God Dethroned - Illuminati
Metal Blade
Melodic Death Metal
9 songs (36:37)
Release year: 2020
God Dethroned, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Goat

Dutch death-dealers God Dethroned are back with their latest full-length - impressively, number eleven - switching away from the lyrical explorations of World War I on the previous trio of albums. It's interesting to look back across their career and realise how solid and consistent the band have been; certain albums may be more or less interesting than others, but Henri Sattler and co have kept quality levels high with none of the out-there failed experiments of peers such as Hypocrisy's Catch 22. So the first listen to Illuminati has high expectations from the outset, and regular listeners will not need to be told that those expectations are met and even surpassed as yet another solid-to-excellent album from the band meets their ears!

A slightly more melodic tone is notable from the beginning tones of the title track that opens the album, keyboards providing an extra atmospheric boost to the backing rumble without detracting from the band's natural blackened savagery that soon rears its head. The likes of Broken Halo are torrential batterers aided by a nicely technical performance from drummer Michiel van der Plicht and widdly soloing courtesy of new guitarist Dave Meester. And just because the war topic is gone doesn't mean that God Dethroned have abandoned their grandiosity; Books of Lies just one epic example with those initial melodic guitar riffs setting the scene well for a groovy head-nodder with another killer solo towards the end.

Highlights are everywhere; the band have a good grasp of dynamics and keep the album tracklisting interesting. Spirit of Beelzebub's speedy brutality contrasts well with one of those rare clean-sung choruses that God Dethroned like to throw in every now and then, working extra effectively thanks to being used so sparingly. This is not a band overly fond of experimentation but when they indulge, it works, making the slower Gabriel with those oddly melodic riffs and crushingly intense grooves (like later Amon Amarth but, y'know, interesting) stand out comparatively to the almost Deicidesque bluntness of Satan Spawn. Eye of Horus is another experiment that works, sounding like a more death-metal oriented Rotting Christ with those almost ritualistic bellowed group vocals between bursts of melodeath energy.

The sole nit to be picked is forty-second synth interlude Dominus Muscarum, nothing terrible but utterly forgettable and not particularly doing its job as an intro to six-minute finale Blood Moon Eclipse. Thankfully it is so good as an album closer that all is forgiven, amongst the heaviest moments on the album as it gallops in brutally with some fun vocal switch-ups (deeper growls alongside Sattler's usual snarls, possibly a guest spot) and more of a darker, ominous feel with those atmospheric riffs and crawling, Watain-y nastiness. Another more than solid release from God Dethroned, with some truly difficult decisions to be made as to which killing songs slaughtered harder than other murderous tunes, a fun sign of quality for a reviewer as he ponders. The best cover-art the band have had in a while, too!

Killing Songs :
Broken Halo, Spirit of Beelzebub, Eye of Horus, Blood Moon Eclipse
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by God Dethroned that we have reviewed:
God Dethroned - Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross reviewed by Khelek and quoted 82 / 100
God Dethroned - Passiondale (Passchendaele) reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
God Dethroned - The Toxic Touch reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
God Dethroned - The Lair Of The White Worm reviewed by Danny and quoted 80 / 100
God Dethroned - Into The Lungs Of Hell reviewed by Danny and quoted 95 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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