The World Ablaze
Released: 2017, Metal Blade
Reviewer: Mr. Metalguy (Guest Reviewer)
Ah, God Dethroned, somehow predestined to never be an “it” band but a “there” band. Existing since before the internet, God Dethroned struggled throughout the 90s to find their footing before releasing their own Trinity of albums in the early aughts, crowned with THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM. And then, just like that, the band switched gears and became an exercise in history with the criminally underrated PASCHENDALE and then they just sorta went… away… You know, a “there” band, the one who gets name cache but not much else. Well, as of 2017 God Dethroned are back in the trenches with a renewed vigor for THE WORLD ABLAZE.
Album number nine finds God Dethroned in a unique position, acutely aware of their beginnings as a straight ahead Death Metal band but also of their later pupal stages and eventual emergence as a Melodic Death Metal band and seeks to balance these facets of the sound on THE WORLD ABLAZE. Beginning with instrumental mood setter “A Call to Arms,” an effective guitar lead that sounds almost synthesized seeks to be the prologue of the overall arch of the album, complete with well placed voiceover snippets that are unclear enough to be unsettling, presumably about some sort of military strategizing. THE WORLD ABLAZE is poised to be another album about war, a topic that God Dethroned really has in their pocket and is representative of a sonic rebirth for the band. Keep that lead work in mind, it’s important.
Moving on, second track “Annihilation Crusade” is an absolute eager, with that ever sweet tone so beholden to 90s OSDM but not aping the originators (which would be bad considering God Dethroned fit that bill, too) and then, at about the halfway mark, a reimagining of the original theme is heard to carry the song through its paces, alternating between melody and blast beats while retaining its character and telling a story. The story is one of war. I don’t know if there is a historical subtext here, but as a listener, I am enthralled by the story not unlike listening to Sabaton recount The Art of War or some battle I was hitherto not aware of. The foregoing is not to say that God Dethroned has become a Power Metal band, just to draw the inference that lyrically, “The World Ablaze” is as enthralling lyrically as it is musically.
Riffs twist and swirl throughout the album like serpents in the grass simply waiting for an opportune moment to strike,stand out ferocity should be noted in the title track, where the main riff circles the drumming somehow becoming more pointed during the blasts and restrained and sweeping come verse time. Oh, and and there is a welcome semi breakdown to bang your head to. It is positively wondrous.
So, forever a “there” band, and likely destined to remain as such but that does not mean that God Dethroned are not deserving of time in your ear holes. Arguably, that was never the point of the exercise. Like the best greasy spoon diner, some things are meant to be appreciated and talked about in semi hushed tones, among friends, and relished due to their niche examples of form and of substance. With THE WORLD ABLAZE, God Dethroned have shown that they still have the chops some 20 odd years later to make the listener sit up and take notice and maybe dig a little bit deeper to see what everything is all about and for that we should thank them. We should also probably invest in their back catalogue.