God Dethroned

The Lair of the White Worm

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Arguably, the Scandinavian countries have become to the death metal/black metal field what Chicago is to the blues -- not the place that gave birth to the genre, but definitely the place that came to dominate it. While death metal/black metal didn't get started in Scandinavia any more than the blues were invented in Chicago, the list of important death metal and black metal bands that have come from Sweden, Norway, or Denmark is endless. That said, one can give props to the Nordic countries without neglecting what the rest of Western Europe has to offer -- and in the Netherlands, one of the more noteworthy death metal/black metal bands of the '90s and 2000s has been God Dethroned. Lair of the White Worm doesn't break any new ground for the Dutch moshers, but it's a respectable, above-average effort that illustrates their ability to incorporate elements of power metal and thrash without sacrificing their death metal/black metal brutality. It would be a mistake to categorize this 40-minute CD as either "melodic death metal" or "symphonic black metal"; Lair of the White Worm isn't as melodic or as musical as In Flames, At the Gates, Khold, or Callenish Circle (another Dutch band). But this 2004 recording isn't amelodic grindcore, either, and for God Dethroned, moments of ultra-fast ferocity can be followed by some guitar work or harmonies that recall Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. If Lair of the White Worm is meant to balance musicality and sledgehammer ferocity, the latter ends up having the upper hand -- even so, this album does, in its own vicious, skull-crushing way, have a sense of craftsmanship. And once again, God Dethroned reminds listeners that you don't have to be Scandinavian to make worthwhile contributions to death metal/black metal.

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