In the Minds of Evil
Century Media Records/EMI Music Australia
Reviewed By Michael O'Brien
Album 11 brings with it very few surprises
There was a non-trivial period of time for me when Florida’s Deicide were one of the most important bands in the world but, at the risk of sounding like a joyless, crotchety old bastard, I haven’t really cared about anything the band has done past Once Upon the Cross which came out some 18 years ago. While I still love Legion to pieces and even hold a special place for Once Upon the Cross, the truth is that something changed around the time Serpents of the Light came out – maybe it was me, maybe it was them, but whatever it was, it has lingered for the better part of two decades. Even 2006’s The Stench of Redemption – an album that received generally high praise across the board – did very little for me, so the decision to tackle Deicide’s latest release, In the Minds of Evil, was one borne of sheer curiosity to see what’s going on in the camp these days.
So, here we are with Deicide’s 11th full-length album and, to nobody’s surprise I’m sure, we are offered 11 tracks of mid-paced, thrashy death metal with decent amounts of groove and plenty of uninteresting, monotone barking from lead-man Glen Benton who still appears to be rather miffed with God after all of these years. No, it seems that not much changes in the Deicide camp save for Order of Ennead’s Kevin Quirion once again resuming guitar duties after the departure of Ralph Santolla.
What strikes me most about In the Minds of Evil (and modern Deicide in general, to be perfectly fair) is how toothless and generic it sounds, especially when you consider just how full-on and dangerous the band was when they were in their hey-day. With respect to the album’s lack of bite, I think the production probably has to wear a fair bit of the flack because it is overly clean and lacking in much of anything that could be considered a beefy bottom end, but this isn’t the whole story. No, the blame for the album’s lack of creative spark ultimately rests with those responsible for composing the material which, honestly, is far more miss than hit with only the occasional reprieve from the painfully generic throughout the album’s 36-minute running time.
Things get off to a reasonable start with the album’s titular track which is an upbeat, thrashy romp whose momentum is carried through the next couple of tracks. Equally enjoyable is the melodic and surprisingly catchy central riff of Kill the Light of Christ, not to mention the guitars’ frequent dips into almost Azagthothian territory with plenty of oddball solos and dive bombs scattered throughout many of the tracks on the album. These are all positive things, to be sure, but the problem is that these are but mere diversions from the otherwise very predictable, very uninteresting song-writing that dominates the bulk of the disc. None of what’s been written is bad, per se, and no one is suggesting that Deicide need to morph into a Wormed clone to be relevant but, man, most of what we’re served up here is textbook Deicide stuff that will be forgotten just as quickly as it’s been heard.
If it were to be taken purely in isolation, In the Minds of Evil is probably a decent enough album with an adequate amount of melody, groove, aggression, and overall catchiness to keep punters happy, at least in the short term. The problems creep in when you consider that, compared to Deicide’s best output, it comes up well short, and, there isn’t always a correlation between catchy and groovy and an album’s replay-value - a quality that this platter definitely does not possess. In the Minds of Evil is the definition of an album that’s doomed to be consumed then purged.