GOD DETHRONED - The Grand Grimoire (METAL BLADE - LP 1997)
In 1993, after the debut album “The Christhunt” was released, God Dethroned split up. But Henri Sattler, who in the meantime played in doom metal act Lords of the Stone, decided to reform his old death metal band in 1996, bringing completely new line with him. Second album “The Grand Grimoire” came out in 1997 under Metal Blade Records and surely it was a worthy and noticeable comeback, very successful, both when speaking of the music and when speaking of the promotion and feedback the band received.
Honestly, I will always consider “The Christhunt” as my favourite God Dethroned album, because it’s the closest to what I like in death metal and musically it fits my taste perfectly, with that harsh sounding, dark, satanic death metal that the band recorded for the debut. “The Grand Grimoire”, and all other albums, which God Dethroned recorded after the reunion, are quite different stylistically, I dare to say that they don’t have much in common with the debut record, but that doesn’t mean it’s something bad. First of all, the music became much more melodic, with plenty of memorable harmonies spread through the whole “The Grand Grimoire”, which is why the album is so easily listenable and catchy as well. I think I can describe these melodies as melancholic, especially in song like “Under the Silver Moon”. What worked so well on “The Grand Grimoire” is that God Dethroned managed to combine these melodies with great aggressive death metal, with good variation between fast and slower parts and very nice, energetic sound. I like that they have a good balance between all these aspects and more so, I also like that the production is not over polished and it still has that sharp, dirty tone on guitars and vocals are sounding so vicious (although Sattler’s harsh, screaming voice is very different to his growls on the debut album, where he used a lot or reverb and sounded much more inhuman). The music seems to be also way better played, it is completely derived of that chaotic and messy character of the debut album, with not a slightest sign of death metal primitiveness. Good technical skills, some great guitar leads… yeah, definitely it’s a good stuff from start to finish.
The songwriting on “The Grand Grimoire” is very good. There are many songs that will stay in your head and are really standing out. The vicious and very fuckin angry and aggressive “The Art of Immolation” is my favourite, I love its savage sound and fast parts. The title song brings some of the best riffs of the whole album, with great mixture of melodic and nasty riffage and is so memorable that you’ll want to play it again and again. Third track which I wanna mention is “Under the Silver Moon” – it stands out not only due to this killer mixture of brilliant fast death metal and melodic, almost doomy parts… but also with some of the most blasphemous lyrics from the whole album. “Copulating Maria!!!!!!!”, yeah! “Into a Dark Millenium” is another fine song, so bloody malicious and aggressive! And I suppose the only song, which I don’t like so much is the final track “Fire”, which is obviously a cover of Arthur Brown. But it’s just a cover, so it doesn’t even matter much. Rest of the album is good enough to make me forget about it anyway.
Standout tracks: “The Art of Immolation”, “The Grand Grimoire”, “Under the Silver Moon”
Final rate: 80/100