For seven years it was calm on the studio front, this year the dutch death metallers GOD DETHRONED returned with a blast: “The World Ablaze”, the group’s tenth album, convinced us enough to talk to drummer Michiel van der Pflicht. He offers us a deeper look into the moved band history, the collaboration with band leader Henri Sattler and the reasons for the last three albums’ WWI-concept.
GOD DETHRONED had to face two split-ups, one in 1993 and later again in 2012, but luckily you came back each time. What do you see as main reasons for the splits and also for continuing yet?
I can only answer to the split of 2012, 1993 was way before my time in the band. I know that Henri (Henri Sattler, vocalist and guitarist, editor’s note) needed a break from the constant cycle of recording an album and touring to take care of some personal stuff and launch his company “Serpent King Guitars”. If he would have called it a break he knew he would have always been asked about the band’s return so he just called it a split. But in fact he just needed some time to get it all together.
Not every band can say that they’re active since 27 years. I bet that in this span of time you have experienced a lot of things concerning the metal scene. What would you name as the most significant changes during this time in metal?
The metal scene has become very fragmented, it’s subgenre within subgenre within subgenre. It seems if a band plays a guitar chord just a little bit different or use just one drumbeat that becomes a genre on its own and I think that sucks. I liked it when you could go to a gig and see a thrash-band and then a doom-band and then a death-metal-band. It’s all heavy music you know. Nowadays you only have slam-death-bands or doom-bands on the bill, and fans of one genre won’t come to the other genre which makes the audiences smaller and smaller. I don’t see this as something positive.
Which metal music or also music in general are you enjoying yourself these days?
I am a music teacher for my profession, so I listen to all kinds of music. And I can always find something in almost every genre I can appreciate. My personal favorites go back to 70’s and 80’s hard rock like Dio, Led Zeppelin, Rainbow, Foreigner. For the harder stuff I always liked the swedish bands like At the Gates, The Haunted, In Flames, Shining. But Pantera and Megadeth are also some of my favorites, but I also enjoy Gyspy Jazz and the original Carter Family and 70’s funk. As long as it has something that moves me. That’s the most Important.
Now, let’s move on to your new record, „The World Ablaze“. Lyrically, the album continues the last two album’s concept of world war I – related songs. What fascinates you most about that issue?
It always seemed like a forgotten war. Our schools teach WWII much more thoroughly because the Netherlands were neutral in WWI. It always fascinated me if I saw a movie like “Always Quiet On The Western Front”, after that I read the book and it remains one of my favorite war novels of all time. The battles were so brutal and gut-wrenching that it would fit as a concept for a death-metal-band very well. It’s always important to us that we take a bird’s eye view of the war and document the horror of the trenches and the disease and gas attacks of the solider in the trenches.
And in the death-metal-context, your version of war sounds indeed very serious and brutal. What are your thoughts about heavy-metal-bands that speak about war in a much more easy-listening and catchy way, like Sabaton or Civil War?
I don’t listen to those bands, so I really don’t have an opinion about them. They do their thing and we do ours. Those bands are very successful so they must be doing something right. I personally prefer more serious and minor key type of music. Sad music makes me happy.
Your previous album, „Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross“, was released seven years ago. Did this span of time without any album cause you any concerns about how a new GOD DETHRONED album will be received after this long time?
Before we released this album, we played live for two years. We played some big festivals like Rock Hard and Graspop, so we knew we were not forgotten. The fan’s responses to the shows were great so that gave us the confidence that a new album was anticipated and would be accepted. And we were right. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Comparing both records, „Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross“ and „The World Ablaze“, what do you feel has changed most concerning your sound? Where do you see the most significant progresses?
The sound was done by Dan Swano who did a great job on this record. We could not be more pleased with the mix. I am personally happy there are some mid tempo groove songs on this album, where the previous album was just a full on blastbeat record. We have played four new songs live and they work like charm. I like the diversity of this album and the meloncholic melodies.
„On The Wrong Side Of The Wire“, „The World’s Ablaze“ and „Annihilation Crusade“, these were the three songs you chose as singles. Why did you choose those three ones to make the listeners get in first touch with the album?
I think these songs represent all the aspects of the album. If you put these songs next to each other they are incredibly diverse and different. There are blastbeats, mid tempo and extremely fast double bass stuff, agresive riffing and beautiful melodies. A little bit of everything.
Which song of „The World Ablaze“ means the most to you and why?
I like “Escape Accros The Ice”. It’s a song Henri and I wrote together and that‘s the stuff I like the best because you get music you would not come up with by yourself. I like the groove of the song and how the melodies intertwine in each other.
Now that you are finished with this conept, which other topics could you imagine to write songs about in further music?
There are always topics and things in the world that will make us angry, so I am sure we can come up with some topics that our fans will be pleased with, no problem. I know that Henri always collects and writes down his ideas and so do I. So after a while we have enough material to pick and choose from for a new album.
Do you think we will have to wait equally long for a new album after „The World Ablaze“ or do you consider it possible that the next one will be out faster?
I am sure the next album will be much faster. I am always writing stuff so we will have enough material to pick from when the time comes to focus on something new.
With the new album you played two release shows here in Germany and two more in the Netherlands, followed by a gig at the Party.San Open Air. Are there more plans to play live, maybe even for a complete tour?
We are booking shows for the fall and there are already shows being booked for 2018. There are no Tour plans as yet but we are always on the lookout for a good offer.
Thanks for your answers! I’d like to finish our traditional Metal1 – brainstorming. What are your thoughts on those things?
Black Metal: Nice!
The „The Christhunt“ – Album: A good start.
Amsterdam: Not for me.
Gouda: Nice town.
Tulips: Good for our Export.
The last words belong to you, so if you wish to add anything, just do so.
Thank you very much. Check out the new record and I hope to see you all on the road!