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This was my introduction to God Dethroned. In fact the only reason I decided to check out this album was because I was looking for war themed death metal. God Dethroned play blackened death metal so there is an excess (though not in a negative way) of ripping fast riffs and blast beats.
To add some atmosphere the album starts with what sounds like a German radio message as drums and guitars slowing fade in. Storm of Steel is probably the best track on the album though its hard to say because it is all so good here. The riffs while often pretty fast paced are very melodic for the style of metal being played. In fact that is one of the big things I enjoy about UtSotIC, there is so much melody fused with the brutality that the riffs and vocal/lyric lines stick with you long after you've finished listening.
Whats more the album is only 36 minutes long. Tracks like Storm of Steel, Fire Storm, The Killing Is Faceless, and The Red Baron all are memorable headbangers with excellent riffs and face melting lyrics about WWI combat. To add to the combat theme there are small sound bytes taken from Saving Private Ryan of some of the battle scenes. Fire Storm has the sounds of a tank being blown up with machine gun fire in the background, Chaos Reigns At Dawn takes from the scene where the Germans are firing a heavy weapon at allied troops tearing them to pieces. This all adds to the war theme giving an extra bump to the atmosphere.
But there are two really epic tracks here. The self titled song has an excellent clean sung portion in the middle while the drums blast. Soon its over and the song gets back to its massively heavy sound. On Fields of Death and Desolation comes in at 7 and a half minutes with a long intro that builds up to the heavier part. This song isn't so much about being "brutal" or heavy but once the intro is over it definitely displays that. Half way in the song goes back into riffing slowly with harmonized leads in almost the same way it began. There is some pretty nice soloing in this section as well.
Henri Sattler is an awesome vocalist with his gravely yet sharp growling. The drummer blasts like a heavy machine gun rat a tatting away. The bass drumming also sounds pretty heavy on a bass heavy sound system, I love listening to this album in my car. Under the Sign of the Iron Cross is a brutally awesome album that melds Bolt Hammeresque military/war themes and melody with speeds verging on black metal. This was easily one of my favorite albums of 2010 and you shouldn't miss out on the masterpiece created here.
Originally reviewed @ http://abaddonsmetalshop.blogspot.com/