Release DetailsLABEL Earache
RELEASED ON 2/24/2004
Scars of the Crucifix
posted on 2/2004 By:
Blah blah Deicide have sucked for a few albums, blah blah Benton joins Vital Remains, blah Dechristianize, one of the best death metal albums of 2003, blah blah Deicide signs with Earache, blah new album Scars of the Crucifix.
There. Rather than rehash the storied last few months of Mr. Benton’s trials and tribulations, any self respecting metal head knows the back-story for this album, so I’ll get straight to the points you want to know. 1) Yes, this is the best Deicide album since Once Upon the Cross. And 2) No, Scars of the Crucifix is not Dechristianize pt 2. I myself thought that Benton’s involvement in Vital Remains would have resulted in blatant rip off, but to his and the band's credit, Deicide have made an album that still retains the old personality of Deicide. Granted his time in Vital Remains may have rubbed off somewhat, but those expecting a plethora of harmonic solos or epic 10 minute songs will be sorely disappointed. What Scars does do is show a renewed vigor from Benton and Co., and like others aging scene starters (Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, etc) they may have been surpassed by younger bands in a continually evolving genre, but Deicide simply do Deicide, nothing else.
Eerily structured like their 1990 debut, Scars is 9 songs, twenty eight minutes, all ripe with the usual heaven hating lyrics, Benton’s trademark dual vocals, and pretty much continual hypersonic blast beats that were noticeably missing from the last 2 albums. While certainly not the fastest kids on the block like they once were, Deicide are a pissed off old man chasing the annoying new kids off thier lawn; Deicide are capable of great speed over short distances. The chunky slower riffs are gone, and Deicide rip through the 10 tracks with merciless energy that shows fatherhood hasn’t slowed down the old cacodemon after all. Everything about Scars is improved from their last two or three underwhelming efforts, the suddenly popular Neil Kernon production is blistering, Steve Ashiem reasserts himself as one of the scene's long forgotten drumming talents, and the Hoffman brothers rediscover themselves as guitarists, playing riffs and solos you thought they had long forgotten after listening to Insineratehymn. Now don’t get me wrong, Scars isn’t the genre invigorating or classic albums that Dechristianize, Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka or even Deicide’s self titled debut were, instead it’s a forte of familiar themes in a musical time capsule that ooze a sense of catharsis for Deicide that seems mad at themselves for allowing the last 3 albums to see the light of day.
From the opening title track, the anger and rage on Scars is more palatable than anything the band spewed forth over the last few forgetful efforts; from the visceral title track, through “Mad at God”, “Fuck Your God”, “Enchanted Nightmare” and the killer groove laden album closer "The Pentecostal", Scars doesn’t let up, as if Deicide intentionally and forcefully want to make you forget In Torment in Hell as if it never happened. Scars succeeds in doing just that, and is the ‘return to form’ (much like Cannibal Corpse’s The Wretched Spawn) album that Heretic and Gore Obsessed wanted to be. Of course, comparisons to Dechristianize are going to be made, but they are strictly superficial, the solos are a little more deft, but only the stunning solo that closes out the title track gives hearty nod to Dave Suzuki’s epic fret play, otherwise Deicide simply rely on brute force, whereas Vital Remains slices and dices you.
Ballistically simple yet satisfying, Scars of the Crucifix is a welcome return for a band that simply won’t stay down, and despite what you think of Benton’s antics, you have to love his staying power and Scars is a testament to that. The Blasphemy is indeed back.
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