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Passendale, Belgium or in Dutch, Passchendaele , is where one of the bloodiest battles in World War I occurred, in its end the town was leveled to rubbles. The battle of Passendale took place in 1917; it consisted of various operations made by the Entente alliance against the imperial Germany. In 2009, 82 years after this famous battle, the Black / Death Metal band , God Dethroned, have unleashed their new album , Passiondale, a nickname for the name of the town , to teach you , members of the world wide Metal communion, a little history lesson on what happened in Passendale in the first of the two bloodiest world wars.
Formed in 1990 by their leader , Henri Sattler , God Dethroned made their way into the Metal world with albums like The Christhunt , Bloody Blasphemy and Ravenous by playing an attacking form of Black and Death Metal blend , while keeping the Black Metal elements in their music more dominant. Passiondale, released through Metal Blade Records, is well suited to their demonstrations of skill and it turned out to be a well constructed piece of musicianship.
Passiondale’s lyrics were arranged after full-scale research regarding this dreadful event. With the aid of the band’s ex-guitarist on the research part, Henri built a well written concept album that offers no political opinion what so ever regarding the war. The band stated that they are not stepping on or placing blame on any country that participated in the fighting, as they have no political agenda here.
As for the band’s music on Passiondale, you'll hear strong influences of Old School Death and Black Metal melded with modernized components like their guitar tuning, additional keyboards for the atmosphere and a strong drama effect, soft clean vocals sections – although they are minimal.
Since the band was one of the first to mix Black and Death Metal, you can hear that they have not lost their touch. They were able to make energetic, armed with hellish grinds of total velocity , that feels like machine gun fire, alongside mid tempo heavy riffs of marching armies , and dark music full of Black Metal trills to preserve the essence of the band’s intentions.
In Passiondale there are also various add-ons of melodies and emotional solos that balances the story from being too brutal. The album has more moments that are brutal because war is brutal so the music accordingly flows. But the band’s usage of instruments to enforce this sort of drama, like in the track “Poison Cloud” - where you can actually feel and hear a small story of an Entente soldier about the gas wars, his suffocation and even his own death, is absolutely remarkable and is not common in this sub-genre.
Passiondale has more than a handful of great moments and story. What unrolls before you is fierce and violent, yet serving as an eye opener for past events that maybe some of you didn’t know actually occurred. So you don’t have to look through your history books to listen to highlights like: “Under A Darkening Sky” which is the beginning of the massacre fest with massive artillery bursts and machine guns by the angry and charging music of total hell – “Now It’s Time To Settle The Score”. “Poison Cloud” is a well written story that deals with the influences of Mustard. “Passiondale” , the destruction of this small town after a great battle – and excellent and even catchy track, “No Escape From Passiondale”. “No Survivors”, feels like a Bolt Thrower song , like some of the others, like in many bloody battles , there isn’t too much left to salvage – this track is an awesome mayhemic track with catchiness.
“Fallen Empires” , represents the end of the war and fall of Germany, but not only Germany fell while prisoners of war remained on both sides. Here you can sense that this war is only “To Be Continued” to the next world war, and indeed that even happened and the killings returned. God Dethroned won’t let you forget that .”Artifacts Of The Great War” is what remained in field. This track, with its enchanting music and leading solo, helps you gaze upon the horrific horizons of your imagination and behind the ruins and the black smoke.
God Dethroned really came through with a great release that sets them as a mature band in a sub-genre meld. This concept is ,without a doubt, one of their future classics in their long career.