With over a quarter century of diabolical death metal under their blood-stained belts, Deicide could be forgiven for slowing down, backing off and taking in some of the blistering Floridian sunshine beneath which they incongruously reside. But let’s be glad they haven’t. It hasn’t always been an easy 25 years – not least for the small furry animals who have perished along the way – but few of Deicide’s contemporaries have lasted this long whilst sticking to their guns, sometimes literally.
While it’s true that offstage and outside the studio the Glen Benton show can be a bit of a circus, the veteran frontman and his band almost always deliver the goods when it comes to the brutal crunch. The band’s 11th studio album and follow-up to 2011’s To Hell With God is a typically savage affair, stripped-back-to-basics for a rawer sound more reminiscent of early albums like immortal debut Deicide and Once Upon The Cross.
Producer Jason Suecof (Trivium, The Black Dahlia Murder, Devildriver), whilst achieving clarity and power, has avoided the overproduced sheen that seemed somewhat out of place on recent Deicide outings. This organic approach perfectly suits the material that, although fiendishly technical at times, is hammered out in no-fuss fashion and devoid of unnecessary frills.
And the band themselves are on good form, axemen Jack Owen and Kevin Quirion (here making his studio debut) scything away merrily, drummer Steve Asheim the usual blur behind the kit, whilst Glen – whose guttural growl seems to get fiercer with every album – bashes out some of his best ever bass work. Or maybe it’s just that this time ’round we can actually hear him properly.
Although there are only so many ways you can curse Christ and his sycophantic minions, fans can look forward to familiar-sounding ditties such as Godkill, Even The Gods Can Bleed and Kill The Light Of Christ, evidence, if any more were needed, that even in increasingly secular times, Glen still regards that Jesus guy as a menace to society. This is a band refreshed, casting one eye back to the past in order to reboot and regain focus. Legion it is not, but this grinding, gruelling hate-fest is easily the best Deicide album in quite some time.