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God Dethroned - The Toxic Touch

Label: Metal Blade
Format: CD
Released: 2006
Reviewed By: The Goat

OK, I gotta ask. Where have I been and when did God Dethroned become such an awesome band? When I was given the new God Dethroned, I was expecting a subpar blackened death metal similar to the first release on Metal Bade, "The Grand Grimoire". I remember the hype around that album and how they were supposedly banned (which leads to the question what black metal or death metal band hasn't?) from several countries. I was not really all that impressed by "Grand" and thought that there were others that did the blackened death sound better.


This impression was further nailed down when I picked up the next full length on Metal Blade, "Bloody Blasphemy". I thought, "ugh, why did I buy this?" All I can say is that I was young and far too impressionable. The Black Metal Zeitgeist was just beginning. As with often the case, when a 'new' sound or style becomes vogue, there is a deluge of bands, previously unknown to the common metalhead, that spring forth.

So, stepping down from my soapbox, I am marveling at this release before me. It has groove. It has aggression. I got my attention right off the bat. The first track, ‘Faithless’ is a 36 second doozie. It is a driving opener that is a warning for the attack that is about to come. Next, ‘Hating Life’ is a galloping attack that while midpaced, has a devastating effect. Just when you think it is going to remain, it kicks off with an effective brutal tempo. In some respects, this song reminds me of a more gutteral Fear Factory, if Fear Factory was European and more classically trained. ‘Hating Life’ is a strong statement for the genre breaking sound the rest of the album offers.

On the downside, there is a lot of the Haunted-esque style riffing and aggression. In the context of this album, this is less a flaw. While the more jaded metalhead may find the Slayerrific riffs of ‘Falling Down’ a copycat effort, I think they are executed with precision and skill that I most certainly was not expecting. In fact, I would say, ‘Falling Down’ is my favorite song on the album. What can I say, I am a sucker for Slayerrific riffs in my metal.

Overall, I must say that I am quite impressed by "Toxic Touch". I was expecting a lot worse and I got something that demonstrated a seasoned and thrashy album. It goes to show that sometimes, even in this age of copycatted formulaic metal, a band can demonstrate these formulas in, while a not entirely original way an effective use of technique and pacing. "Toxic Touch" is one of these albums. I am certain you will have heard everything on it before, but it is the approach and handling of the material that distinguishes God Dethroned from the copycatters.

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