s limited boundaries. It also comes at a time when proliferation leads to saturation, a factor that single-handedly put death metal back in the grave from which it crawled out of in the late 1980s. While God Dethroned may or may not have what it takes to compete with Nile’s lyrical and musical magic or Morbid Angel’s steadfast brilliance, the Belien-based quartet (rounded out by session skinbasher Tony Lareno) is proving that death metal can, in fact, be a powerful and original musical form when performed with conviction and dedication. Ravenous marks the first time God Dethroned have been without a solid drummer, and, truthfully, the band’s material has never sounded this strong, delivering devastating blow after blow on the album’s 11 tracks. Ultimately, it’s not really up to the drummer whether the material written by the songwriters stands on its own, but Lareno’s rock-solid skills plants God Dethroned very near the edge of greatness displayed by the aforementioned bands. To further that statement, songwriters Henri and Jens aren’t typical death metal songsmiths – both of them know how to create and deliver material that has a certain musical depth and variation. The pairing of one guitarist with incredible melodic sense (Jens) and one with terrifying riff control (Henri) is a combination that speaks volumes when the two work together seamlessly. Tracks like “Swallow the Spikes,” “Villa Vampiria,” “The Iconoclast Deathride” and the amazing title track are exemplified by slickly performed riffs, emotional melodic work, off-the-wall lead-ins and a razor-sharp ability to segue, all of which recall the early edge of bands like Destruction, Kreator and even Pestilence. Of course, God Dethroned is by no means a band lifting riffs from metal’s illustrious past. Rather, they recognize that in death metal’s extremity proper songwriting is often replaced by mismatched riffs and a profound inability to infuse melody. “The Crown for the Morbid” and “The Poison Apple (Eve and Serpentio in the garden of Eden)” are two more examples of this understanding. These tracks are offset from the rest of Ravenous by their extremely expeditious tempos, but God Dethroned never take such conventions to realms of metal mediocrity; a place that unfortunately houses 90 percent of our beloved genre. In the pummel of guitar, bass, vocals and drums, an underlying sense of musicality shines through the bloody framework of Ravenous, showing the band knowingly places swatches of subtle atmosphere and emotional lead playing throughout. Such atmospheric twists can be heard on “The Iconoclast Deathride” and the mid-tempo Macabre End cover “Consumed By Darkness.” Not only does these tracks give the album a melancholic pit stop, but the latter also shows that the guys behind the leather and spikes know a damn fine (and obscure) Swedish death metal tune when they hear it. God Dethroned’s version of Death’s “Evil Dead” is further proof that while writing the album, the band mined the early days of the genre for inspiration. And, “Evil Dead,” is surely a motivational cover. From the ferocious vocal delivery to the blastbeat chorus, it’s difficult to recall a cover with this much vitality and conviction; “Evil Dead” is stark reminder that however primitive death metal started out to be, there’s no denying the craftsmanship abound in the progenitors’ early catalog. Ravenous, in the end, isn’t an album that will change death metal, but it’s certainly one that is making it better for the thousands of fiends who wield the flag every day. Hail!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Dick
April 3rd, 2001

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