God Dethroned were formed in 1991 by vocalist Henri Sattler with several friends (credited only as M. Beukeveld, M. Arends, and A. Dijkstra); the Dutch death metal band recorded a demo and got the opportunity to release an album on the small German label Shark in 1992. Titled The Christhunt, it did little commercially, and God Dethroned went on hiatus the following year, with Sattler forming a new group called Ministry of Terror. Following that band's 1994 album, Fall of Life, and a supporting European tour, Sattler decided to re-form God Dethroned with guitarist Jens, bassist Beef, and drummer Roel. This new lineup scored a deal with Metal Blade, which issued The Grand Grimoire in late 1997; the album was released in the U.S. the following year and achieved a fair amount of airplay on college-radio metal shows. The Christhunt was reissued later that year with the cover art the band had originally wanted (a dissected rat), and the official follow-up, Bloody Blasphemy, appeared in 1999.
Ravenous marked the studio debut of drummer Tony Laureano, and in 2003, for their menacing fifth studio long-player, Into the Lungs of Hell, the band switched drummers again, introducing Ariën van Weesenbeek (Epica) into the fold. Lair of the White Worm and The Toxic Touch dropped in 2004 and 2006, respectively, and in 2009 God Dethroned unleashed their first concept LP, the First World War-themed Passiondale, which saw them return to the punishing blackened death metal style of their earlier works. A flurry of lineup changes preceded the release of 2010's narrative-driven Under the Sign of the Iron Cross, which was followed by an indefinite hiatus. God Dethroned returned for a smattering of shows in 2015, and eventually made their way back into the studio. The resulting World Ablaze, the long-awaited third entry in their WWI series, was released in 2017.