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Havohej > Dethrone the Son of God > Reviews
Havohej - Dethrone the Son of God

Dethrone the Son of God - 85%

Spatupon, May 14th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2007, CD, Hells Headbangers Records (Reissue)

Havohej is probably one of the most polarizing black metal bands out there. In a scene filled with people like Varg Vikernes, Gaahl, you really have to be odd to stand apart from the rest of the horde. Paul Ledney has been part of many different bands, most notably Profanatica, Havohej and Incantation. The guy has a very unique way of expressing his ideas. Apart from his musical ideas, which are also unorthodox themselves, the lyrics and ideological aspects of Havohej are worth exploring in order to fully understand both the musical and philosophical goals of this full-length.

Shortly after he left Profanatica, Ledney, in league with other artists, created "Havohej". Their debut album, the subject of this review, was released in 1993. Right around this time, the Norwegian black metal scene was generating a lot of hype in the underground scene. However, rather than applying the musical motifs associated with these bands, Ledney adopts a more chaotic and death-metal inspired riffs and drum-patterns. The music on here is not as reliant on the melody and the cosmic atmosphere which form an important part of Norway's black metal identity. The riffs are very simplistic and repetitive. The riffs do not sound melodic at all, and most of them are succinct and do not contain more than 5 different notes played via tremolo picking. The pacing throughout the album is very well balanced. Although there are a lot of fast parts, a lot of songs also contain some pretty doom-y and brooding riffs. The drum patterns played during these subdued parts are very captivating, especially the sound of the ride cymbal, which becomes almost hypnotic if you pay really close attention to it.

Paul Ledneys' performance on this debut album is impeccable. His screams are not that high-pitched and contain a very evil aura. This vocal style doesn't change too much throughout the entire duration of the album but since the vocals are performed extremely well and sound authentic, their presence never becomes a nuisance throughout the listening experience. One thing which might put off a lot of people from this release, is the extremely strong presence of the drums on most sections. Although I already outlined the fact that the album contains a lot of different drumming-patterns, I failed to outline the fact that during the fast parts, the blast-beats all sound the same. For me, that is not an issue, because the repeat value of such sections is immense.

The dominant theme on this album is anti-christianity and general vitriol towards "Jesus" the "son of God". This aspect dominates the nature of the last song on this album. The last track basically serves as a sort of closing sermon for Ledney to spew out his religious hatred towards the catholic doctrine. There is no music, just Ledney shrieking his lungs out cursing the very name of Christ and the holy trinity. The production on this album is very decent, and the music on here serves as a strong predecessor for latter Havohej albums that all capture the dirty and sludgy atmosphere evoked so masterfully on this debut full-length

Eternally vomiting on God's child! - 85%

JJM1, July 19th, 2013

Oh, Paul Ledney; masturbator of bibles, nude forest meanderer, cross dressing nun and by far one of the most hate filled musicians out there, so much so that it didn't even take long before he started looking just ridiculous. But, I get it, he hates Christ and he fucking hates him a lot. So I understand where his minds at.

Following the termination of his previous band, Profanatica, Ledney (joined by guitarist John Gelso) formed Havohej (That's Jehovah backwards) and released 'Dethrone the Son of God' in '93. Broke into two chapters titled, 'Christ Dethroned' & 'Burning Paradise,' the initial chapter being a re-recording of Profanatica's split with Masacre, while some of the latter half is newer material, though possibly still just unused Profanatica songs. All in all I wouldn't hesitate to call it the first real Profanatica album and I'm sure I'm not alone with that thought.

With that in mind the music both old and new absolutely reflects Profanatica's approach of mixing raw black metal with death metal technique, as well as the occasional dirge into doomier territories. Clocking in at twenty eight minutes and thirteen songs long, the album has the initial effect of just wizzing by without much of an impression, but when you start to listen closer after future listens it really sets in. Ledney is first and foremost a drummer and although they are fairly minimal beats they are at least accented through some interesting fills, cymbal work and relentless blasting, while his vocals are powerful and violent raspy outbursts against Christianity that make the album all the more enjoyable. The bass guitar is also interestingly present throughout the recording and while it doesn't have much of its own brilliance its still interesting to hear it in this sort of music.

I'm sure neither guitarist is especially talented or technical at their instrument, but many of the songs really do have some catchy riffs, many of which have such a sinister vibe to them that they become all the more memorable in their twisted repetitive trance like style that it allows me to always come back for future helpings. Even the remorseless grindier tracks are interesting, at least when listened together with the rest of the album, though they lose something if you happen to hear them on a more random basis.

'Dethrone the Son of God' is a hard album to recommend due to its simplistic nature and overly anti-Christian sentiments, which may bother even the most rampant of black metal fans. Nevertheless, I'm sure it has its historic value to the genre and similarly its influence has been heard elsewhere for sure. I'll admit it didn't even stick out much for me initially, but various listens down the road revealed more to me and I can say without little regret that I enjoy this beast quite a bit. Its just not an everyday sort of album and surely one that was intended to be enjoyed under spells of immense anger.

Originally written for Lunar Hypnosis:

Sodomize the holy asshole - 90%

hippie_holocaust, December 11th, 2011

Havohej is one of very few American black metal bands that seem to embody the evil and hatred of the Norwegian movement of the early nineties. Dethrone the Son Of god is just as gritty and nihilistic as any of its 1993 contemporaries, not to mention equally blasphemous. Paul Ledney truly fucking hates god, jesus, and anything else that has to do with superstition known as christianity. “Spilling Holy Blood” charges into a full-on thrash assault, and as soon as you hear Ledney’s voice for the first time at 0:42, you can feel the pure black hate.

Listening to this album was the first time I heard anyone say “I vomit on god’s child,” during the malevolent magnificence of the song “Weeping in Heaven,” and from thence I was compelled to pay close attention to the sinister artistic expression found herein. The lyrics here are few but concise and straight to the vitriolic point. “Lungs of Hell, burn the heavens…” He spews these words with such absolute hatred that you can actually picture this dude puking all over little baby jesus. The production here is raw, but the performance of each instrument is represented clearly. The drums and vocals are at the forefront, as the guitar riffs are rather minimalist but more than efficient. This becomes apparent with the dismal doom of “I Arose Pt. II.” This is song is cold, bleak, grim, creating the evilest of atmospheres to be found on the album. It’s a simple and unchanging chord progression throughout, but the way he colors the drums, switching from sloshy open hats to the bell of the ride creates menacing undertones, a definite highlight of Dethrone the Son Of god.

“Once Removed Savior” rips into a dirgy tremolo picked riff, and again, Ledney’s vocals are just fucking morbid, so unabashedly hateful. This blasphemy is a tad more tasteful, or perhaps poetic, than that of a Deicide as the vocals are mixed as an equal part of the repugnant whole, and the bare-bones black metal ethos makes it more believable. The fast part-slow part song structures reveal similarities to Incantation’s compositional methods, but this metal is black. Overall the music ranges from raging thrash torrents to the desolate tranquility of doom. I wonder if the so called “king of black metal,” Euronymous, ever had the pleasure of hearing this American so proficiently play his genre. While it would be unfair to compare Havohej to the notoriety of acts such as Mayhem or Burzum, I would hope that this would have met the Norwegians’ approval, as it seems to appropriately shun the gear- and production-obsessed tendencies of the death metal genre.

Essentially a masterpiece of art no one wanted - 95%

Noktorn, April 22nd, 2009

I've found that the only time to properly listen to this album is in a state of extreme anger; when I'm in a relatively good mood, this seems almost entirely incoherent and meaningless, but in the right attitude of all-encompassing rage, it makes perfect sense. It's not that anything mechanically changes in the album's workings, but it seems that listening to 'Dethrone The Son Of God' is best when your feelings are similar to those of the album itself: all-encompassing fury towards everything around you teetering dangerously on the edge of insanity. It's only then that you can approach this release with the necessary patterns of though to understand it.

Havohej, along with Von, is America's Burzum in a way: they've influenced tons of other, later black metal bands and they've respectively set a groundwork for unique styles of black metal, but despite this very few attempted clone bands actually end up sounding very much like the originals at all. This is likely because, despite the relative minimalism and simplicity of composition that defines the work of all the mentioned bands, their willingness to step outside the predefined notions of what black metal should be is what defined them and makes them unique in comparison to those who are crafting black metal 'on purpose'. Much in the same way that Skepticism and Thergothon set the template for funeral doom and were immediately ignored in favor of slowed-down My Dying Bride, these bands still stand out as relative islands of uniqueness in a sea where all the water looks like all the other water but rarely the sand itself.

Havohej essentially took the Von style of ultra-raw, minimalist black metal and added a heap of death metal technique to it; while this is a black metal album in aesthetic and overall delivery and construction, a huge amount of influence from death metal can be found in the strictly atonal tremolo riffing. Most of the riffs on 'Dethrone The Son Of God' would be much more comfortable on a Deicide release than just about anything coming out of Europe at this time, and the almost confrontational lack of catchiness of logical melody is one of the central facets of what makes this such an unusual album. Apart from a handful of forays into slow, doomy territory, the tremolo riffs are composed in a haphazard, seemingly random fashion, with collections of notes that don't particularly seem to join with each other in any way. There's a couple possibilities to this: either they are completely random, just there to provide a layer of amelodic noise ala Mortician, or, more likely, they're deliberately composed in such a fashion as to reject all 'normal' music.

Drums play a fairly minimal set of beats but are spiced up through rhythmic variation via fills and accents; Ledney is clearly an actual drummer rather than a guitarist who happens to play drums. The very forward drum production draws attention to the unusually high level of skill found in the rhythmic department for such a generally raw album, and although the timing isn't flawless, the musicality of the drumming is excellent and helps keep the listener's attention where they might have strayed with a less dynamic performance. The vocals, which many draw a lot of attention to, are likely the least outstanding part of the whole album; they're extremely dry and painful-sounding and with adequate power, but don't come off with quite the level of existential weirdness that the rest of the album does.

The production on this isn't great; it's mostly the guitar tone which is the problem, sounding rubbery and somewhat weak in the higher registers where the riffs tend to predominantly dwell, and the drums are probably louder than they should be, but none of this really takes away from the essential craziness of the release. The short, violent, almost grindlike songs aren't particularly remarkable on their own, but when assembled into the fairly nonstop, inorganic package of this album, they gain a new sort of significance; each one is really a chapter of an anti-Christian whole rather than anything relevant on its own. Though apparently a number of these tracks are rerecorded or unreleased Profanatica tracks, that band never seemed quite as inhuman as Havohej does, and though stylistic similarities exist, it would still be safe to say there's nothing in the black metal scene that greatly resembles this release.

None of this answers the essential question, though, of whether it's a worthwhile listen, probably because that's a much more complicated prospect. It's not particularly enjoyable music; it keeps your attention more through morbid fascination rather than through a desire to hear more riffs, and the utterly inverted nature of this music seems to inspire more tension than satisfaction. That being said, it's remarkable in its own right and probably a very good example of what black metal's spirit and overall attitude 'should' be than most other things. Certainly it's of historical importance, and I do listen to it a fair bit, but it's difficult for me to recommend this as I would another album. I suppose you should pick this up without the expectation of actually liking it, and you may never like it at all. But though you may not like it, you'll certainly, after a lot of time listening to black metal, have a certain appreciation for it which seems to go well beyond what most albums are able to achieve.

No dull moments in tight little package - 85%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, April 16th, 2008

It's surprising that this is the only full-length album released so far by USBM act Havohej, all its subsequent recordings released since being EPs. And this is not a long album either - it's just under 28 minutes in length in spite of there being 13 songs which turn out to be little more than repeating riff 'n' rhythm loops overlaid by roaring vocals filled with hate and anger against Christian religion. The music is a mix of raw straightforward black / death metal with some slower almost doomy passages of music in parts and it has crossed my mind while listening to this album that it's a weeny bit like "Scum"-period Napalm Death, only the songs are more structured (though in a basic way that allows them to flow) and are not so all over the place.

The songs do tend to bleed into one another and can all be considered as episodes of one opus dedicated to defaming Christianity's most essential symbols and elements. C'mon, 28 minutes in total, you can listen to this entire album without needing a coffee break or a toilet break! One early stand-out track is "I Arose" which after a brief chaotic flail-around settles into a long circular routine of funereal droning riffs. Not long after that is the sinister "Once Removed Savior" with evil-toned tremolo guitar lines and a slow doom-like section in the middle of the song. I should add that all the songs are divided into two sections "Christ Dethroned" (5 songs) and "Burning Paradise" (8 songs) which indicate a definite narrative of death and resurrection and the havoc these cause. There's not much of a musical progression although a number of songs (tracks 6 to 10) in the "Burning Paradise" section have a catchy riffing loop or two or a good bassy groove. The track "Fucking of Sacred Assholes" is a short stand-out with a kind of whirling dervish riff that shows an experimental side to Havohej.

The title track is a spoken word piece that sums up everything that has gone before and concludes that belief in Christianity's central symbols and ideas is entirely worthless.

Not a dull moment is to be found in this uncompromising and punchy little package which for its size packs in quite a lot of good music which could have been developed and extended further, but which would have deflected listeners' attention away from the album's theme.

I vomit on God's child! - 80%

Cravinov13, July 3rd, 2007

Havohej is an experimental black metal band from New York City. With ex-Incantation drummer/ vocalist and Profanatica member Paul Ledney behind this twisted solo project, Havohej brings the “WHAT THE F**K” to USBM. This music is dirty, raw, and sick right down to the core. Just what black metal should be? More or less. With his first full length, Dethrone The Son Of God, Paul Ledney takes several elements of grindcore and ambient music and mixes it with raw Satanic black metal. Clocking at only 26 and a half minutes, every song bursts with sheer intensity. The typical black metal guitars, raw drum rhythms and blast beats, and plenty of Christian hating vocals jumping in at the most awkward and yet still appropriate times.

Each song is very straightforward, most of them being quick blasts of brutal black metal that usually consists of distorted guitar riffs, low bass booms, and speedy drum lines. There are a few standouts worth mentioning. Weeping In Heaven stands out as one of the more dynamic songs on the album. The guitars and bass work well together to create a doom-esque atmosphere. This is until the vocals come in with Paul Ledney stating “I vomit on God’s child!”. Cliché? Very, but it doesn’t ruin the fact that the song has a solid structure for a short, a**-kicking track.

The major downside to this album is a lot of the tracks do not standout as unique.

Heavenly Father is another exception to that though, with slower drums beats and a heavier, more distorted guitar sound. The song is much more progressive in style then any of the previous tracks, and builds a lot around the drums and guitars. It is also the longest song on the album, being only 3 minutes and 39 seconds long. The progression is still solid and very impressive, making the song standout from the rest of the songs even though it is technically a filler instrumental. Raping Of Angels is similar in progressive style but actually uses vocals and moments of chaotic, mindless brutality. The atmospheric build of both songs though are amazing.

The album titled track, Dethrone The Son Of God, is the last standout track on the album, but not for it’s amazing progressive style or even quality musicianship. The whole 2 minutes of the song is basically Paul Ledney screaming in a run on sentence the following obscene, offensive, and hilarious lyrics that really sum up the entire album. Overall it is a great release worthy of any black metal collection.

This is BLACK! - 100%

ArtOfWar, May 14th, 2004

Havohej is one of those bands that the word "cult" was just invented for. It's impossible to imagine them pulling a Cradle of Filth and becoming mega-stars. This album is NOT for everyone. This is what Black Metal should be, dirty, raw, blasphemous and just plain sick! Paul Ledney's vocals are so raw and hateful, you can actually picture christianity falling as you listen to him scream out "I vomit on god's child!!" This album features mostly re-recorded material from Paul's previous band, Profanatica, as well as some new material only released here. The songs are short, violent bursts of Black Metal that just explode out of your speakers. There are a lot of people that don't "get" what Havohej is all about, and that's sad because it's completely obvious. It may sound cliche but, you can't call yourself a Black Metal fan unless you have this one in your collection.

The original version of this one is long, long out of print. In fact, Candlelight stopped acknowledging it's existence years ago, and it is never mentioned by them in their catalog, website, etc. Thankfully, the good folks at Supreme Art Productions saw fit to re-release this beast to the Black Metal public. A few notes between the 2 versions, the re-released version features different cover art (a little darker in color then the original), and a different cd booklet layout. The original also featured 2 tracks that were titled "Drums" and "More," at numbers 13 and 14 respectively. Both were only around 45 seconds long and do not (to the best of my knowledge anyway) appear on the re-release. I have seen the Candlelight version pop up in auctions 2 or 3 times lately. However, save yourself some money and lots of headache with trying to track that one down and get the re-release from Supreme Art. You'll be thanking Satan that you did ;)