The Declaration of War
God Dethroned is another classic death metal band who is still going strong, now almost 20 years since their conception in 1991. Under the Sign of the Iron Cross is God Dethroned's ninth full-length studio album, and it is a really strong blackened death metal release. This is a concept album about World War I, highlighting the battle of Verdun, the Schlieffen Plan, and The Red Baron. Lyrically, this album is extremely intelligent and enjoyable, providing deep insights into the events of World War I. It seems that the band is also really excited about the lyrics and concept to Under the Sign of the Iron Cross as well. Musically, this is a really heavy album, but God Dethroned is never afraid to throw in a melodic section or even a beautiful symphonic part that you can find towards the end of the title track. As a whole, this is a very strong modern death metal album that I encourage fans of the genre to check out.
Under the Sign of the Iron Cross is an extreme death metal album with some black metal leanings as well. There's also a lot of technicality, similar to the likes of Meshuggah or Death. I hear a big Morbid Angel influence, especially in the Pete Sandoval-esque drumming. I have to applaud Michiel van der Plicht's superb work behind the drumkit - he's actually one of my favorite things about this album. Of the nine songs on this album, my favorites are "Storm of Steel", the title track, "The Red Baron", and "On Fields of Death & Desolation". The other songs are good, but seldom reach the excellent mark. All of the aforementioned tracks, however, are incredible. As a whole, the entire album is still enjoyable the whole way through. There is not a moment on this album that isn't headbang-worthy.
The production is terrific. Although this is polished, it's never even close one of those over-produced modern death metal releases. This is raw, and straight to the point. I love the sound on Under the Sign of the Iron Cross.
Under the Sign of the Iron Cros is a really good album by God Dethroned, and is surely among one of the better death metal releases this year. Although only about half of the album is truly superb, that half is surely top-notch stuff. The rest is still good, but isn't anything extremely special. Still, this is another great album by God Dethroned, well deserving of 3.5 stars. If you're a fan of the band's earlier releases, or just enjoy blackened death metal in general, this is worth an acquisition.
1. The Declaration of War
2. Storm of Steel
3. Fire Storm
4. The Killing Is Faceless
5. Under the Sign of the Iron Cross
6. Chaos Reigns at Dawn
7. Through Byzantine Hemispheres
8. The Red Baron
9. On Fields of Death & Desolation