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Deicide’s position as one of the most notorious death metal bands on the planet was not so much lost as sort of forgotten since the late 1990’s. However, 2006’s comeback ‘The Stench Of Redemption’ was a true return to form, wowing fans and critics alike. The first line-up change in Deicide history (the departure of the Hoffman brothers on guitar) really lit a fire under their asses, and the result was absolutely great. It’s said that the 2nd album is always the hardest to make, but I think Deicide’s peers Obituary have proven that the follow-up to a comeback is far more difficult. ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ almost makes it look easy.
The album begins with an aptly titled instrumental showing off the lead guitar wizardry of Ralph Santolla, who appears on ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ as only a session member, having left the band. There are still some absolutely blistering solos (‘Worthless Misery’ being a fine example) but generally the leads are toned down a fair bit, letting the riffs and vocals do the talking. The vocals of Glen Benton are quite a love-it-or-hate-it matter, but if you’re a fan of his growls then his delivery here will impress you. In fact, this is quite applicable for the album as a whole. The riffs and drumming are fairly standard fare for Deicide, but that’s by no means a bad thing. Founding member, drummer and principal songwriter Steve Asheim is still very impressive behind the kit, with the same pounding drum sound that the last few Deicide records have had. The sheer intensity of the drum takes are very impressive, a frantic blast accompanied by what sounds like several different fills at once, without once sounding lost. ‘Angel Of Agony’, in particular, is a true demonstration of Steve’s ability on drums.
In fact, Asheim’s recordings on this album are not just limited to drums as he is credited with lead and rhythm guitars as well. He, Santolla and Jack Owen (of Cannibal Corpse fame) all lay down very solid guitar tracks. The album has countless brutal Deicide riffs and a sizeable dosage of soaring leads, though the latter are not as plentiful with Santolla as only a session player. The sound of this album overall could be seen as a mixture of Deicide’s 1992 classic ‘Legion’ and their newer, more punchy and melodic riff style. Of course, 16 years changes a band’s sound a lot, and the production is most certainly very important to this. Even by early 90’s standards, Deicide’s first few albums didn’t have great production, but since ‘Scars Of The Crucifix’ their tone and mixing has had a real punch to it. While ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ is still far more sonically ‘in-your-face’ than say, ‘Serpents Of The Light’, it doesn’t quite have that aggressive power that their last two albums had. This is no complaint, though, as this is Deicide as Deicide is meant to sound: fast, heavy and unforgiving.
The lyrics of Glen Benton are well known for being vehemently anti-Christian and as little as you may agree with his views, it is hard to deny that his lyrics are well done. He has retained that same dark language for over 20 years now, but with time and age his writing style has matured significantly since the days of ‘Oblivious To Nothing’. In fact, this album contains quite a lot more than the standard blasphemy that Benton normally churns out. As the title (and, indeed, the horrendous artwork) may suggest, some of these songs have a dark twist on the marriage theme, and of course its religious connotations. There are still some lyrically weak songs (“Feeding off the excrement's of bible prophecy” from ‘In The Eyes Of God’…yum) but Benton’s lyrical style certainly does not deserve to be bashed as much as it is by some people, no matter how controversial the subject matter is.
There is a definite sense of familiarity with ‘Till Death Do Us Part’. Perhaps it is the fact that we are not hearing Santolla and Owen’s fresh guitar styles for the first time this time around, but really this is quite a standard Deicide album. The riffs, the drumming and Glen’s distinctive vocals are all there for the taking, but this album fails to have that massive impact that Deicide’s previous record did. This isn’t new or refreshing (though the 6 minute ‘Horror In The Halls Of Stone’, Deicide’s longest song to date, most certainly is) and it doesn’t masquerade as anything else, it’s just a quality slab of death metal done the Deicide way.
If you have not been impressed by Deicide’s work (even ‘The Stench Of Redemption’), then this album isn’t going to change your mind. That said, songs like ‘Horror In The Halls Of Stone’ and ‘Not As Long As We Both Shall Live’ really do sound like a band that has never stepped a foot wrong.