Released: 2006, Earache Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
The drama surrounding Deicide over the past two years has done nothing else, if not kept their name on people’s minds. After staging a brilliant comeback in 2004 with SCARS OF THE CRUCIFIX, guitarists Eric and Brian Hoffman seemed to be at the centre of allegations, arrests and finger-pointing that ultimately saw them quit the band or get fired, depending on whom you ask. In their place stepped ex-Cannibal Corpse axe-slinger Jack Owen and Ralph Santolla, formerly of Iced Earth. The ensuing tour saw an immensely rejuvenated band and vocalist/bassist Glen Benton with a new lease on life (death?). Many fans may have written off Deicide under the assumption that “no Hoffmans = no Decide” but Benton and Asheim have clearly picked themselves up by the bootstraps and soldiered on with their strongest material in years.
As a teaser (and PR person’s dream), Deicide chose to release a two-song EP entitled THE STENCH OF REDEMPTION on June 6, 2006—666, get it? The EP, available exclusively through Apple iTunes for the low price of $1.99, tallies only eight-and-a half-minutes but what a gloriously evil, hellaciously heavy and breathtakingly brutal sojourn it is. The guitars are absolutely brilliant in their playing here, something that eluded Owen in his final years with Cannibal Corpse and to most people at least, never realized with Santolla in his years with Millennium and Eyewitness. The solos are tight, superbly-written and flawlessly executed, while the tired riffs that dogged albums like INSINERATEHYMN and IN TORMENT IN HELL have been sharpened to a razor-sharp point, especially on “Crucified For The Innocence.” Glen Benton sounds like his usual guttural self, with sparingly-used screams here and there (the notorious double-tracking of Benton’s vocals seems to be minimized), while the frenetic blasting and technically-precise drumming from drummer Steve Asheim is good ol’ Deicide to the core. If these two tracks are any indication of what to expect on the full-length (due later in 2006), fans will have long-forgotten the Hoffman brothers as Deicide appears ready to take on Satan himself once again.
Fans who gave up on Deicide after SERPENTS OF THE LIGHT can rejoice in the fact that the band has finally found its feet again on THE STENCH OF REDEMPTION. Even though this is only a two song sampling of Deicide’s new music, it is readily apparent that the band has breathed new life into its lungs with the expulsion of Eric and Brian Hoffman and Owen and Santolla taking over. This is a new chapter in Deicide’s career and while the music is certainly different, sometimes different is better.
KILLER KUTS: “Crucified For The Innocence”