The Stench Of Redemption
New blood allows death metal legends to shine again
Deicide are one of the most controversial bands of recent times for different reasons. Historically, it's been outspoken frontman and bassist Glen Benton who has been at the centre of it, but more recently, the well publicised split between the band's long time guitarists, Brian and Eric Hoffman, and Benton and drummer Steve Asheim. The split was finalised in late 2004 prior to an impending European tour and the Hoffman's officially became ex-Deicide members. However, Benton was never going to let this stop him. He quickly recruited ex-Cannibal Corpse guitarist Jack Owen and Vital Remains guitarist Dave Suzuki into the fold. Owen is now a permanent member of Deicide, whilst Suzuki returned to Vital Remains to be replaced by Ralph Santolla (ex-Death, Iced Earth) full time. Deicide's eighth studio album, The Stench Of Redemption, is their first with the band's injection of new blood, and it shines as quite possibly their best release since 1995's Once Upon The Cross.
Rumblings drums and crushing riffs pave the way for the title track, The Stench Of Redemption, which opens the latest metal assault from Deicide. It almost seems like business as usual for Deicide although the more aurally pleasing production is an instant step up for the band. But the melodic riffs at the 90 second mark and the later more obviously melodic, sweeping guitar leads signal a new, rejuvenated Deicide which is a very welcome twist indeed. Death To Jesus and Desecration, two typically titled Deicide numbers, unleash no end of furious drumming, bludgeoning riffs and more of those amazing leads, with the haunting guitars that permeate through the slower sections of the latter track pushing it to the forefront of an album of consistently solid material.
Crucified For The Innocence and Walk With The Devil In Dreams You Behold continue the relentless assault of thrashing riffs and awesome melodic lead breaks whilst Benton stamps his trademark vocal delivery throughout. Homage For Satan, which was made available as a special 6/6/6 mix as a teaser to the album, reeks of sheer brutality in it's final form and the harmony thrash inspired lead breaks are refreshing in a Deicide song to say the least! Not Of This Earth feels more like a earlier Deicide, as does Never To Be Seen Again which is yet another fine display of the ability of human drum machine, Steve Asheim. The eerie beginnings to the final track, The Lord's Sedition, is further new territory for these long standing death metal legends, and whilst particularly 80s thrash influenced, they set the scene for one hell of a finale and that it certainly is!
When Deicide unleashed their self titled debut in 1990 at a time when the death metal scenes (in Swedish and Florida, U.S.A) were flourishing, they soon established themselves as a major player. But lacklustre releases from 1997's Serpents Of The Light onwards, soon saw the group's profile fall by the wayside with the band becoming just another death metal act. This is no longer the case with the injection of new blood into the band's line-up clearly signalling the dawn of a new era for Deicide, and The Stench Of Redemption is easily their finest work since 1995's Once Upon The Cross. Essential death metal!
(Earache Records/Riot! Distribution)