To Hell With God
posted on 2/2011 By:
So it appears that Glen Benton has gotten all the personal, anti-marriage, anti-wife and divorce bullshit that filled the In Torment In Hell awfulness of 2008's lame ‘Til Death Do Us Part out of his system and returned to doing what he does best: hating God.
Many, myself included, maybe thought that Scars of the Crucifix and The Stench of Redemption were flukes after ‘Til Death Do Us Part dropped, but if those two albums were Deicide’s self-titled and Legion albums of the new millennium, then To Hell With God is the Once Upon the Cross or Serpents of the Light: satisfying, expected, and unspectacular but unabashedly Deicide.
Down to the artwork, To Hell With God , the band's tenth album, feels like Benton is refreshed and invigorated (again), having the cathartic previous album out of his system. Armed with a shiny new Mark Lewis production (Lewis was the engineer on albums by The Black Dahlia Murder, Trivium and DevilDriver), Deicide’s sound is back to the crisp Floridian tones of Scott Burns / Jim Morris rather than Steve Asheim’s murky production that marred ‘Til Death Do Us Part. Even the songwriting seems revitalized. Though not on par with Scars or Stench, To Hell still features lots of Jack Owen and Ralph Santolla leads and has a typical sense of dynamic, anti-Christian fury that’s been a staple of Deicide for twenty years. Right from the starting title track, the next 35 minutes is mostly pure top-notch Deicide and immediately puts the album after Legion, Deicide, Stench and Scars as far as quality. (That's my opinion only, of course.) Benton sounds as demonic as ever, preferring less layering and more blast furnace roars.
“To Hell With God” features a sneakily melodic chord progression in the chorus as Benton bellows with as much primal rage as he did nearly a quarter of a century ago. Followed up by the classic Deicide pace of “Save Your….” and “Witness of Death”, it’s obvious that, even with shiny new solos, Benton and Asheim have delved into Deicide past for much of the songwriting. The album just feels like an early 90s Deicide album, and when blended in with the band's early discography (as I currently have in my iPod), it slots in perfectly. Part of the nostalgic feel is Santolla and Owen don’t overdo the solos, and there’s nothing as melodic as on Scars or Stench, but the more shrill, technical leads that grace the likes of “Witness of Death”, the otherwise slow lurch of “Conviction”, the classic-sounding “Angels of Hell”, “Into the Darkness You Go” and the epic, standout closer “How Can you Call Yourself a God”.
The only tracks that I might consider duds would be “Empowered by Blasphemy” and the debut preview track, the furiously bland “Hang in Agony Until You're Dead”- so if you disliked that track, at least give the rest of the album a try. But when sandwiched in between the fire-and-brimstone assaults of “Servant of the Enemy” and “Into the Darkness You Go” which are sure to bring a smile to Deicide fans and fans of pure death metal, the entirety of the album is perfect. Welcome back (again), Glen. I'm actually glad you didn't fulfill your "Suicide by 30" prediction....
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In the Minds of Evil
Till Death Do Us Part
The Stench of Redemption
Scars of the Crucifix