Deicide // To Hell With God
Rating: 2.5/5.0 —God bless this average mess
Label: Century Media Records
Release Dates: EU: 21.02.2011 | US: 02.21.2011

The evil one is back. Yes, he of the upside down cross branded on his forehead. It’s every one’s favorite Christ hater Glenn Benton and his buddies in Deicide and they bring us album number ten, the unsubtly monikered To Hell With God. Now, I’m all about giving these guys their due props and concede their legendary status in the death metal universe. They, along with Morbid Angel and Obituary put the Florida death metal scene squarely on the map in the 90’s. That said, they’ve been wildly inconsistent in terms of quality studio output. You never know what Deicide is going to show up, the brutal and impressive or the brutally shitty (more often the latter making the appearance). Look no further than their past two releases for proof. 2006’s The Stench of Redemption was monstrous while 2008’s Til Death Do Us Part was a steaming heap of buffalo poo. So where does the new one fall, right or shite? Let’s discuss, then we can Deicide together (sorry, had to be done).

The first thing you will notice as the title track kicks in is the production. Man, this is a very, VERY clear production for a brutal death metal album. Everything is 100% audible, all the instruments are in their own little sonic cubbie holes and sound super crisp. The next thing you’ll notice is how clean the guitar tone is. It’s not as thick and crunchy as one might expect and to be honest, it’s rather bland and flat sounding. Mr. Benton’s vocals are also a little different than usual. Yep, he still alternates between deep death roars and screams but this time out his lyrics are actually intelligible (that’s not necessarily a good thing). I can’t remember being able to decipher his lyrics since their debut (and not very much then either). With these new developments on the table, what about the material?

This is very much a standard Deicide album and the boys didn’t see fit to rewrite the book of satanic death metal. As you would expect, it’s universally fast and pummelling with nonstop pounding drums, Benton’s  anti-christian rantings and ramblings and fast, thrashed out riffing by Ralph Santolla and Jack Owen (which, this time out have more Slayer influences than before). On the title track we get effective, if unexceptional, ugly death metal packed with as much God hate as can be spewed in five minutes or less. The riffs are there but don’t stand out much. The solos by Santolla are very well done and his melodic style gives the song a key dynamic shift from the furious bashing. The chorus is oddly catchy and stands out and actually stuck in my head with only one or two listens. From there it’s pretty much thirty more minutes of the same fast, ugly death with mixed results. Some songs are solid, dependable death with decent hooks (“Save Your,” “Angels of Hell” and “Into the Darkness You Go” )  and other blast by with nothing to make them stand out (“Conviction,” “Empowered by Blasphemy” and “Hang in Agony Until You’re Dead”). The clear highlight is closing track “How Can You Call Yourself a God,” which is very Santolla solo heavy and stands out from the pack with a vaguely black metal riff pattern.

Overall, I’m left feeling this is a step up from the urine filled sinkhole that was Til Death Do Us Part, but it’s nowhere near the level of the better Deicide material. There’s an aura of average here and few of the tracks completely escape it. It feels like something is missing and most of the songs just bleed together, and not in a cool deathy way either. While it’s not terrible, there’s nothing here to make me pull this off the shelf over Stench of Redemption or Legion. Only Santolla’s fretwork stands out as above average and that just isn’t enough. Hate to say it, but this is pretty stale and boring as brutal death goes. Sorry Glenn, better luck next time. See you at the church bake sale?

  • Cra paud Ivre

    I disagree. I find this album briliant, almost better than The Stench of Redemption. It has the spontaneity which Til’ Death Do Us Part did’nt have and a subtility which, in my opinion, redefines the death metal genre. The sound is modern, the solo are catchy and the composition is simply excellent.
    Those who like the musical turn they took since The Stench Of Redemption shall probably love this album. (Excuse my poor english.)

  • Steel Druhm

    Cra Puad,

    I think we listened to a different album. To me this is very average and to be honest, nothing Deicide ever did, even at their best, was going to redefine the death metal genre. They were and are a decent band with a few above average albums and lots of crappy ones. I agree with the solos being good but composition-wise, very average death metal. Check out Demiurg.

  • Crapaud Ivre

    Ok, it may be a huge discussion about what defines the death metal genre.
    We have both listened to the same album, we just are not the same listeners ;) (fortunately by the way). But, I am a metal listener since now 20 years (no, we are not here to show who has the biggest dick, it’s just an indication ;)), I am a fan of Morbid Angel and Carcass for example, and by the past I have listened to classical bands such as Obituary, Sepultura, Entombed…but whatever… I will not describe my entire life, I think I have a certain “wide” regard upon the death metal genre, even if I don’t know the entire discography of dozens of bands.
    In my opinion, (to make short), I find the first album of Deicide one of the most influential metal discs of the 90’s. It is still one of my favorite DM album. I also find that The Stench Of Redemption is a huge album, much better than every album Deicide made during the Hoffman period (I like the Hoffman’s music too, this is not the point). Anyway, we are just different, I completely respect your point of view, you have your own smart arguments, but let me say this : Deicide is one of the biggest Death Metal bands since its creation and their last album is a big piece of work. I’m talking about the music, not the lyrics.

  • Steel Druhm

    Firstly, let me say that I respect your opinions of course. Everyone has a different view on music. Not to do the biggest dick thing either but I started listening to metal in 1980 before there was death metal, or black metal etc. etc. I also watched the genre evolve and while Deicide made a splash, that was more due to Glenn Benton being so controversial than anything Deicide did musically. They never were genre innovators. They were a good band at times but I don’t think the history books are going to give Deicide any significant place in the Death Metal Pantheon. That said, I’m glad you like the new album. I certainly didn’t hate it but I doubt I will listen to it much over their better albums.

  • Crapaud Ivre

    So…finally YOU have the biggest one ! ha ha :))

  • Steel Druhm

    Eh, I do OK. LOL.

  • Random Canadian

    “then we can Deicide together” cant lie, that was pretty funny. Can i use it?

  • Steel Druhm

    Hey Random,

    Because you asked nicely and you have an amusing sign in name, you can use it, but only in Canada.