Boom, and these Dutch heavyweights have delivered another huge slab of blackened death metal to our feet. ‘Illuminati’ is huge, blasting and full of pulverising intentions, and a welcome release bridging a two-year gap since their last opus, ‘The World Ablaze’

‘Illuminati’ sees a revamped line up where Dave Meester replaced Mike Ferguson during the song writing process, Sattler and Van Der Plicht teamed up to pen most ‘Illuminati’ and critical input was sought from Ferguson and Pomper when needed.

Keyboards have also been injected into ‘Illuminati’, something which was eluded to on ‘The World Ablaze’, and the lyrical content is targeted towards a return to the bands anti-Christian roots, a move which sees them leave the war theme, which featured on many of the their releases such as the afore mentioned ‘The World Ablaze’, ‘Passiondale’ and ‘Under The Sign Of The Cross’, behind, a change which many fans have been consistently been requesting.

Title track, ‘Illuminati’ is crunching and crushing with the riffs being astronomical and pounding in equal measures. The band switch tempos on this one and it delivers a masterclass in both a technical, and a measured, pure death metal style as well as a more frenetic and speedy blackened death façade. The subject matter is the secretive sect of the Freemasons, and this can clearly be heard within both the vocals and the songs main chorus.

‘Broken Halo’ starts with punishing riffs and beats from the drum skins. Keyboards are prominent in the make-up and the intro soon breaks to reveal a growling and guttural vocal deliverance. This track is catchier and sparks a constant melody which is easy to catch onto. The pace is unrelenting and delivers a full throttle beating of the highest order.

‘Book Of Lies’ is a personal highlight of the package for me. It is built upon a foundation of keys and strings with a solid titanium backbone created out of the drum work. The lyrics deal with forced conversion to religion and takes a slightly slower more calculated approach to the speed within the track. This lack of speed only goes to add to the intensity and ferocity of the body, and this is continued with the next track on the release, the aptly named ‘Spirit Of Beelzebub’.

‘Spirit Of Beelzebub’ is not discreet with its intentions and generates an almost satanic atmosphere surrounding the track with the stand-alone guitar sections, and the perfect harmony with which the whole band moulds and gels together. There is clean singing, almost orchestral at times, and guttural growling a plenty. The name is obvious in its target subject, the notion that despite what others may want us to believe, Satan is still very much embraced in this mortal world.

‘Satan Spawn’ is introduced with a demonic deep growl before the whole band kicks in and displays some of the finest death metal work you will have heard for a while. This traditional style is only enhanced by the use of the keys, intermittently, although at the most appropriate sections as to create the biggest impact. Technical delicate guitar solos are fired off and show the true talent that is housed within the God Dethroned metacarpals, these then lead back into the punishing stance which will devour your soul on impact.
The simply named ‘Gabriel’ starts with more guitar work, and then infiltrated with a solid, rhythmic drumbeat. Keys add their influence to create a melody which the vocals only continue to elevate. The vocals seem to be smoother and lighter, though with no less demonic intent than we have previously been stabbed with. As the moniker suggests, the main focus of this track is around the figure of Gabriel, a constant topic within the lyrics, based on the movie ‘The Prophecy’ which is based around a second war in heaven, and a repetitive subject matter throughout the near 5 minutes. Guitar solos yet again are a focus on the track and, yet again, they are delivered with true magnificence and awe.

‘Eye Of Horus’ starts with melodic six strings and a rhythmic and melodic balance between the clean vocals and keyboards. The back drop of melody is a constant power on the track and the lyrics build themselves around the Egyptian god Horus, and the balance between good and evil. The track is monumental, multi layered and a true beast of an affair. It is majestic and royal with its soul being a colossal mammoth of a creation. The composition and build of the track are monstrous and is a behemoth segment within a complex album landscape.

‘Dominus Muscarum’ is a forty-three second interlude which exposes the key elements of the God Dethroned DNA, along with a cathedral choir esque vocal arrangement which then leads into the final track on the album, ‘Blood Moon Eclipse’.

For the final showdown, all filters have been eroded and the flood gates have well and truly been opened. If you haven’t been battered and pummelled enough already, ‘Blood Moon Eclipse’ sets out to destroy you in the most brutal of methods. The vocals are the most manic so far and these marry to the rest of the track with ease. The melody which is etched into the backdrop is effortless and the arrangement is technical and multi layered, thus creating a track of biblical epic proportions.

‘Illuminati’ is death metal at its best, a true masterclass in the brutal world that is being led by God dethroned amongst others. Be warned, when this is aired in the live setting, only the strong will truly survive the pit that lies before it

You need to own this, and own it now !!

(9.5/10 Phil Pountney)