Overtures of Blasphemy
Century Media Records/Sony Music Australia
Reviewed By Simon Milburn
As one of the pioneering bands from the flourishing Florida (U.S.A.) death metal scene in the very early '90s, it was somewhere after their move to Earache Records that my attention waned. There’s no doubt their first three albums are certified, undisputable classics. But by the time their contract was winding up with their fostering label Roadrunner Records, it was evident that their song writing had suffered due to internal issues. Line-up and label changes would be interwoven through the band’s history for the next decade but the band persisted to varying degrees of success.
Whilst there are quite a number of the old guard, the original guard, of death metal still churning out releases these days, perhaps it is a case of age wearying them as much as it is a case of them struggling to find something new to say in terms of their musical output. Deicide burst on the scene and unleashed an unholy trinity of savage death metal upon the world that would, at the time, secure their place as one of metal’s most notorious acts. Not only was the music incredible and fresh, the lyrics and song titles were down right confronting back then.
Fast forward 28 years since the release of their debut, and Deicide are still going on about the same ol’ thing. They hated God then and it’s no surprise to anyone that their stance hasn’t changed now. Nothing’s changed. Whilst the line-up is different, the message is very much the same. The other thing that seems to be the norm for the band these days is that the riffs don’t have the complexity of earlier releases. Truth be told, this has been a hit and miss trend that started after the departure of the Hoffman brothers on guitars after the release of 2001’s In Torment, In Hell.
The songs themselves aren’t bad. In fact, the opening cut “One With Satan”, certainly gets things off to a decent start. Whilst not quite quintessential Deicide, for anyone that enjoyed the likes of Scars of the Crucifix or The Stench of Redemption, I think it’s fair to say you’ll enjoy the band’s latest album too. Titled Overtures of Blasphemy, the dozen tracks offered up here are generally engaging even taking into consideration my previous comments about the lack of complexity of the riffs throughout. The song composition makes up some of that lost ground and when combined with some tasty lead guitar work and vocalist Glen Benton’s inimitable and unmistakeable growl, Overtures of Blasphemy shows that there is still some life left in the beast known as Deicide.
I’m sure there are plenty that will berate the band’s twelfth long player as “just another modern forgettable Deicide album”. Perhaps that is true for some people. I’ve spent some time with this and their past few albums recently and after giving this new one more than a few spins, the likes of “Seal the Tomb Below”, “All That is Evil”, “Excommunicated” and “Crucified Soul of Salvation” begin to stand out.
Overtures of Blasphemy isn’t a masterpiece and it certainly will not rewrite Deicide lore. A dozen songs clocking in at 38 minutes and to be fair, Glen and Co. could have dropped a couple of tracks, brought it back closer to the 30minute mark and I think the album overall would have been better for it. Whilst Overtures of Blasphemy will not threaten the stature of the band’s earliest work, it’s at least above average when compared to the band’s output in the last decade or two.