Released: 2004, Earache
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
They’re baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!! It’s safe to say we can all forget the debacle of Deicide’s last few years on Roadrunner Records. The label didn’t want them there anymore than the band wanted to be there. INSINERATEHYMN and IN TORMENT IN HELL were thrown together and released with no push from the label. The band’s frustration came through in the music and the fans knew it. Deicide was a s close to written off as they could be when it was announced they jumped ship and signed with Earache Records last summer. Glen Benton had raised his profile singing on Vital Remains’ brilliant DECHRISTIANIZE CD and interest was renewed once again for a new Deicide CD. Finally, SCARS OF THE CRUCIFIX is the album Deicide fans have been waiting for for over 8 years. The last great record the band released was 1995’s ONCE UPON THE CROSS and this new one picks up right where OUTC left off. The groundbreaking solos we expect from the Hoffman brothers are here. Benton’s lyrics, though still less than stellar, are what we have come to expect from him and his double-tracked vocals are still used. Steve Asheim and Benton hold a remarkably tight rhythm section given the speed and brutality of Deicide’s music. The band obviously has a sense of energy and determination that has been missing for years and they lay it out here. SCARS OF THE CRUCIFIX will make fans forget the dismal years that plagued Deicide and essentially open a new chapter for the band with an improved outlook.
The title track fades in with the heavy Hoffman riffs and deep bass courtesy of Benton. Eric Hoffman’s lead is absolutely incredible and Benton’s vocals are as evil as ever. “Mad At God” returns the band to the breakneck speed riffage and creativity that has eluded them over the last few albums. “Fuck Your God” is the heaviest track on the CD and Benton spews his vocals out with such intensity, speed and hate that it is scary! You almost feel yourself being banished to eternal torment just for listening to this track. “Fuck your God/Holy Mother for the whore she is”…OUCH!! The Hoffmans trade off on the solos here and they are delivered at lightning speed. “When Heaven Burns” is one of the best tracks on the CD, with its technically superior playing, slightly slower (for Deicide, anyway) tempo and amazing guitars that kick in around 3:10. Benton howls like a madman on this track and his evil is almost bone chilling. If ever a song was written that summed up everything they try to convey in their music, it is “Go Now Your Lord Is Dead.” At 1:54 in length, the song is short but to the point. The lyrics tell the story of all that bothers Deicide about religion and the brutally fast double-bass drums and guitar riffs will punish your soul. The final track, “The Pentecostal,” ends the same way as the CD opens with a fade in, but this time to some backwards music and finally a piano outro…a PIANO!...ON A DEICIDE CD?!?! There is no mention of who is playing the keys in the booklet or anything, but it is certainly a strange addition to the CD!
There is also a bonus DVD that comes with the limited edition version of SCARS OF THE CRUCIFIX entitled, BEHIND THE SCARS – UNDER THE SKIN OF DEICIDE. Basically, it is a 35-minute look at the band and what they do during their off-time. Glen rides his Harley, Brian has crazy tattoos (the huge Satan across his throat should dispel any thread of doubt that these guys are “poseurs”) and Steve is a firearms enthusiast. There is some in-studio footage but barely 5 minutes in total and it consists of Benton laying down vocal tracks at Morrisound in Tampa. The most interesting segment is courtesy of Brian, where he discusses the early history of the band and the extremes they went to to get noticed.
Deicide fans can breathe easy again knowing that the band hasn’t lost its way and is back on track again with SCARS OF THE CRUCIFIX. Whether it was strictly the label change or if Benton’s venture out of the band with Vital Remains helped kick start his enthusiasm again, I don’t know. Don’t ask questions. Just fall on your knees and bow before the mighty...DEICIDE!!!!