Originally written by Gregory Bradley.
For some reason, everyone seemed to think that God Dethroned “sold out” or “went Gothenburg” with their last album, Into The Lungs of Hell. Having reviewed the album myself for this very site, I believe this accusation was completely untrue. They continued on their trend of pure death metal, keeping a similar sound but still improving on their original vision. After hearing this new album, The Lair of the White Worm, I can now say that this one makes the others seem almost juvenile, however it probably does prove the nay-sayers right: they have become more melodic.
Before you completely write off God Dethroned as being a melo-death band, they still retain their pure death influences. However, they add excellent, EXCELLENT solos to their formula. The solos and instrumentation are so good in fact, it makes the rest of their material seem simplistic; you actually end up waiting for a solo. The band has the tendency to repeat the same riff over and over with an equally repetitive vocal hook, which some may chalk up to being their formula, and it did work on their previous albums. Songs like “Last Zip of Spit” and “Loyal to the Crown of God Dethroned” are good examples of them sticking to what they know instead of exploring. However, songs like “Rusty Nails” and “Nihilism” are absolutely spectacular. When they enter a section of the song where the guitars take over, you just want it to keep going and going. Then the vocalist comes back in (I am a huge fan of Henri Sattler’s vocal style), and you’re pummeled with brutality.
The Lair of the White Worm is home to God Dethroned’s most complex riffing to-date. In “The Grey Race” for example the riff is just a long winding beast. Instead of a simple one-bar riff repeated over and over, it’s a two or more bar thing with small change-ups every now and then. While not the most complex riffing EVER, it is a new step for a minimalistic band like God Dethroned.
I only have two gripes, first is the fact that the lyrics are, well, crap. I think they might need a thesaurus or a better Dutch-to-English translator, because they simply aren’t poetic in any way. Some might argue that it fits their straight-to-the-point style though, and it’s not overly distracting. I just hear “I’ll be hunting you eternally you fucking slut” and I can’t help but be taken aback. My second gripe is the fact that you can pretty much skip to any section of the CD and aside from the solos or a quick change-up, you’ll hear the exact same drum beat. The drums are done well, but there’s pretty much no difference between any of the drumming on any track. There’s something to be said for consistency, but I like to hear a little variation in the beat of a song.
The Lair of the White Worm is, as a whole, a fantastic album. It has everything a God Dethroned fan is looking for: brutality, rage, and killer gruff vocals. They even add a few new elements to the mix, namely the extremely well done solos and instrumental bits (no full-on instrumental tracks, sadly). Highly recommended to any fan of any type of death metal, there’s something for everyone here.