Saturday, July 18, 2009
Passiondale is the ninth CD released by God Dethroned, the long-lasting heavy metal outfit from Holland, originally formed in 1991. Band leader and founder Henri Sattler takes on the vocal and guitar duties, with accompanying musicians who go through the band like a revolving door. The latest iteration of the group features Roel Sanders on drums, back for his second stint with the band, and Susan Gerl in the relatively rare position of female heavy metal guitarist.
Passiondale is a theme album focused on the bloody and gruesome battles of World War 1. The Passchendaele / Ypres area of Belgium was one of the central theatres of the war, and literally hundreds of thousands of men were killed or crippled in massive, month-long battles fought over unforgiving swampy and muddy terrain. These battles are also notorious as the locations where chemical weapons in the form of mustard gas were used for the first time.
All fertile territory for heavy metal -- Iron Maiden visited this specific battleground on their Dance of Death CD (2003). God Dethroned deliver a satisfactory effort, without ever breaking beyond their relatively limited technical abilities. Only bits and pieces of the songs here promise to reach memorable status. Along with Poison Fog and Fallen Empires, title track Passiondale is among the best tracks on the CD; why does it appear to end too quickly? Similarly, CD closer Artifacts of the Great War is a promising instrumental, but is not given the oxygen needed to breathe and soar.
Overall the CD is bogged down in suitably muddy and repetitive terrain that serves as supporting evidence for the band's extremely limited success over the many years.
Henri Sattler - Vocals, Guitars
Henke Zinger - Bass
Roel Sanders - Drums
Susan Gerl - Guitars
Songlist (Ratings out of 10):
1. The Cross of Sacrifice - n/a
2. Under a Darkening Sky - 7
3. No Man's Land - 7
4. Poison Fog - 8
5. Drowning In Mud - 5
6. Passiondale - 8
7. No Survivors - 7
8. Behind Enemy Lines - 7
9. Fallen Empires - 8
10. Artifacts of the Great War - 7
Produced by Jorg Uken and Henry Sattler
All Ace Black Blog CD Reviews are here.