Ravenous, eh? Perhaps The Ravenous could do a record called God Dethroned to match that whole Slayer vs. The Undead/Live Undead vs. Live Slayer chicanery many years back. Anyway, might be the fact that the post-Morbid Angel school of blackened deathblast (Angelcorpse, Ritual Carnage, Krisiun, Anasarca, recent Behemoth, and Gehenna, pretty much the whole post-Vader Polish pack, etc!) is nearing maximum capacity, but God Dethroned are looking to begin pulling away from these lethal-but-samey ranks on this, their fourth record thus far and third for Metal Blade. Taking the most marked elements – namely, sheer speed and a considerable kill factor – from the preceding Bloody Blasphemy and up-ratcheting them a few notches, these flying Dutchmen arrive at something like The Eyes of Horror-era Possessed had Larry (Primus) LaLonde and crew continued on today, what a few pundits have lovingly termed “turbo-thrash” (makes sense). Funny thing is, the one track that stands out, “The Iconoclast Deathride,” really stands out, with its fantastically funereal keyboard dirge reminiscent of Graveland but minus the ever-present pagan-folk influences; basically, this one’s almost an undeniable oddball given the rest of the record’s content, but it’s still pretty fuckin’ cool. However, for as overdriven and arse-ripping as Ravenous is, and for as many killer moments (especially the coda to “Swallow the Spikes”) as there are here and there, there are also precious few songs – let alone, a whole a batch of them – to comprise a canon worth reckoning with…yet. All told, I nevertheless get the ineffable feeling that God Dethroned are bound to deliver their crowning glory next time ‘round – (inverted) cross your fingers.
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Nathan T. Birk