Every few years Deicide drops a new death platter and attempts to re-plant the banner of classic Floridian death into the skull of metaldom. With Morbid Angel now a techno/rave act and Obituary all but obituarized, Glen and his merry band of deviled eggs are the Sunshine State’s last champion of note, and though they wouldn’t have been my choice for that honor, it’s fallen to them to keep the style and sound alive. I’ve had a like and hate relationship with the band over their storied career and the only albums I find essential are Legion and The Stench of Redemption. The rest of their catalogue is average to below average death, including 2011s To Hell With God, which I haven’t returned to since reviewing it. I expected more of the same here, but In the Minds of Evil is slightly better and shows improvement on a few fronts. It’s still groove-heavy, overly chugging death with bad vocals and hardly what I’d call a “must hear” album, but it’s competent and their “satanic caveman rampaging through the Vatican” approach can be entertaining at times (in moderation).
There are some quality cuts here, like the opening title track which storms along with copious piss, vinegar and testosterone. It reminds me of the Legion era and the riffing is more ripping than usual. Team that with some nifty solos and it shows the better side of these demonic wing-nuts. “Thou Begone” has some nice Middle Eastern influence sprinkled in with insane blast-beats to create a poor man’s Nile vibe, “Beyond Salvation” and “Between the Flesh and the Void” have a strong, old school Morbid Angel feel to the riffs and structure which can never hurt, and “Kill the Light of Christ” is oddly catchy in its anthemic Christ hatred and the chorus is actually a chorus (kinda). I also enjoy the riff patterns around 1:41 which remind me of old Possessed.
Then there are the songs like “Godkill,” “Misery of One” and “Fallen to Silence” which bore me and feel like filler, though each has an interesting moment or two, usually provided by the solo work. The problem with these kinds of songs is the Deicide template itself, which so often relies on simple, chuggy, groove-riffing which isn’t aging well and at times is indistinguishable from other Neanderthal death acts like Jungle Rot. This makes the music less impactful and interesting to me and it doesn’t give me the rush I crave from my death metal.
I was sad to see Ralph Santolla split after To Hell With God, as his melodic, fluid and flowing solos were one of the few things that really worked for me on that platter. While Jack Owen is always solid and new/old guitarist Kevin Quirion is talented and both uncork some nice solos, they just aren’t as impressive as Santollo’s were and that’s a shame. Riff-wise, this is an improvement over the last album and the fact there’s a bigger Morbid Angel vibe and a smaller Slayer vibe is welcome. However, too many songs are saddled with standard issue Deicide riffage which feels old, tired and just doesn’t work for me anymore.
Vocally, I’ve never been a big fan of Benton’s style. While I thought he was interesting on the older albums when he mixed in a lot of effects and screams, over the years he’s settled into a monotonous, one note croak which rarely deviates from the Hrrrr-Grrr-Frrrr made so infamous by Chris Barnes. He’s fully stuck in one gear throughout In the Minds of Evil and his staccato belching is as uninteresting as it is uninspiring.
Sound-wise, this is another clean, crisp production, which does a disservice to the brootal, allegedly evil music. It’s a tad less clean and polished than last time, but would still greatly benefit from more rawness, murk and a bigger, more wicked guitar tone.
Another year, another Deicide album I’ll likely never spin again, even if it is a bit better overall than To Hell With God. Where is the passion and creative force the band had on The Stench of Redemption? Why can’t they manage to recapture even a portion of that heady death metal pop? In the Minds of Evil sounds like a band content to rumble along in the same exact paradigm until Judgment Day arrives. I’m not sure that flag of Floridian death can remain flying long with such a protector.
Label: Century Media Records
Websites: Too evil for the interwebs
Release Dates: EU: 2013.11.25 | NA: 11.26.2013
Written By: Madam X
What reels you back in when your anger’s bubbling so high in the back of your throat that you can almost taste the vile bitterness? What breaks through the clutter and slows the freight train trying to break free from your chest? For me, it’s Deicide‘s The Stench of Redemption – those interweaving musical lines, the barrage of ferocity broken by unexpected deathly silence, the heavy rhythms, fast guitars, blast-beats and of course, Glen Benton’s instantly recognizable, blasphemous lyrics and seething death growls. As much as these Florida death metal giants kick religion in the keester and do everything in their power to repulse the masses, their delicately balanced blend of brutality and melody in their 2006 release completely calms and distracts me from my anger. Said to be the second best-selling death metal band of all time, Deicide have a discography as long as my arm and now, a nice tidy two years after the release of To Hell With God, Deicide are adding another cog in their abhorrent all-American death metal machine with In The Minds of Evil.
The title track, “In The Minds of Evil” sees Deicide fighting to unlock Hell’s gate and frantically drive out the legions. While I find the track packed with hooks, it’s not delivering anything new or particularly unsettling. Vocally Benton sounds like, well, Benton albeit projecting a less deranged face than in The Stench of Redemption or going back even further to Legion, and it feels like with every release Deicide become more focused on trying to achieve commercial success. Benton’s vocals are far more monotonous on this release, with only moments here and there in the title track, “Thou Begone,” “Trample The Cross” and “Between The Flesh And The Void,” giving hints to yesteryear’s gnarled growls and the sadly missed screams. This is despite indications from Deicide that they’ve tried to reanimate elements of Legion – I guess vocals got lost in the resurrection process?
This album sees the departure of Ralph Santolla and the return of long time session guitarist Kevin Quirion (Order of Ennead, Shadow Society and ex-Council of the Fallen) who, along with veteran Jack Owen (Adrift, ex-Beyond Death, ex-Cannibal Corpse) barrage, abuse and confuse, delivering solos with definite similarities to the evil spells of Morbid Angel. “Beyond Salvation,” “Misery Of One,” “Trample The Cross,” “Between The Flesh And The Void” and “End The Wrath Of God” imprison shifting melodic moments that almost seem out-of-place in their beauty, trapped in so much death. Steve Asheim (Order of Ennead, ex-Council of the Fallen) strikes the perfect balance between groove and chaotic speed. And both “Beyond Salvation” and “Between The Flesh And The Void” demonstrate his frenzied, heavy-handed attack blasting in the hellish netherworld between vocal and instrumental layers.
This is a catchy, melodic enough album that it will probably draw as many new fans as it alienates. If you’re looking for Legion, In The Minds of Evil is not that album. In addition to In The Minds of Evil just teetering on the edge of being too melodic, you run out of anger way before the album draws to a close, which leaves you feeling the album is just excessively loooooooong. I’m not sure what happened to the band famous for burning crosses into the forehead and showing the middle finger to all but metal – maybe they’ll be back on the next release!