Cult of Luna
Voivod: Part 2
Voivod: Part 1
Dillinger Escape Plan
The Year In Metal
Dead to Fall
Tapping The Vein
High On Fire
Metal Meltdown IV
Metal/Hardcore Fest 2002
Century Media Records
My Dying Bride
The Year In Metal
Metal Blade Records
Maudlin of the Well
Thrash of the Titans
Dust To Dust
Six Feet Under
Metal/Hardcore Fest 2001
Metal Meltdown III
Pain of Salvation
Children Of Bodom
Cradle Of Filth
Lamb Of God
Garden of Shadows
March Metal Meltdown
Metal/Hardcore Fest 2000
Flotsam and Jetsam
God Dethroned needs no formal introduction. They have been around devastating the extreme metal scene for close to a decade. With each new release, the band combines immaculate production with relentless brutality. They have released five albums to date and are nearing completion of the highly anticipated 'Into The Lungs Of Hell'. Metal Update caught up with Jens shortly after he returned home from a nice pub experience - not to mention that it was about 3:00 a.m. in The Netherlands. Despite the late hour, the guitarist's enthusiasm about the forthcoming album carried over into this experimental interview conducted via instant messenger.
METAL UPDATE: First off, how are you Jens, at this particular moment - hehe? God Dethroned has been one of my favorite bands for several years now. How in the hell do you guys keep coming up with such remarkable material?
First off, I'm doing fine! Had a bit too much to drink (which is actually rare in my case). As for the material: I don't know where it comes from. We usually just pick a date to book the studio and as soon as we have it (usually about 5 weeks before) we start writing and rehearsing.
MU: Haha. . . that is amazing, you come up with some great material fairly fast then.
This makes it a spontaneous process, which sees us entering the studio with only the basics of the songs written. The rest (melodies, vocals arrangements) gets added once we're there.
MU: You are beginning to record the new album entitled 'Into The Lungs Of Hell', as of now, is this correct? Can you give us a possible release month and what kind of progress you have made so far?
Well, we've recorded all the music and have been back for some of the mixing. If I'm not mistaken, we'll have another mix in today. (I actually expected that in my mailbox today, but since it's night time now, I don't expect the mail man to deliver anything this late.)
MU: Haha. True.
So tomorrow we'll hopefully have the final mix in.
MU: That is great news!
As far as I can tell, this will be our heaviest album yet.
MU: Shit! Can it get any heavier?
There will be eight tracks, balanced between high and mid speed, with heavy riffing - tuned to B. Yeah, B seemed to fit the songs very well this time, since there's more mid-tempo riffs in the songs.
Eh, it should be, hopefully, or we've done a lousy job, heheheh!
MU: 'Ravenous' was an exceptionally good release, do you think that Tony will continue blasting on session drums for the next release or do you have someone else?
No, actually, Tony's concentrating on Nile fulltime nowadays.
MU: Yes, I assumed so.
We've found a Dutch drummer who can do the job just as well!
MU: Can I get his name? Haha, I am a bit curious to know. . .
He's a graduate conservatory guy, only 22 years old, but he's world class!
MU: Crap! 22, he must be wonderful!
Yep, Ariën van Weesenbeek (see if you can pronounce that properly) He's quite incredible!
MU: Hahahah. I highly doubt I will be saying his name properly - any time soon that is!
It took him six hours to record all the songs, with no tricks and polishing.
MU: Shit - that IS incredible. He must be super fast, and super precise, eh?
He's a very hard and precise hitter, but with lots of feeling for dynamics. Had we not been called God Dethroned, I'd say he was heaven sent, heheheh!
MU: Hahaha, that's hilarious!
Yeah, he made our jobs a lot easier, bought us a couple of days for extra guitar time.
MU: What a great guy. . .
Yeah! We like him, needless to say. OK, let me go to your next question.
MU: I understand that Henri writes mostly all the lyrics, but regarding the actual composition of each song, who writes more guitar tracks? Do you tend to write more melodic or fast?
It depends on the album really. Usually, out of 10 songs, I guess Henri would write about four, Beef two, I would write three and one together. But for this album, we had a fourth participant. . . Yep, Mr. Drummer boy.
MU: Hahah, the good old conservatory guy eh?
Besides perfect drumming, the guy also has absolute hearing. (A real pain in the ass for us string playing folk!) So, for the record, I guess Henri wrote about 30%, Beef about 20%, Ariën about 30% and me the rest.
MU: That put it in perspective nicely, thanks Jens.
To answer the remainder of the question: melodic parts are my thing, though Henri also writes a lot of that stuff. I usually come up with the more unorthodox stuff, usually the more technical.
MU: Many people describe God Dethroned as death / black metal. I hear a more black metal Influence on 'The Christhunt' and 'The Grand Grimoire', probably because these albums are a bit rawer. But, there is a more death metal influence on 'Bloody Blasphemy' and up. How would you describe your sound?
That varies from release to release. We don't really try in a specific vein. With the writing process limited to about five weeks, we don't have time to debate desired style very much. Whatever sounds good to us is what we'll sound like for that particular record. However, we always seem to end up with our own typical sound, regardless of studio or style. I think death and thrash are usually present in our music. But black metal influence is not there too much as far as I can tell.
MU: Yes. . . indeed it is. You guys have a wonderful sound, something that has attracted me to your albums, time and time again. Whether it is slow, fast, or mid-tempo, it is all there.
Thanks! We try and keep it as catchy as we can with short, simple song structures, and not too much detail. We just let vocals and melodies do the talking.
MU: Exactly, not a lot of technicality wrapped into song structure, which is another thing that I like.
It's partly the riffs, but especially the playing. If you listen carefully you can distinguish between Henri's style of playing and mine, especially on 'Bloody Blasphemy'. Even with whatever kind of amp we use, in whatever studio we are in, playing whatever song, It's always different and recognizable.
MU: Yes, I agree.
Well, we do try to keep the technical stuff limited. If I had carte blanche, it would be much more technical, but it just wouldn't add feeling or punch to the song, I'm sure about that. So, we keep it relatively basic, yet interesting to play. Let me just change CD's for a second.
MU: OK, what are you going to listen to?
Foo Fighters. (Shock to you?) I like the last one a lot, heavy production and some killer riffing. We all listen to a lot of different stuff. But it's always awesome to write and play good ol' death metal!!! (Which we listen to as well, of corpse!)
MU: Reeeeallllly? That is great though, something different. That is true to a lot of other band members. It really is not a huge shock at all.
It would be a shame to just limit your musical horizon to just the extreme stuff.
MU: Yes, but that is what a majority of metalheads do!
It makes aforementioned extreme stuff sound. . . well. . . less extreme. . .
MU: Hahaha yes. . .
My ears just got tired along the road, heheheh!
MU: I can imagine that! You have been metal for so god damn long!
And as I mentioned before, I'm a melody man.
MU: Yes you are! The lyrics are mostly biblical / historical allusions, where does Henri get his lyrical ability and writing influences from, especially the concepts for each album?
Well, in times of stress (i.e. studio deadline, five weeks and counting), anything will do for inspiration, so we read, watch movies, stuff like that. Sometimes it's a news item, and sometimes we use a well known biblical story. We also use Dutch history. But for 'Into The Lungs Of Hell' we were inspired by the mess in the world. It seems that every time you watch the news, the mayhem seems to have gotten worse.
MU: Yes - there are a lot of biblical reference in the lyrics - twisted around of course! I prefer these biblical stories the God Dethroned way! And yes, that is very true regarding news - I am truly sick of watching the news.
So some of the lyrics are about that, some are about topics such as censorship, bio industry, and, of corpse, some typical GD lyrics! Yeah, well, mankind is destroying the earth - it's as simple as that. If we kept to killing our own kind, that would be bad enough. We,re ruining everything for generations to come, across all species, and that's worth the criticism.
MU: That is most definitely true! Here comes the million dollar question Jens - are you ready?
Ah! Fire away!
MU: Your last tour of the United States was in 2000, I believe, with Hate Eternal. That was one of the best shows I have ever witnessed, by the way. Please tell me you guys are coming back sometime in the near future?
Oh yeah! We sure as hell plan to! It was an awesome tour, one of the more memorable experiences in our existence. I'm sure it will be something we'll still remember when we're too old to play, heheheh! For this album, we plan to return to U.S. soil!
MU: You better! I am sure the European crowds are amazing! But the crowds in California are always massive!
Man, all across the country it was mayhem!
MU: I bet you guys had the time of your lives!
We had a blast!
MU: Please come back soon, shit, I cannot stress that enough!
If we get the chance, we will! Do I get my million dollars now?
MU: Yes, the million is yours Jens, enjoy! Although I believe Metal Update is taking care of that problem now. . . Could you please tell me how God Dethroned has evolved over the years? Which album are you happiest with?
Well, once again: since our writing time is short, we write impulsively, and without thinking of style. I think, looking back, that the 'Grand Grimoire' album was most impulsive, most raw. After that album 'Bloody Blasphemy' showed our learning curve with a more controlled, and better compositions (at least in my opinion).
MU: Yeah. . .
'Ravenous' in turn, with Tony's hyper speed was more chaotic and more death metal oriented. Raw again, but heavier.
MU: Very true!
Now, 'Into the Lungs of Hell'. When we were writing, we thought this would be an atypical God Dethroned album. (Don't ask me why, because now that it's been recorded it sounds more like God Dethroned than God Dethroned ever could.)
MU: Well, somehow I completely understand that, for some odd reason.
Eh. . . make that God Dethroned x two. Our style of playing just sticks out, whether we are playing Mesa Boogie or Peavey, fast or slow stuff. I'm quite happy with that, since it gives us the certainty that we've found our style, our sound. Whatever we write, we won't disappoint our fans!! I mean, we've recorded with three drummers now, and you don't even notice that much difference between the songs from different CD's. As for my personal favorite, I'd have to say 'Into The Lungs Of Hell' since it's got some great songs (great to play live!) and atmosphere. But, since that's not fair (You don't know it yet, and I'm supposed to give that response, as any band is.) I pick 'Bloody Blasphemy'.
MU: Are you going to continue using Jeanne Potter's artwork for 'Into The Lungs Of Hell'?
Actually, not for this album. We were running out of time, so we went for artwork from the guy who did the Dimmu Borgir artwork.
I haven't seen what it's going to be like yet, but I'm sure he'll do a great job. A+.
MU: Have you guys thought about ever producing a God Dethroned DVD for your dedicated fans in the future? That would be killer!
MU: Damn they would sell like hotcakes.
Speaking about artwork, the guys who made the 'Grand Grimoire' art also shot our videos. They are planning on doing a show with us, supported with computer animation on big screens and other goodies.
MU: A DVD would be a fucking great thing!
Unfortunately, this has not happened yet, but if it does, be sure to find a DVD of that show in the shops shortly after! And if not of that show, then we'll probably shoot some footage during a couple of tours and release it. Mind you, lots of plans, but still need to realize them.
MU: What is your favorite Dutch dish to eat? Haha random question, curiosity, I swear.
Dutch dish, we don't have any real Dutch Haute Cuisine. Everything's been imported, or so it seems, hahaha!
MU: Haha yes, it seems that way nowadays, doesn't it!
But I'm a sucker for fish, so I'd settle for any Dutch fish plate any day!
MU: What is your favorite drink (alcoholic)?
Alcoholic? What a difficult question for me. Do you know Port?
Port is a kind of, eh, well wine... (Though wine experts would kill me if they caught me explaining it like that!)
MU: Hahaha yes, I think I know what you are talking about.
I'm not really into alcoholic stuff, but I like port, white wine, beer, sometimes (like tonight) and eh, that's it really. But Port is my thing.
MU: So it seems. White wine is always good with everything. I would categorize myself as a Wine-O, at times, even though I do not drink regularly.
I drank a beer tonight with a guy who served me a vintage Port of 1976 earlier this year, and that changed my life forerver. Didn't even know him very well back then, and he served me an incredibly expensive, and yes, indeed, very tasty port. So is that it already? That was a pretty quick interview.
MU: Yes, those were all the questions I had. . . Well, since you are eager for more questions. . . Boxers or briefs?
MU: Feel free to add any thanks or additional information to this as well, I hope this interview was a breath of fresh air from all your stress!
To all our fans in the U.S., sorry we've kept you waiting for years. We hope to be back, State-side in '03 to party with you again, like in 2000! 'Into The Lungs Of Hell' should be out early '03, so we'll see you shortly afterward. And thanks for the pleasant interview, Meshell!
MU: No problem. Thanks again, Jens! I hope to see you guys soon, and good luck with the rest of the album!
Thanks for your time! We'll party next year!
MU: Of course, and bring some god damn Port!
God Dethroned interview with Henri
review of God Dethroned 'The Ravenous'
METAL BLADE RECORDS
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