I have to admit, Deicide’s last album, “Till Death Do Us Part,” was not my favorite from their discography. That is not to say that it wasn’t awesome. It just didn’t live up to the standards set by their previous works. The intro was too long and lead into a mid-paced song. The album didn’t gain momentum until the third track. Once it got underway, it was great, although at times it seemed like they were trying to match the style of Polish bands, such as Behemoth or Vader. For the most part, though, the album held no real surprises, fitting right in with every other Deicide album.
Their latest release, “To Hell With God,” is no different in that respect. Unlike “Till Death Do Us Part,” the album starts with the fast-paced brutality right away, and aside from a couple of moments, keeps it all the way through the album. The mix is clean, without sounding too muddled. Yet the sound is big and crushing, pummeling the listener’s ears into submission. No instrument sounds buried in the mix. The drums are clear as ever. My one advice would be to listen to this on the best speakers possible, though. Being death metal, the thick sound does not work well on cheap speakers, say on a laptop. I digress, though; that’s a broad statement which really applies to any good brutal death metal release. As far as this album is concerned, at this point in their career, it would be very odd indeed if Deicide did not have the best production possible.
Glen Benton’s vocals are varied as usual, although it seems as if they’ve added more to the mix than they usually do. It adds another layer to the sound, to be sure. The best part, again, is the mix. They had all of those vocals to work with, and they knew exactly what volume to assign to each. Of course the low-end growls are at the forefront.
As far as songwriting is concerned, this album is a group effort. The songwriting is split between drummer Steve Asheim and guitarist Jack Owen, with leads by Ralph Santella. Oh, yes, and let us not forget Benton’s anti-Christian lyrics. The lyrics are percussive just to read, let alone hear… although he seems to have had a thing for simply writing “Die!” in a lot of the songs. The music is technical without being too showy. It’s just enough to remind the listener that with brutality can come melody, too. This is where the aforementioned mix comes in handy. Aside from the basic elements of songwriting, Santella’s leads are quick and precise. They get the job done without sounding too “airy.” There lies another aspect of the album superior to “Till Death Do Us Part.”
One part of the album that worries me is in the song “Hang in Agony Until You’re Dead.” There’s a mid-paced part of that song that, while not actually a breakdown, could conceivably entice the core kids to jump in the pit. As far as listening goes, it’s great, but one wonders if this section was snuck in there to intentionally to broaden their audience. It gets right back into the swing of things soon enough, carrying through to the end of the album. The only other slow section to the album is at the beginning of the last song, “How Can You Call Yourself a God.” That’s fine, that’s where a slow part of an album should be.
This album is great as a stand-alone death metal album. As far as Deicide’s overall discography is concerned, it certainly adds to the collection, but does not quite expand their boundaries. Perhaps that’s what they don’t want to do. A Deicide album is going to sound like a Deicide album. Fine, but I still maintain if you’re going to get one album by them get “Scars Of The Crucifix.” Overall, though, “To Hell With God” is a great album, getting my horns way up.