Despite being a household name in Floridian death metal, Deicide have had a track record as consistent as Nicolas Cage’s acting career. The godslaughtering murder machine fronted by the ever controversial Glen Benton set the tone with a couple of fledgling gems but since then, the quality of their output has been dice rolls all around. The only reviewed records on AMG were the sterile, unconvincing To Hell With God, and In The Minds Of Evil. Though the latter was a step up, its lack of spirit utterly failed to impress Lord Druhm. With no big wins under their belt since 2006’s The Stench of Redemption, Glen and the boys desperately need a slam dunk to convince the world they still belong at the top of the geographical niche they helped create. But is Overtures of Blasphemy it?
Well, a slam dunk is subjective, but don’t cry for me, Florida Man: Overtures continues Deicide’s upward trajectory with what is easily their best album since Stench. Style-wise, not much has changed the last 5 years, but rather than starting from scratch, the band wisely decided to carefully hone the core sound of In the Minds, tighten all the screws, and optimize every setting on their gear. Overtures is chock full of groovy hooks, pummeled forcefully into your ear canals. “Crawled From the Shadows” and “Seal the Tomb Below” are early back-to-back highlights, the former creating its addictive dynamics through an excellent extended riff, the latter getting by on sheer neck-snapping aggression and scorching leads. The songs are composed as Deicide always has: short, brutal and to the point, and it’s unquestionably what they do best.
As the album goes on, it does show to be a tad frontloaded. Closer “Destined to Blasphemy” is the only song I’d call downright weak, with an uninspired chug sawed-off at the hilt for a main riff. Some of the other second half tracks like “Consumed by Hatred” simply don’t have the hooks or inspiration to transcend ‘fine.’ But yes, fine they are still; the band is audibly enjoying their new material, despite their obligatory scowls. Their performances are spirited, tight and engaged, with lively drumming, searing Slayer-worshiping solos, burly tremolo riffing and smooth basswork. Only Glen doesn’t quite stack up. In his middle age, he has dropped his screeches entirely, and though his growl has not deteriorated in body and power, remaining a level above average, it is decidedly less dynamic than the bandmates surrounding him.
But as he has regained his spirit and enthusiasm as much as his bandmates, the variety of his delivery isn’t as much of an issue as it could have been. Considering Deicide’s style of brusque, raging death, there is nothing more important than the energy of the performers. It was where In The Minds fell short, and it is where Overtures succeeds. The blunt, fairly modern production assists in showing off the band’s range, and though the guitars could still use a rougher edge, it’s absolutely another step in the right direction.
30 years of ups and downs is no measly amount. With its members turning the corner of 50, few might expect Deicide to put out an album of such ferocious grit as Overtures of Blasphemy these days. Yet here we are, and Deicide have shown clear as hellfire they’re back on the rise. If they dare to stay the course, retaining their spirit and refining their sound to a lethal edge, we might yet see another album the caliber of their classics or Stench. With this band, you never know, and the next one may go down the drain once more. But in the meantime, thank God before you kill him, because the new Deicide is damn good!