SummaryClosing the gap
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There’s no doubt that the Netherlands produced a huge amount of death metal during its heyday, yet bands such as God dethroned, Asphyx, Pestilence, Thanatos and Sinister proved that a typical Dutch sound has never existed in the first place. In this case, it’s a bit bizarre to point out what specific style of death metal we’re dealing with. Most notable God Dethroned partially draws inspiration from the early violent scenarios of Bolt Thrower, yet The Christhunt doesn’t come across as a record that should have been released some years earlier. At their most accessible, the band hints towards the melodic tendencies of later Swedish death metal bands and as unusual as it sounds, you’ve just got to hear it for yourself.
Covered with reverb for diabolical effects, Henri Sattler’s deep howls resemble a possessed beast that hardly reveals the band’s origins. Meanwhile, guitars sound as if they’ve been covered with dirt, yet allow each riff to be heard well. Songs like ‘Hordes of Lucifer’ and ‘Necromagnon’ demolish in an early Bolt Thrower-driven fashion with gritty crust-esque riffs that some years prior could have only been written in England; even if these tracks tend to be a bit more sinister. However, the tremolo bits are the most exciting feature about God Dethroned and they have a tendency to sound extremely colorful for the most part. The title track, for example, foreshadows Uncanny’s melodic guitar textures – albeit combined with some diabolical and blasts-driven noise in between. It’s a bizarre contrast, but since it works so well, you’re not going to hear me complain about it. If anything, I’m rather disappointed that God Dethroned did not continue playing this rough, yet subtly melodic style of death metal.
Dynamically speaking, there’s never a dull moment to be found on The Christhunt, even if it’s not much of a coherent record; meaning that you could play most of the songs in a random order and will most likely get the same benefit out of it. It’s a bit of a disadvantage, as it makes The Christhunt sound more like a collection of songs, rather than a perfectly-flowing record. Of course, none of this matters too much, given how superb these songs are. The eight and half minute long ‘Infernal Sighs of a Bloody Dawn’ seems like a weird pick between the relatively shorter tunes, yet reveals how many ideas God Dethroned could combine properly. From the quasi-doom leads that evoke desolated landscapes in the same way Asphyx could, to the Desultory-esque tremolo riff assault to the melodic, yet tasty lead-driven finale that foreshadows Necrophobic’s The Nocturnal Silence, ‘Infernal Sighs of a Bloody Dawn’ is one hell of musical journey.
So, there you have it; a muscular, yet dynamic behemoth of a death metal album that has never been replicated by neither the band themselves nor any other. The Christhunt may not be the most famous death metal album out there, but it’s certainly one of the best ones to originate from the Netherlands and as biased I sound, it’s hard to imagine that any old school death metal fan won’t be moved by it.
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