Ramon : Ladies and gentlemen: the thrashiest motherfucking blackened death metal band ever there was is back! Stunned once more by its superior ferocity and power, cloaked in the clearest sound this violence allows, I am listening with my mouth wide open. Again and again. Melody, drama and violence captured in ten breathtaking pieces. The unique and unmistakable voice of Henri Sattler speaks of war this time and nothing but war. The strike for Passchendaele, a hell of mud and fire in The First World War, was the sole inspiration for this conceptual album by God Dethroned. Ironically enough, main man Henri Sattler got his inspiration in the surroundings of the house of former guitarist Isaac Delahaye near Ypres, who defected to Epica before the writing process of this youngest masterpiece commenced. But as I understand, there's not much friction causes by that decision. Drummer Ariën van Weesenbeek joined him and was replaced by Roel Sanders, who once left God Dethroned for Inhume, but now has returned. Despite the fact that the guitar duties are now handed out to Susan Gerl (Murder Syndicate), Sattler autocratically penned the lyrics and music down, which contributes to the image of God Dethroned being a world kept very closed to the outside world. But with so many great music produced in the last twelve years (I wasn't particularly keen on 'The Christhunt'), do as you're pleased, I would say.
The name "Passiondale” arose due to the fact that English-speaking soldiers had a hard time pronouncing the French name "Passchendaele”. Many may tend to forget the utter harshness of the First World War, due the atrocities and cleansings of the Second World War, but the First World War claimed the lives of no less than fifteen, with numbers even up to seventeen million casualties. Both soldiers and civilians. That means over five million idiots in a car hitting a crowd on queens day, in the Netherlands. This war, at that time dubbed "the Great War” was the first war that saw the use of machine guns, tanks, aeroplanes, poison gas ('Poison Fog' on this album) and barbwire. War strategists were not ready for these new means and still fought out the battles in a frontline, which caused a stalemate. This is referred to in the song 'Drowning In Mud'. This made soldiers decide to dig gigantic trenches, from which the war proceeded, without any form of advance. With every soldier that died, new conscripts were called in as fresh machine gun feeding. Little has changed, on that part, though there is no actual obligation any more. Blood still is glory's fuel. But with every small victory, little was achieved and therefore war just kept on going. The little parts of "no-man's land” (isn't actually all land no-man's land?) were conquered, but had to be defended in return. Due to different allies there were at that time, declarations of war stretched into colonies as well, which made this the first war that was fought on almost every continent. This kept on going for over four years and the final result casted countries like Germany in a position that provoked them into the Second World War.
God Dethroned has used this topic to underline their own harshness and with it they completely reveal their empathic side, which has always had some space in songs with historic content. They at times were sung from out of the first perspective, which proves involvement. They have done so on some occasions this time and the demonic side of Sattler is placed on a side track for this time. I am sure it will be back. As mentioned before, drummer Roel found his way back to the crack commando of god Dethroned, after his adventure with Inhume. Apart from that, keyboard player Danny Servaes, who provided atmospheric touches to the albums 'The Grand Grimoire' and 'Bloody Blasphemy” (by heart, I might be forgetting something) is back as a studio musician to contribute to some of the songs. His contribution is immaculate, not too present, nor just as a background instrument. Producer Jörg Uken plays keys on the song 'Cross Of Sacrifice'. Another thing that is learned since 'Bloody Blasphemy', is that there are people that can sing and people that cannot. Therefore Marco van de Velde (The Wounded) was asked to add clean vocals to the songs 'Poison Fog' and 'No Survivors'.
God Dethroned now consist of the only original and founding member Henri "The Serpent King” Sattler on guitar and vocals, drummer Roel Sanders, lead and rhythm guitar player Susan Gerl and bass player Henke Zinger. This line-up already saw an impressive part of the world, which would have been less likely with their other ventures. They recorded the entire album at Soundlodge again and the result is beyond amazing. I am not reluctant to say this is my favorite album of 2009 so far, together with the new Kreator. Undoubtedly, fans will chant along with songs like 'Poison Fog', 'Passiondale', 'Behind Enemy Lines' and 'No Man's Land'. Actual war propaganda is used in some of the songs, which makes it even more interesting. The artwork is unbelievably impressive. A crowned eagle with a cemetery feature on its wings and blood stains on the back of it. It "flies” above a field which could be the scenery of war and it appears to be worthless wasteland. The logo, as usual, is altered slightly to fit in to the topic. You could by the way consider purchasing the album on vinyl, but the number of copies is limited. The number of copies has become traditional, six hundred and sixty six. The innovative approach of guitar player Isaac Delahaye must be missed, but the identity is absolutely not damaged at all. Check out their latest "serenade in lead”. Never forget the harshness of Passiondale.