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Glen Benton, the infamous, blasphemous frontman of Deicide, has always done his best to try to offend people with his band’s lyrics and image. With their fifth record Insineratehymn, he’s actually managed to go one further: he’s managed to offend his own fans with his band’s stale songwriting and castrated sound.
Insineratehymn finds Deicide exchanging their tried and true brutal death song constructions with ones littered with half-tempo groove riffs. Nothing wrong with mere experimentation (even if you have a good thing going) but this album loses all of its energy by focusing on the slow, often mallcorish groove rhythms. And even when they pick up the pace, like during “Apocalyptic Fear” or the intro of “Halls Of Warship,” it just sounds like a bad reiteration of better things performed by this once fearsome band, or in a few cases, their old influence, Slayer (that opening riff from “The Gift That Keeps On Giving” is just an odd-time version of the one from the beginning of Slayer’s “Bitter Peace”). Even drum legend Steve Asheim, whom I would usually praise incessantly, does not manage to save this boring romp through generic death metal fodder.
It’s not even that the album is so terrible; it’s that it’s terrible in light of what this band is capable of doing. Deicide is not meant to tread in slow death metal; atmospheric, groove or otherwise. If I wanted to hear that sort of shit, there are a dozen other bands I could patronize to get a much better product. Deicide just can’t pull that kind of thing off. And the fact that the Hoffman brothers are still displaying above average guitar chops (by their standards, anyway) and that Glen’s bass is moderately audible doesn’t do a damn thing to make up for the uninteresting track-list. Even the lyrics have taken a significant toll for the worse. No longer does Glen demand his listeners “you will give praise to Satan”; instead he’s content to bore them with tired ravings about how God doesn’t care about them and impaired, mallcorish lines like this:
“Smash his crucifixion right against your head
Contents under pressure explode, kill your ass.”
Glen’s musings have always been the lyrical equivalent of beating a dead horse, but now the horse is really starting to reek.
As this review is being written in hindsight, I’m fully aware that the band would make an about face a few albums later, leaving this misstep and its successor as isolated incidents. Even so, it’s not a pleasant listen and should only be trespassed upon by the most open-minded of Deicide fans. And even then, check out opener “Bible Basher,” then stay the hell away.