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THE METAL OBSERVER - Review - DEICIDE - Once Upon The Cross

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Deicide - Once Upon The Cross (9/10) - USA - 1995

Genre: Death Metal
Label: Roadrunner Records
Playing time: 28:14
Band homepage: Deicide


  1. Once Upon The Cross
  2. Christ Denied
  3. When Satan Rules His World
  4. Kill The Christian
  5. Trick Or Betrayed
  6. They Are The Children Of The Underworld
  7. Behind The Light Thou Shall Rise
  8. To Be Dead
  9. Confessional Rape
Deicide - Once Upon The Cross

In these times of cartoon controversies I find it appropriate to give “Once Upon The Cross” a review. When “Once Upon The Cross” where about to be released it stirred some controversy due to the fact that it was going to have a disembowelled Jesus Christ on the cover. In the end, the record company, or so do I believe, decided to censor the disembowelled body of Jesus with the help of a bloodstained sheet. So from the outside you only see the bloodstained sheet, inside the booklet you’ll find a rather messed up Jesus who, while being controversial, never stirred up the sort of anger that can be seen on your television these days; we are speaking early 2006 here.


Glen Benton should hold this record dear as it was the last time he was capable of offending anything other than people’s intelligence. Excuse me, but “Fuck Your God” and “Mad At God” sounds silly and nothing else. Both of these songs can be found on the platter of mediocrity called “Scars Of The Crucifix. Many praises the double screams used by Mr. Benton, you know those demonic roars that sounded killer 10 years ago. I would like to state that I’m sick and tired of them, overdone is my conclusion. On “Once Upon The Cross” they are used wisely/sparsely and adds something to the music instead of turning it into a drab. The vocal performance on “Once Upon The Cross” is still top notch seen from a Death Metal perspective, and still utterly shit seen from most others.


DEICIDE isn’t famous for their overly down tuned guitars, on most of their records they sound like a Death Metal band playing on Black Metal equipment. On “Once Upon The Cross” they have added some flesh to the guitar department. This is without doubt the heaviest, and also most polished, production ever found on a DEICIDE album. The job is done by the now legendary Scott Burns, a producer who recorded quite some classic Death Metal albums through his career. The reason why I call him legendary is because a great deal of the records he produced sounds good even today, in this case 11 years after its release. Giving Scott Burns all the praise for “Once Upon The Cross turning out the way it did, wouldn’t be fair. The band certainly did their contribution with excellent song such as, “Once Upon The Cross”, “Christ Denied”, “Kill The Christian” and “When Satan Rules His World”. 


When Glen screamed about killing this or that on “Once Upon The Cross”, he sounded credible. Some of us even believed the sick fucker was going to kill himself when he turned 33 years of age (He said something like that in an interview). The man is still alive. If you still are interested in leaving this place I would suggest for you to write an offensive song about Islam and perform it in Saudi Arabia. I’m sure the outcome will inspire CANNIBAL CORPSE to write a song.


“Once Upon The Cross” is arguably the best record ever released by DEICIDE, but only if you bring “Deicide” and “Legion” into the argument. It’s a long time since Glen Benton should have retired to truck driving, or whatever, but that doesn’t change the fact that this band has recorded some classic songs through their career. Many of those classics can be found on “Once Upon The Cross”. (Online March 8, 2006)

Arve Henriksen

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