“The next album is going to BLOW you away! BLOW you away!”
We were sitting in the 137 (Rochester, NY) RV outside the pre-show for Milwaukee Metalfest 2003*, and It was a completely casual meeting, but I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to throw down a little “hard” question at Mr. Glen Benton himself, “Can we expect major improvement on the next DEICIDE album since you changed labels?” Well, “Scars of the Crucifix” came, and, though I overrated it at the time, I was not exactly blown away. It was an improvement, but the blown away came a couple of years, and their first major line-up upheaval, later when I heard the “The Stench of Redemption 666” EP, and eventually “The Stench of Redemption”. Though, I got to it a bit later than its release as that was during my time as an industrial tourist. DEICIDE was back! Or so I thought. The extremely bland follow up, 2008’s “Til Death Do Us Part”, dropped and it was unfortunately a sign of things to come for a few years. DEICIDE once again sounded out of ideas and energy. Honestly, only the production on “In Torment, In Hell” keeps that and 2011’s “To Hell With God” ranked slightly higher. I’m not the type of music fan to emotionally invest myself in any band so I can’t say I “gave up” on DEICIDE. I know that I will at least check out anything dropped with the moniker, but I have to consider “Stench…” a fluke and approach DEICIDE releases hoping to be surprised. This brings us to “In the Minds of Evil”.
Well, I’m not surprised, but I’m not disappointed either. From the first chord of the title track to the last in “End the Wrath of God” you are given a 37 minute basic lesson in Florida style Death Metal. The mid-paced title track immediately kicks out with a song that would have easily fit on either “Once Upon The Cross” or “Serpents Of The Light”. The song pretty much lays out the format for most of the album, chunky pure Death Metal riffing; plodding simple, but effective, bass lines; and the kind of high level drum performance we’ve come to expect from Steve Asheim no matter the overall quality of the album. DEICIDE’s recent standard of heavily melodic tremolo interludes are interspersed throughout the songs, but not in a way that should make the listener envision that they are listening to anything but a Death Metal album.
Gone are the frantic pure Death Metal solos of the Hoffman brothers, but they’ve been replaced with some more Classic Rock/Blues style solos, albeit adapted to be appropriate on a DEICIDE album. Though I am a fan of much of Ralph Santolla’s guitar work I really wonder how much the addition of regular live guitarist Kevin Quirion (ORDER OF ENNEAD) to the recording process influenced the vast improvement in quality on this album from the previous two debaucheries. Benton’s vocal performance is as solid as it’s been in years. Jason Suecof, recent major indie label go-to producer, was definitely able to capture and layer Benton’s various growls and shrieks. It’s nice to hear some energy back in Benton’s vocals after the late 90’s/early 00’s. The rest of Suecof’s production is top notch, but that hasn’t been an area where Deicide has been lacking since the whole end of the Roadrunner contract behavior. I figure I needn’t say much about the lyrics. If you’re familiar with Deicide you know, and if you’re not just read the track listing above.
This is basically a slightly modernized, classic mid-era DEICIDE release. They’ll never again be able to match the sheer destructive force of their first two because their impact was complimented by a scene that was pretty much uninitiated to the Florida Death Metal’s style of brutality. Today there are young Heavy Metal revisionists, obsessed by Brutal Death Metal & Death/Grind, trying to reclassify almost all Old School Death Metal (OSDM) as Death/Thrash. DEICIDE is unapologetically OSDM, and finally after two uninspired efforts are once again not sounding like a band just going through the motions. Now, here’s where the shocker may come in, it’s still only getting a 6/10. This is a vast improvement over the oft mentioned previous two aural anesthetics, but I’d still say it’s only rockin’ 50/50 for killer vs filler. I’d absolutely recommend it to OSDM fans, and suggest most Death Metal fans at least give it a shot. I admittedly tend to not like what end up being the most popular songs among Metalheads. In other words, you may very well like this album a lot more than me, and I wouldn’t even wonder why (barring someone calling it a classic). The legendary DEICIDE has life once again, unfortunately that life has only brought them up to the status of a slightly better than average OSDM band. DEICIDE has a back catalog to try to live up to and I’d just like to see them do it. This will still get spins from me when I Metal DJ.
*The headliner of the pre-show that year was WINDIR, and from what I can tell that was the first of their only two performances in the United States.
Track Highlights: Beyond Salvation, Fallen to Silence, Kill the Light of Christ
For Fans of: Cannibal Corpse, Master, Grave
(Online November 25, 2013)