God Dethroned are back with their storming new album The World Ablaze. We caught up with vocalist and lead guitarist Henri Sattler to hear all about the album, its themes and how the band deal with the horrors of war in their music.
The album deals with WWI entirely. It’s our third concept album about this topic. You’re not the first who wondered if the album title stands for todays misery in the world. No it doesn’t, but one can see some similarities between the situation then and now.
Do you find that things happening around the world both past and present in real life is more horrific than fictional tales of horror?
Real life happenings are always more horrific than fictional tales, especially when it comes down to war and it’s atrocities.
Is this album in a similar style to your last album Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross, especially lyrically?
Musically the album is very different. The World Ablaze is much more dynamic and diverse than Under the Sign… which was more fast and aggressive. The new one has much more interesting songs for a live show. Lyrically they both deal with WWI and they are both concept albums.
A track like Breathing Through Blood paints a very vivid picture in terms of lyrics, did you want to highlight the horrors of war with tracks like that one?
The song is about a soldier dying in no man’s land. It describes how many soldiers died during WWI.
Aside from the heaviness and brutality on the album, there is a big emphasis on melody, did you feel it was important to highlight these two styles of the music of God Dethroned?
Yes, because this is what God Dethroned always has been about, melody combined with brutality. When we play live, our fans really like the melodic parts in our songs. Many of them sing them along with our guitars. That’s a great experience.
The instrumental Königsberg is a beautiful interlude before the maelstrom of Escape Across the Ice (The White Army). Did you want to include that calm before the chaos?
It’s nice to have some intermezzo’s on the album that bring you from one atmosphere into the other. It happened by accident that it ended up this way, but it fits very well.
What other subjects do you tackle on the album?
Only WWI facts. Some are very specific like The 11th Hour which is about the final day in the war. Messina Ridge is about the biggest man made explosion during the war before the Trinity bomb explosion in Nevada in WWII. Escape Across the Ice about the Russian revolution during WWI.
Do you have a favourite song from the album yet?
Not really, i like them all a lot so far.
So far, you released videos for the songs The World Ablaze, Annihilation Crusade and On The Wrong Side of the Wire. Can you tell us a bit about these videos and their concepts?
The World Ablaze was shot during a live show and mixed with footage from WWI. On the Wrong Side of the Wire is a bit similar and Annihilation Crusade was shot in a hall where we put up our backdrops as we would do at a live show, but we also shot footage on a WWI cemetary in Ypres, Belgium for the middle part of the song. There’s also a huge explosion going on. We basically wanted to show videos for 3 totally different songs so people would get an idea what the new album is about. Our songs are so diverse that one video only would not show people the depth of the album.
We just finished our album release shows and now it’s festival season. We play festivals like With Full Force and Party-San. We are working on some tours for the fall of this year.
Are you playing much new material on tour at the moment?
Right now we are playing 4 songs of the new album. The 3 songs for which we did the videos and also Escape Across the Ice as it turns out ot be the surprise of the album.
What song goes down the best with the God Dethroned faithful when you play it?
There’s a couple, but songs like Nihilism, Soul Capture 1562 and Hating Life always go down very well.
You’ve previously played festivals such as Wacken, Graspop and Dynamo. Will you be playing any if the summer festivals in support of A World Ablaze?
Yes but in Germany only so far.
You’ve previously toured with the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower and Immortal. What has been your favourite tour you’ve done so far?
We had a great time on all these tours, but we had the best time ever when we toured with the guys of Bolt Thrower. They were the nicest people ever.
Who would you love for God Dethroned to do a tour with in the future?
The band split up in 2011 but got back together in 2014. How have things changed for God Dethroned since you got back together or has it been business as usual for the band?
We quit early 2012 with the show on the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise and we re-united again on that same cruise in 2015. The crowd welcomed us as if Iron Maiden entered the stage. Wonderful feeling that was. Since then we played many shows and festivals again and it’s been great ever since.
What bands are you currently listening to?
Dire Straits, Golden Earring, David Gilmour.
What have been some of the highlights of your career with God Dethroned so far?
Playing many great tours and festivals such as Wacken, Graspop and Dynamo Open Air.