"Under the Sign of the Iron Cross"

By Dr. Abner Mality

World War I has sure lit a fire under Henri Sattler's backside. The Dutchman is madder and angrier than ever juding by God Dethroned's second WWI-influenced album, "Under The Sign of the Iron Cross". Simply put, this is the fastest and heaviest G-D album ever unleashed...yes, that includes old material like "The Christhunt" and "The Grand Grimoire".

It's hard to believe that 2 albums back, on "The Toxic Touch", the band had slowed down and broadened their sound. Perhaps that was the influence of drumer Arien van Weesenbeek, who left to join Epica shortly thereafter. Since that time, God Dethroned turned up the heat with the brilliant "Passiondale", set in the hellish no-man's land of World War I. Now Henri and the boys crank up the fire to inferno levels with "Under The Sign of the Iron Cross". If the "Storm of Steel" doesn't fry you to a crisp, then "Fire Storm" will finish the job. The sound is pure God Dethroned, but very rough and raw, with a pounding aggression we've not heard before. These guys are on both a creative AND a destructive roll! Perhaps the addition of guitarist Danny Tunker from the depraved Prostitute Disfigurement has provided this injection of ferocity. Even Sattler's vocals sound gruffer and more deathly than before. It's as if the band is on a mission to prove their death metal credentials.

But, as always, the band never abandons melody. You can still find it here. Listen to "The Red Baron", the album's best track and one of God Dethroned's signature tunes. What a great combination of brute force and majestic melody. The eerie slog of "On Fields of Death and Desolation" also sports some mournful guitar frills.

"Under The Sign of the Iron Cross" is yet another high point from a band that has its own sound but is not afraid to tweak it. Here, they do it with unusual fury...I suspect God Dethroned will continue their mission of conquest for many years to come.