With new album The World Ablaze out last Friday, Mike had a good old fashioned chat with founder and singer/guitarist Henri Sattler of Dutch blackened death act God Dethroned.
I’m doing fine. I’m doing a lot of interviews and they are all good. A good response on the album so it’s always good to talk about things like that.
Talking about the album, it has been seven years since the last record hasn’t it?
Yeah, it’s been seven years and it’s a long time but we had a little break – a three year break. Officially we split up but I just needed some time off, I guess, and recharge my batteries and now it was time to record an album. We played live two years as a reunion and that was the most important part for me, just to play live, but if you want to maintain that then you have to come out with the new album otherwise the promoters will be like “hey man we need some new stuff”. We had to do that and we did and it worked out really well I think.
Compared to the last album what does The World Ablaze offer fans both new and old?
The new album offers a lot I think. It’s very diverse and dynamic and when you listen to the album you will hear influences from our older albums. It’s a very dynamic album because the last album, Under the Sign of the Iron Cross, is a fast aggressive album mainly and it tends to get a bit boring when you play live. This album is very suitable for live shows because it will go along with your tempo parts and your headbanging parts, fast parts lots of melodic parts so it has a little bit for everybody.
What was the inspiration or concept behind the artwork?
The artwork was done by a friend of mine who was a graphic designer and this was the third and last album in our World War One trilogy so you need some strong artwork. He found the picture that he could use as a basis for his album cover and when you do an album about World War One you need an album cover that fits to it. I think that this is a very good one, it captures the atmosphere completely.
When it comes to World War history and God Dethroned, how important would you say it is in terms of the inspiration behind songwriting? Would you say that along with this there are a few more inspirations?
I have done a lot of research but I ran into this topic by accident, to be honest. World War One is not really a common thing in this country, we [The Netherlands] were neutral during World War One so you don’t hear a lot about it. We had a guitar player in the band and he lived in a city nearby, and this city was one of the cities on the forefront of the trench war in World War One, so I went there on the weekends and we would hang out there and I saw loads of graveyards and war memorials and the war museum. The amount of English people who would be there on the weekend who would visit the graves of their relatives who died in the War… It was so impressive that I wanted to know more about it, so I started digging into its history and I read a lot of books about it.
I was completely amazed by the war propaganda used at the time, you know like the people from the colonies that would tell people in India that “we have treated you so well, so now it’s time to give something back to your country… so come and fight in the war and you will be home before Christmas”. They would send these people into the mud to fight against the enemy and it was so brutal. It was unbelievable and there was a lot more. Reading about it, it was an unbelievable war.
When it came to starting God Dethroned what were your and the band’s main influences?
I was completely into death metal of course. I would be listening to Entombed’s Left Hand Path and Morbid Angel’s Altars of Madness, Dismember and Napalm Death, Carcass… All these bands were brand new for me and at the time they were just brand new because death metal was brand new. I was complete with this type of music, so it was something I had to do and when you listen to our demo from 1991 it was exactly like the Scandinavian death metal bands and I still love that to today.
Would you say you’ve noticed any changes through the years?
I think the main bands in the scene today are still the same bands from back in the day. In our country we still have Asphyx and Sinister and some other bands that have been there since the beginning and they are still the main bands when it comes to this genre. There are more new bands of course, actually there are a lot of bands. There is a great scene over here but it seems that the new bands have a harder time getting a name for themselves than we did back in the past. It still seems like people from our area like Holland still refer to the great names from the past when they think of death metal bands coming from our country – like Pestilence and Gorefest, bands like that. The newer bands, there are a lot of them and they’re great, really great.
What would you say has changed within the band from when you first formed to now, in 2017?
Well there is one major change – we became better musicians over the years! That first album it was not a very good album. The songs were ok but the playing was really off and then over the years we learned to play better. We created better songs and I think overall the second album, The Grand Grimoire, already showed the blueprint of what the band would be like for the future. We still play the same style, but at the same time we never play the same album twice. We will always create something that sounds completely different but on the other hand if you listen to the riffs you can hear immediately that it is us.
What would you like to say to the fans reading at home?
Check out the videos! We are going to do three videos before the album gets released, the first one just got released on the 4th of April and the next will be released on the 13th of April which is the title track of the record. [Check them out here – “On The Wrong Side of the Wire” / “The World Ablaze” / “Annihilation Crusade“]
Well, Henri thank you very much for your time today.
Well thank you very much man. It was a fun interview and we hope to come back to the UK at some point soon.