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Detractors be saved! - 93%

enigmatech, November 27th, 2013

If you ask me, while I enjoyed some of the post-Hoffman's' material, there was always something missing: it never really sounded like Deicide. It felt more like a less-blasty Vital Remains to me, and other than Glen Benton's blasphemous lyrics (which slowly started to suck over the last few albums), contained very little that resembled the band's "trademark sound" from their golden-era. That, mixed in with lazy songwriting, bad production, and god-awful guitar leads made Deicide's last album "To Hell with God", a very disappointing album (but not terrible. In essence, it was Deicide's "World Painted Blood"), aside from the idea that Jack Owen was finally writing some material. So after that album, I told myself that I would give Deicide one more shot to reclaim their throne, and if they failed, I probably would stop following their music.

Well, it turns out that I could not possibly have picked a better time to say that, because "To Hell with God"'s follow-up is easily the best album the band has released since, "Serpents of the Light", and possibly even "Legion"! The band sounds more energetic and excited than they have in years, which lends the album a youthful atmosphere which reaches all the way back to the band's self-titled debut! Which is interesting, because this album not only revives the spirit and energy of the band's classic work, but also the overall sound. That "trademark Deicide sound" I was just talking about? It's fucking back. This album is extremely old-school, bringing both the energy and speed of "Deicide" with the irregular song-structures and ferocity of "Legion", all wrapped up in a tortilla of brutality which sounds unlike anything Deicide has ever attempted before. We can thank Kevin Quirion for this...his song-writing is truly amazing, and he delivers some of the most crushing riffs Deicide has ever delivered (the closing number, "End the Wrath of God", is a good example here), but the most notable aspect of his addition to the band are the fucking solos. His lead playing contains all the soul and passion that Ralph Santolla lacked (and baby, that is a lot!). While still melodic in nature, the solos fit the music a lot better and refrain from vomiting all over the music like a drunken buffoon with no clue what he is ruining (*cough*Ralph Santolla in Obituary*cough*). Jack Owen also does a good job, helping with Quirion on "Godkill" (one of the best songs on the disc), and creating the death metal anthem that is "Beyond Salvation" (as well as numerous others). Some of his riffs on the previous album brought to mind Cannibal Corpse...the same is not true for this album. The riffs here sound like pure Deicide, straight of the cryogenic-chamber.

Glen Benton's vocals continue where he left off from "To Hell with God" (once again, he uses his old-school vocal style rather than the guttural stuff of past albums), but he takes it a step further: Deicide's infamous over-dubbed vocals are almost completely abandoned, with only one or two screams on the entire album, and with Glen putting alot more focus and passion into his growls. I am blown away by his voice on this album...I liked what he did on the last album, but his vocals here are sharper, meaner, and more powerful than they have been in years. Lyrically, he has also stepped up the game a bit: expecting Deicide to stop singing about how much Jesus sucks is pretty ridiculous...but nonetheless there are a handful of songs on this album which lower the Satanic and Anti-Christian overtones somewhat, in favor of more personal and introverted themes which only vaguely deal with the concept of Satanism ("Between the Flesh and the Void" seems to be inspired by Glen's mother passing away). The more conventional Deicide stuff, however, where Glen rants about his hatred for God and Jesus Christ, he delivers with more passion and conviction than he has in years. Steve Asheim delivers a ridiculous drum performance as usual, this time reviving the "Lombardo beat" which he frequently used on 90's albums (imagine a standard rock beat with a snare-hit on two, rather than the standard four...that kind of describes what I mean). Personally, this is one of my favorite Asheim feels very natural to me, and while the music is not incredibly technical, that doesn't stop him from going all-out in some of these songs.

I could go on and on, but I will simply say that any fan of Deicide should check this album out. This is the true Deicide sound, and one of my favorite albums that the band has ever released.