GOD DETHRONED is a band coming from the deepest depths of the Death Metal underground movement. I guess no further explanation is needed here, just let me add that this Dutch deathmachine has been around us since 1991 and their 10th long play "The World Ablaze" was out in May of 2017. I've asked Henri Sattler & Mike Ferguson to unfold some details about "The World Ablaze" album as well as to see what they are up to these days and where can we see them playing live.
Hails! Let's start off the interview with a question about the reactivation of GOD DETHRONED. The band was meant to cease in 2012, but 2 years later you've announced its comeback. What motivated you to change your mind and get back your focus on GOD DETHRONED?
Mike: Well, we never intended to actually quit the band, Henri just needed a break from the constant cycle of touring and recording. But he knew that if he would call it a break people would never stop hassling him to reform the band so he said that we broke up. After 3 years the fires start to burn in your belly and you want to perform again, because that is what performers do. So we started back up to do gigs and eventually to write a new album.
From the previously known line-ups only Michiel van der Plicht left. What should we know about guitarist Mike Ferguson and bassist Jeroen Pomper? How did they hook up with GOD DETHRONED?
Mike: I know that Jeroen is also from the North of Holland like Michiel and Henri, so they knew him from the local scene. I have been playing in bands for 20 years now. I also played in a band called DETONATION in which Michiel drummed for 2 years and we recorded an album together called "Reprisal". So when GOD DETHRONED needed a new guitar player Michiel called me if I would be interested. I was always a fan of the band so I gave it a shot and I have been playing with them for three years now.
With the above listed line-up you've recorded the follow up to "Under the Sign of the Iron Cross" (2010) album, which was released 5th of May, 2017 by Metal Blade Records and was titled as "The World Ablaze". It follows so naturally the musical path presented on your latest releases that one can think you never even stopped for a moment. How did you see it? Was it easy to compose and arrange the songs for "The World Ablaze"?
Mike: I knew that Henri had 2 rough outlines for new songs and they were good. After that Henri and me just sat down together and traded ideas. I contributed my riffs and leads. After a couple of writing sessions with Henri I had a good idea of what style the music had to be. And I have always been a song writer in all my bands so it is not difficult for me to be creative. Also because that is what I like to do the best. So I don't think it was very difficult. I think Henri and me complimented each other very well.
I would say it's kind of really rare case, but definitely awesome at some point, when a band has the same label for 20 years now. How did you manage to stick with Metal Blade for so long? What is the secret for such a long friendship and collaboration between you?
Mike: Well, Henri would be the one to answer this the best. But I know that Henri and Brian Slagel have a good relationship. And if the partnership is mutually beneficial I wouldn't know why you would terminate the arrangement. Metal Blade has always been good to GOD DETHRONED. They are a professional record label who care about their artist.
The lyrical content of "The World Ablaze" was built upon different battles and wars of the past, for example by The Battle of Messines (7–14 June 1917) in the song called "Messina Ridge" or about the Russian Civil War (November 1917 – October 1922) in "Escape Across the Ice (The White Army)". Pretty interesting topics to cover, so kind of really interesting to me what leads you to write about these historical facts and overwhelmingly about the events of the World War I. Please tell the readers more about the lyrics of "The World Ablaze".
Henri: Yes, this is the final album of the WWI trilogy. 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 "All 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.
If I look back onto your discography I can conclude that you started to work and write war-like themes beginning with the "Passiondale (Passchendaele)" (2009) album, correct me if I am wrong? What are your most beloved occurrences in the history and why? I assume you like to watch historical movies, right? What were the ones you have been recently watching and what are the ones you would definitely recommend to check us out?
Henri: I got interested in the world war one theme after visiting Ypres in Belgium on a regular basis. This town was on the forefront of trench war battle and contains a lot of history about the battles fought around that town. There I learned about the gruesomeness of WWI by visiting the museum, war memorials, English people in the pub visiting the graves of their lost relatives, etc. Then I also started reading about this war since there's not much film footage available. At school we didn't hear a lot about it, so it felt a bit like a forgotten war.
In the end I think we made some pretty interesting albums about this theme.
Serpent King Guitars (SKG) was founded back in September of 2011. How did it all start for you there? Tell us how and when your interest arose towards guitar-building and later making your own models. What motivated or initiated the spark of creativity & such artfulness within you? Do you remember the very first guitar you built and who was its customer? I suppose it was way before you joined SKG, right?
Henri: After we announced to put GD on hiatus I wanted to do something else with my life, but I wanted to stay connected with the music industry. I went through several options, but building guitars was the one that attracted me a lot. The first guitars were built for the Frankfurter Musikmesse in 2012 and after that things went quick for us. Now in 2018 we also have standard series guitars in stock, which are available from our webshop and besides that we build custom guitars for various customers across the globe. People can check our website for details.
Recently SKG is endorsing and co-operating with quite a lot of extreme metal guitarists worldwide. Let me just name such great musicians as Eric Cutler of AUTOPSY, Carlo Regadas (ex-CARCASS), Dennis Hartog of SINISTER, Jimmy Lundqvist of ENTRAILS, and this list of artists just growing exponentially upwards. How do you feel about having these well-known shredders in the SKG rooster? How did they find out about SKG and if it's not a secret who is going to be the next?
Henri: Yes, it's great to have these guitarists on our roster. They all contacted me after they saw the guitars we were building and they told me how much they liked them. These guys are still performing on our guitars today and that's a big compliment for us. We don't know yet who will be the next well known guitarist. Time will tell.
Do you keep in contact with past members of GOD DETHRONED? If so, what news can you tell us regarding Roel Sanders, Henk Zinger, Susan Gerl, Ariën van Weesenbeek or Danny Tunker for instance? Do they visit your shows from time to time? Always wanted to know and ask why Roel left the band after the release of the successful "Passiondale" album? And also why did Susan leave the band after the "Passiondale" tour?
Henri: I sometimes see one of the former band members, but usually not a lot, since we all live far apart from each other. When we do meet it's always nice to have a beer and talk about the past. Every person leaving the band has their own reason. My fanaticism wasn't always the most pleasant thing to endure when playing in GD, so I guess that played a role from time to time when people decided to do something else.
You've been in the Netherlands underground since 1991 with GOD DETHRONED. How would you estimate the 90s Death/Thrash Metal underground scene of Holland compared to the actual one? I mean the differences of both eras, what was better then or now and which bands do you miss from the past as well as what bands would you recommend us from the recent movement?
Henri: It is more difficult than 10-15 years ago to make a living from playing in a band. CD sales have gone downhill and we like all other bands have to make their money with playing live shows and selling merchandise at shows. We are well aware of the changes around us and we try to promote the album the best we can. That's why we recorded three music videos for "The World Ablaze" and released them one month before the release in weekly intervals. We used to make one video for an album now we have three. That's a big difference and a telling story of how influential the internet has become. And it does work, because it created a lot of attention for us.
I always was more into the Swedish Melodic Death Metal. I guess that's what you call it now. Bands like EUCHARIST, DISSECTION, WITHERED BEAUTY, THE HAUNTED. A new band I like a lot nowadays is SHINING. I think they have the best guitar player.
Will there be any extensive tours take place in support of "The World Ablaze"? Talk us a little about the forthcoming tour plans & concerts of GOD DETHRONED. Can we expect to see you playing live nearby us either in Hungary and Slovakia? Sure in Ukraine would be the best, but somehow I think it is not possible for the moment.
Henri: We decided not to do long tours anymore. It is very difficult to get a tour that pays enough so we can all keep on paying the rent back home. We play as much as we can and we are always busy, but mostly on the weekends. We are going to play a lot of great festivals like the Bang Your Head Festival and In Flammen. We have about 15 concerts booked for the next couple of months and more shows are being added all the time. Sadly, we don't have anything lined up for the Ukraine, but we will do our best to come to you guys, because we know how dedicated and awesome you guys are.
In 2016 you've joined GRAND SUPREME BLOOD COURT. What news can you share to us from that camp? Are you finished writing songs for the 2nd full-length disc yet? If so, when do you plan to record it and to release it respectively?
Henri: No news there. We are all too busy with our own bands and projects at the moment, so there are no plans for the immediate future.
Please foreshadow your final thoughts to all the Ukrainian GOD DETHRONED fans. Last world ablaze words are yours!
Henri: Thank you so much for all your support throughout the years and the great reactions to our latest album "The World Ablaze". It is much appreciated and we are doing our best to come your way and to play for all you crazy metal fans.