When it comes to Christ-raping death metal, you can't do much better than Deicide. Is the Satanic schtick getting old? Well, yes, but inverted cross-branded frontman Glen Benton explored new territory on the band's latest album - 2008's 'Til Death Do Us Part. Just one problem...the music was a letdown. That's why I'm going back to 2006's The Stench of Redemption, which is easily one of the best death metal albums of this decade. It set the bar so high, that any follow-up would have sounded meager. The revamp line-up consisted of death metal stalwarts Ralph Santolla and former Cannibal Corpse axeman Jack Owen. Needless to say, the guitars on this record are fucking epic.
Every song is charged up with extended soloing. The lead work could be considered wanky (because it is), but I don't care. Each solo feels carefully mapped out. Whether or not they were carefully mapped out is kind of irrelevant. The title track is my favorite organ-grinder. Glen sounds positively demonic. I like his delivery, although I don't hold him in the highest regard as a death vocalist. He doesn't enunciate very well, and on the earlier albums, his dry tone didn't jive with the thin production. "Death to Jesus" is self-explanatory. Fuck, that's a metal song. The solo is almost too beautiful for such a brutish song. Almost.
The first half of Redemption is infallible. After Satanic Conjuration #6, the dashing "Homage For Satan," the relentless nature of the album grows tiring. It's a lot to take in, which isn't to say that the last four tracks are grotty rummage. It's just a hard album to listen to all the way through. It's a good thing that you can hear every instrument clearly. The production is clean without sounding too digital. The sound quality is both "old-school" and "new-school" in its reach. I would be remiss if I didn't mention Steve Asheim's spectacular performance on the drums. He puts on a clinic. There is something about his blastbeats. I don't know, man...there is something about them.
Do I need to talk about the lyrics? They're serviceable, I suppose. I'm not a Satanist, but I do enjoy unapologetic blasphemy when I see or hear it. It's like watching a good b-movie. If Motorhead is the AC/DC of speed metal, why can't Deicide be the AC/DC of Satanic death metal? It it ain't broke, sacrifice it and offer it to the Prince of Darkness! While I'm at it, I'll tell you that 2004's Scars of the Crucifix is another winner. Don't expect the same kind of gymnastic guitar solos, though. Also, check out Order of Ennead, a cool black metal four-piece that features Steve Asheim on the skins. Tasty stuff.