God Dethroned
The Lair of the White Worm

To me, God Dethroned have never quite recaptured the glorious mix of brutality and melody displayed on 1997’s The Grand Grimoire, with a string of mediocre releases following that great album up. Last years Into the Lungs of Hell came the closest of all the subsequent releases, but still didn’t touch the sophomore album in terms of melodic savagery.

Well I’m pleased to say that The Lair of the White Worm is their best album since The Grand Grimoire. God Dethroned’s revamped line-up, especially new led guitarist Isaac Delahaye, who replaces Jens van der Valk admirably, brings a far more epic, sweeping delivery to the solos. Long time bassist Beef is replaced by Henk Zinger, but truth fully the bass plays a minimal backdrop in God Dethroned’s sound, so the change isn’t as readily noticeable as the guitarist change. The improvement is immediately heard of the opening track “Nihilism” which is an early contender for one of my favorite songs of 2005 with its utterly breathtaking solo work and stunning blackened climactic blast beat. Just phew. “Arch Enemy Spain” continues the trend with austere opening solo that breaks into a sturdy main riff and Delahaye spurts off some more deftly crafted, soaring solos.

However, all isn’t perfect through and through, despite the albums blistering opening. “Sigma Enigma” highlights Henri Sattler’s rather weak lyric writing, with a Mob/gang related theme that just doesn’t fit in with the overall vibe of the album, but Delahaye manages to keep the track’s methodical but unenergetic pacing interesting with his solo work. Delahaye pretty much shreds the whole album, giving the stout title track a sharp lead and pretty much gracing each of the tracks with some stellar fret work. “Rusty Nails” imbues the same kind of epic atmosphere as “Under A Silver Moon” did on Grimoire, but again isn’t exactly eloquent lyrically. Stern, straight up thrasher “Loyal to the Crown of God Dethroned” shows the more thrash based side of the last three albums, but has some enjoyable chunky pacing. The awkwardly titled “The Last Zip of Spit”, again lurches and gallops with a tight At The Gates/Darkane gait, but seems to lack the epic polish of the tracks that allow Delahaye to flourish with more flair. The Berno Studio production is expectedly crunchy, adding to God Dethroned now perfected sound.

If anything, God Dethroned are the Bolt Thrower or Dismember of the Netherlands, you pretty much know what your are getting, and no sweeping progression or evolution is going to creep into their albums; you’re pretty much going to get tracks like “The Grey Race” and “Salt in Your Wounds”, until they call it a day. Despite thier improvemnt on this album, God Dethroned still seem just a hairs breadth away from metal’s elite, sticking solidly and deservedly in the second tier of quality but rather unadventurous bands. Still, this most recent effort is marked improvement and just a solid piece of enjoyable metal than spans enough genres to make it appeal to most fans.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 3rd, 2005

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