Till Death Do Us Part
posted on 6/2008 By:
It's been a long, strange journey for Deicide up to this point, particularly in the last couple of years. Going from one of the most brilliant bands in the then-infantile death metal scene with their first two records, to one of the genre’s biggest lame ducks with the albums that followed, many (including myself) were ready to totally dismiss this outift, particularly after the string of incredibly mediocre albums released from 2000 to 2004. Then, in 2006, some pleasantly surprising things happened. The pissy Hoffman brothers finally departed the project, ex-Cannibal Corpse guitarist Jack Owen and traveling virtuoso Ralph Santolla joined the band on axe duties, and The Stench Of Redemption was released. Between that album’s explosive production, well-defined melodic sense, and the incredible shredding of Santolla, Deicide had somehow returned to prominence in a manner that was unexpected by even their long-time fans. Sure, the album was over-hyped on release; no, it wasn’t as good as Legion, or the best death metal album of the year, but from a band I personally had ruled out as irrelevant it was a strong and fresh effort, and probably would’ve earned a straight 5/5/5 from yours truly. Even though it wasn’t really a Deicide album in the traditional sense, it was clear that the lovable goons were actually making an effort to progress, and that was good.
Two years later, it's now abundantly clear that The Stench Of Redemption was (unfortunately, mind you) nothing more than a one-time fluke, rather than a true sign of an improving and evolving Deicide, as Till Death Do Us Part sees the Floridians plunging head-first back into the cesspool of laziness and redundancy that has plagued them since Once Upon The Cross. Lacking in taste instrumentally and sleep-inducing compositionally, Deicide’s latest is simply a poor, underwhelming effort, and all the more disappointing following the promise shown with Stench two years ago.
For starters, the songwriting honks. After the pointless intro “The Beginning Of The End” (and surprise, the outro is called “The End Of The Beginning--that’s deep, guys), the listener is “treated” to what is undoubtedly the dullest batch of songs that Deicide has written since the Insineratehymn days. On my initial listen, the opening twosome of “Till Death Do Us Part” and “Hate Of All Hatreds” literally had me think for a second that I had accidentally hit the back button on my iPod--most of the riffs here are not only bland and generic, but incredibly similar to one another from track to track, and this is just flat-out inexcusable in a death metal album. On top of that, often times the riffs are repeated way more than is necessary, to the point of being seriously annoying, and it really makes you wonder how long it actually took Steve Asheim to compose this album. A few days? A week? I wouldn’t be surprised. And where the bloody hell is the melody? There were some really great melodies on Stench (particularly “Death To Jesus”), and that was one of the most important aspects of that album, but I guess Deicide decided that it would be a bad idea to repeat a good idea twice, as every song on this album is totally devoid of hooks and melody at the expense of walls of tired, “evil” sounding tremolo riffage. There really isn’t that much to say about the songs at all, truthfully, and nothing to remember about them either.
It's also painfully apparent how vital Ralph Santolla was to the success of TSoR, and how much they could have used him as a full-time contributor rather than a “guest” on this release (though he still covers most of the solos). Santolla’s mind-blowing leads were easily the best aspect of the last album, and were able to single-handedly turn good-but-not-great tunes like “The Stench Of Redemption” into bombastic, melodic epics. It seems like Santolla has tried to reign himself in this time around (perhaps due to his overly-wanky performance on the new Obituary?), and the result is that he simply fails to make the impact he did on The Stench Of Redemption. There are some solid leads here, but nothing compared to the intense melodic barrages we heard from him in 2006, and it's very disappointing to say the least. Jack Owen and Glen’s bass playing are totally irrelevant, and even usually-good drummer Steve Asheim puts on a bland performance, falling overly in love with the double-kick Cannibal Corpse blastbeat and generally over-playing the material at the expense of any real groove or creativity.
In spite of the lame compositions, what really kills this release for me is Glen Benton. Apparently everyone’s favorite Christ-bashing moron mistook this outing as his debut solo album, as he literally shuts the fuck up for about thirty collective seconds throughout the entire disc, barking line after line after intolerable line of his grating vocals for the majority of just about every track. There are moments where it literally sounds like he tried to match up a lyric to every drum beat played, in some futile attempt at “rhythmic” vocals. It's incredibly irritating, and painfully reminiscent of the way he inexcusably bogged down the most recent Vital Remains album (thankfully, these songs aren‘t eight minutes long). It certainly doesn’t help that his vocals sound more plain and phoned-in than they ever have, particularly the woefully unaggressive screeches that predictably pop up in the choruses. To top it all off, the vocals are more prominent in the mix than the guitars and drums, so not only do you get to hear Benton ranting endlessly for a good forty minutes straight, but at the expense of hearing the other instruments (not that they’re doing anything that interesting anyway). The laugh-out-loud worthy lyrics are just the icing on the turd.
Everything about Till Death Do Us Part, from the poor songs, to the horrible lyrics and song titles, to the stupid cover art and “Glen Benton for President stickers," is just painfully corny and boring, and the laziness factor really does show its ugly face here in more ways than one. Frankly, I expect way more out of my death metal than this, and while I’m sure some of you will appreciate the “intensity” and “technicality” of this music, the lack of effort put into composing it should be evident to everyone. With the release of this shitheap, it's clearer than ever before that there just isn’t any reason for you to care about Deicide anymore. I know I sure as hell don’t, and I can’t think of any reason I would have to revisit this album in the future. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to rock out to some “Dead But Dreaming” to wash this bad taste out of my ears.
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