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Sunday Old School: God Dethroned

Photo of God Dethroned

Band Photo: God Dethroned (?)

It's been noted several times throughout the history of Sunday Old School that the Netherlands has made its fair share of contributions to the world of heavy metal, from the Eindhoven Open Air festival to such groups as Pestilence, The Gathering and even the Van Halen brothers. The Netherlands seems to always have solid representatives at festivals, particularly in Europe and one which has done the country proud for over twenty five years would be one of their longest serving death metal outfits, God Dethroned.

God Dethroned was the brainchild of vocalist and guitarist Henri Sattler, who put the group together in 1991, along with Hans Leegstra on guitar and drummer Ard de Weerd. Leegstra wouldn't stay for long however and was quickly replaced by bass player Remco Hulst who performed on their "Christhunt" demo recorded the same year. The bassist's stay would also be short lived and soon his place was taken by Marco Arends, who joined in time for the band's signing with German label, Shark Records. Through the company, God Dethroned released their debut full length album, "The Christhunt," which was received very well by death metal fans, but with practically no promotion from Shark, who had refused the first album cover, the record sold very poorly and they were soon dropped, leading the group to disband.

Of course, the story doesn't end there. In 1996, Sattler decided to resurrect the band with a new lineup consisting of guitarist Jens van der Valk, drummer Roel Sanders and a bass player known as Beef. This new incarnation earned themselves a deal with Metal Blade and released their sophomore album, "The Grand Grimoire" a full five years after their debut, though North American listeners would have to wait a year later until 1998 to get their hands on it. Despite the overhaul of musicians and the lengthy gap between albums, "The Grand Grimoire" was also regarded very highly by fans and critics alike, with many feeling that God Dethroned were rapidly becoming one of Europe's best death metal bands.

The change in personnel had also marked a shift from death metal into blackened death metal, which helped them build a fan base in both sub-genres and led them to tour with such bands as Deicide, Immortal and Marduk while promoting their third album, "Bloody Blasphemy," which is regarded by many fans to be their best album to date. This was followed by a compilation album, "The Ancient Ones" before Roel Sanders decided to leave and was replaced by Puerto Rican Tony Laureano.

Laureano would make his only recording appearance for God Dethroned on the 2001 album, "Ravenous," before leaving in 2003 to join Nile. "Ravenous" was very well received, if not quite up to the levels the previous albums had been and after recruiting new drummer Ariën Van Weesenbeek, the band returned to the studio to record their fifth album, "Into the Lungs of Hell." The album was something of a departure for the group, seeing them move into a more melodic death metal area, which was praised for its quality but wasn't where Beef and Jens wanted to be at musically, which led to their departure after some time on the road.

In their place came Henk Zinger on bass and Belgian guitar player Isaac Delahaye, who introduced fans to their playing on the 2004 album, "The Lair of the White Worm." While not their most acclaimed record, many fans felt it wasn't quite up to their high standards and thus the band followed it very quickly with another album, "The Toxic Touch" in 2006, which was received much more positively.

"The Toxic Touch" was to be their last album to feature Ariën Van Weesenbeek however, after he left in 2008 to join symphonic metal group Epica. God Dethroned then made the decision to bring back Roel Sanders for their next album, "Passiondale," which also marked their first album recorded as a trio, owing to the departure of Delahaye before they entered the studio. The album was released in 2009 and was based around the infamous battle of Passchendaele, the second bloodiest encounter of World War I after The Somme. It also marked a return to their blackened death metal sound which they had adopted in 1996.

Following the release of the album, the band held auditions for a new second guitarist, eventually selecting Desensitised memeber Susan Gerl, though both she and Sanders would leave before a new album could be recorded. They were replaced by Danny Tunker and Michiel van der Plicht respectively and a new album entitled, "Under the Sign of the Iron Cross" was released in 2010, only a year after its predecessor. The following year, Sattler made the announcement that God Dethroned would be disbanding and the group would play their final set on the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise.

Fortunately for fans, God Dethroned didn't stay away for long. In 2015, Sattler decided to bring the band back once more, along with former drummer Michiel van der Plicht and the intention of a revolving door of musicians. Initially, it was only intended that they perform a handful of shows, beginning where they left off at the 70000 Tons of Metal festival. The shows continued to be booked however and Sattler came to the conclusion that there was still a hunger for more God Dethroned material and decided to return to the studio to record the band's first studio album in seven years, "The World Ablaze," which was released last week via Metal Blade. Where the new album sits among fans will be seen over time, but for now, God Dethroned can be assured that their consistent quality work and willingness to take risks has cemented their place as one of the premier Dutch metal bands.

God Dethroned - "Necromagnon"

God Dethroned - "Under A Silver Moon"

God Dethroned - "Under the Golden Wings of Death"

God Dethroned - "Villa Vampira"

God Dethroned - "Into the Lungs of Hell"

God Dethroned - "Lair of the White Worm"

God Dethroned - "Poison Fog"

God Dethroned - "Annihilation Crusade"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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