When I was sixteen years of age in the late 80’s, there were rumblings in the underground of bands forming a new genre that would take the world by storm. A genre of metal that was the pole opposite of glam and more mainstream metal that at the time gave us angst-ridden teenagers an outlet for their aggression. A genre of music that no one thought would survive due to its lack of appeal and here we are, thirty years later, still talking about that same genre of music that has been in my heart since those days. I am of course talking about death metal where only a handful of bands earn near enough to make a living from their music. Bands back then had to be controversial, obscene and believe what they were spewing forth in their lyrics. One such band needs no introduction as they have helped create and enhance the scene that they belong to. That band is none other than Deicide.
I will never forget the experience of listening to the debut Deicide where everything from the front cover to the lyrics to the production just blew me away. I remember being at school and writing the lyrics to “Crucifixation” on a teacher’s blackboard and learning how to draw the trifixion, cursing when someone drew it wrong on the back of a bus at a Sepultura gig at the Barrowlands. My relationship with Deicide, as with a lot of older bands, has been a love / hate one. Bands like Obituary, Autopsy and Deicide, I did not want them to progress and move on. Deicide have moved on from my two favourite albums, Deicide and Once Upon the Cross, and from then I have gone from worshipping the band to dabbling in their most recent output. However, as soon as this album reached our review list I grabbed it with both hands as something said that it would be a return to form. Let’s see if my sixth sense was correct.
Before listening to Overtures of Blasphemy and the opening track “One with Satan”, I have to compliment the artwork of the album from Zbigniew Bielak who has created the best album cover Deicide have ever had. It’s a mixture of traditional Decide mixed with Cannibal Corpse at their goriest and is simply magnificent. Deicide like to remind everyone of their anti-Christian roots and with this opening track, they hark back to their early 90s days of blasphemy but with a modern death metal touch. I also got the feel of the Once Upon The Cross album within this track many times and that is a major plus in my book.
Something that has changed enormously from the early days to latter-day Deicide is Steve Asheims’ drumming and how much of a lethal death metal drummer that he is. This is very apparent in the track “Crawled from the Shadows” where his speed and technicality over the years have been honed into perfecting his art becoming a beast behind the kit. Glen’s vocals sound as good as they have done in years and certainly has become a better vocalist the older he gets. With guitarist Kevin being in the band for pretty much ten years and newer but established guitarist Mark English of Monstrosity fame, the riffs are fast, technical and precise as you would expect. Mark has huge shoes to fill with Jack Owen leaving but he fits into the overall Deicide sound very well.
“Seal The Tomb Below” is almost a sing-a-long Deicide song with its catchy death metal riff and to be honest, this will probably be a song they will not play live. “Compliments Of Christ” is much more like it opening with a modern day death metal riff ala Amon Amarth with Glen’s tongue in cheek lyrics. Much more mid-paced with Steve’s relentless double bass making this a track to remember. As the song goes on, this is the modern day Deicide and I like it very much.
“All That Is Evil” starts off mid-paced again, and again reminds me of something off Once Upon the Cross. This is old school death metal at its best and the solos on this track are the best of the album so far. Being more controlled and atmospheric than what the Hoffman brothers could ever do, these multiple solos suit this modern day Deicide sound. Next, we get to “Excommunicated” which was the debut video release for this album and was certainly one that whetted my appetite for this album. It certainly is a highlight of the album and has a killer solo intro to boot. Glen sounds perfect on this track more than any other and with all the musicians putting in their best performance on this track I feel that this is my highlight of the album. The time changes and the times when to head bang and to get in the pit were timed to perfection.
Second Opinion (Mosh) I’m a huge fan of Legion which I feel has stood the test of time, but intervening albums have been a bit hit and miss. Overtures of Blasphemy is mainly “hit” though suffers a little from now sounding a little generic in what’s become a crowded scene. This isn’t really Deicide’s fault – when they started off they were pretty revolutionary, but 20-some years later there are many impersonators (or bands heavily influenced by them).
However, being able to create an album with a fistful of tracks that make me feel like I want to howl at a blood-red moon and rip the flesh off some deserving waste of oxygen is always a good sign. Recommended.
“Anointed In Blood” is another guitar friendly tune with incessant double bass once again from Steve and is again a modern day take on death metal with its stunning intro. “Crucified Soul Of Salvation” was like a slap in the face and away with this modern day death metal and is one for the old school fans. Deep guttural growls from Glen matching frenetic riffs and almost blast beat drumming and bass made this listener bang his head and raise his horns. “Defying The Sacred” again opens with stunning solos which have not really been heard of in a Deicide album before and brings something unique and pleasing to the overall new Deicide sound. A very highly enjoyable death metal track with all the ingredients you need and want from death metal.
What this album needs to make you want to listen to the whole album again is a strong ending and starting with “Consumed By Hatred”, you have a mid-paced head banger’s dream. Steve’s drumming style once again giving the listener all the ammunition you need to bang your head aplenty with this tune. “Flesh Power Dominion” is slightly faster in the most parts with blast beats in places with atmospheric guitar solos once again before culminating in furious blast beats. “Destined To Blasphemy” starts off with a slow head banging riff before speeding up into the fastest drumming I think Steve has conjured in Deicide. Riffs that are on fire and Glen’s demonic vocals make this a devastating old school death metal ending to a great album.
Deicide have released a modern-day death metal album but have not altogether forgotten their old school leanings culminating in an essential death metal album and a return to form for Deicide. Glen has matured into an even stronger frontman and backed with his partner in crime Steve Asheim behind the kit bringing in the old school elements. Whilst guitarists Kevin and Mark bring the modern day mix of death metal, what Deicide have is a perfectly balanced album appealing to both new and old fans alike. Well played Deicide – and I am now going to press the repeat button.
Overtures of Blasphemy is out September 14th