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Class 6(66)

Deicide: Deicide

26/09/12  ||  Sokaris

Introduction

Sometimes bands just don’t fuck around. Deicide was originally formed as Amon all the way back in 87, recording the nine minute, four track “Feasting the beast” within a month of their creation. The three proper songs on this demo were all re-recorded years later for the Deicide self titled debut, a cornerstone in the classic Florida death metal scene. Basically these guys were writing part of one of death metal’s best albums within weeks of forming. It’s like these four were just waiting to find each other and to make some instantaneously legendary stuff. After a second demo (1989’s “Sacrificial”) and Glen Benton reportedly demanding a record deal from Roadrunner, Amon became Deicide and so began the sordid little drama of one of extreme metal’s more controversial (in music and otherwise) acts.

Songwriting

10. “Deicide” is generally constructed over frantic tempo changes and choppy, low riffing, delivering a wild ride of headbang-inducing sinister sounding death metal. There’s also clever usage of dramatic rests, like in the beginning of the band’s namesake track or throughout “Sacrifical suicide.” The band knows when to let a hook sink in as well, you’re going to have at least one part of “Dead by dawn” memorized, branded into your brain (like a cross to a forehead) before the song’s even over.

Production

10. I’m a big fan of the production on this one, it’s evocative of the time period in which it was released without really suffering from age or sounding dated in a negative way. I’d consider this some of super-producer Scott Burns’ best work sonically, and considering his insane resume of pioneering death metal and kick-ass late thrash (Atrocity, Cancer, Cannibal Corpse, Death, Demolition Hammer, Exhorder, Hellwitch, Napalm Death, Obituary… this is JUST from the year 1990 for fuck’s sake) that’s saying a lot. There’s a decent amount of vocal effects but they manage to stay just shy of the dairy section of the food pyramid and instead end up sounding genuinely fucked up as hell and lend a sort of legitimate horror atmosphere (not just B-movie name-dropping Mortician crap) to the recording.

Guitars

9. Buzzy, blindingly fast in parts and absolutely diabolical. The Hoffman brothers deliver classy death metal riffery along with a handful of nasty shred sections. Personally I wish there was a little more soloing overall, just to add to the chaotic feel of the album. Rhythmically there’s a lot drawn from Slayer in particular, though everything’s pushed towards the extreme since this is death metal for fuck’s sake. Don’t expect strumming thrashy bits or slow grooves, this is relentless energy and lightning fast heaviness. It might take a few listens to absorb all the riffs but the album’s short enough that you can get two spins through the CD just a bit over an hour so get to it.

Vocals

10. Once upon a time (cross) Glen Benton was pretty much a vocal god. He married forceful gutturations of blasphemy with possessed shrieks into what I’ve always referred to as “demon screaming”, a layered, harmonized vocal technique that’s become commonplace in extreme metal. It’s hard to believe what was once a hell of a growl has turned into little more than a grumble lately. On top of the sheer power, Glen exhibits great control, speed and precision with a semi-theatrical delivery. Other death metal vocalists at the time, even a lot of great ones, might have sounded like a really pissed off dude. Deicide’s vocals sounded like something from the depths.

Bass

6. I could probably just copy and paste my assessment of the bass in my recent Morbid Angel “Blessed are the sick” Class6(66) because this is the same deal except if anything, it’s even more blended into the guitar sound.

Drums

9. Just keeping tempo to this would require some serious chops, but Steve Asheim manages to do some interesting fill placement and unconventional beats to mix things up. Take “Blaspherererererion” for instance; the pace of the song is absolutely breakneck for the most part and the stop-start conclusion of each phrase means a tight performance isn’t optional. Steve manages this with goddamn style, especially when the quadruple time double bass comes in. Great natural tone and it really sounds like Asheim is trying to hit the other side of his drums with each stroke.

Lyrics

6. Deicide’s lyrics generally hover between being kind of cool and being fairly retarded. This album most tended toward the former but it’s not like this is exactly poignant or poetic stuff. I mean, “Died for me, well that’s too bad I don’t believe” is pretty damn corny in or out of context.

Cover art

5. It’s kind of surprising how minimalist the covers of this and “Legion” are considering how over-the-top the band’s general presentation was around this time. It looks an eBay listing for a really evil doorknob. Not bad but it’s an Indiana Jones artifact at best (“Carnage in the temple of doom” perhaps?) and a stylized Power Rangers villain at worst.

Logo

4. I’m not really a fan of the longstanding Deicide logo. I always appreciate it when a band shows consistency in maintaining a recognizable sigil but theirs just seemed like a handful of vaguely evil letters arranged near each other. And the repeating letters do just that… repeat.

Booklet

6. I’ve got the 1998 gold disc remaster which has some rambling liner notes from the guy who wrote Lords of Chaos, a couple cool band shots and a really goofy one as well.

Case in point:

Oh boy, let’s just go left to right because there’s a lot to cover here:
Eric Hoffman: Wait, shit, you didn’t take it did you?
Glen Benton: Oh fuck, I thought it was just a fart!
Steve Asheim: I told him it’d look retarded if we both wore the same shirt, what does he goddamn do…
Brian Hoffman: Hey, is this wicked upside cross in frame? I mean can you see it? Are you sure? Should I hold my arm more like this? Or this? It looks natural, right?

Overall and ending rant

Deicide knew what they were doing right out of the gates, they just needed Roadrunner to fund their ambitions to take the world beyond Florida by storm. They made a splash immediately, probably partially due to non-music antics, but damn did the songs back up any attention they received. Maybe Glen’s always been a douche but used to be a legend too. A legendouche.

Deicide’s demonic debut defiantly destroys, demonstrating deft songwriting, deep tone, devious vocals, delectable riffing, delicious refrains and deafening power. Should you decide to include this in your own library of metal? Definitely.

10

  • Information
  • Released: 1990
  • Label: Roadrunner Records
  • Website: Deicide MySpace
  • Band
  • Glen Benton: vocals, bass
  • Eric Hoffman: guitars
  • Brian Hoffman: guitars
  • Steve Asheim: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Lunatic of god’s creation
  • 02. Sacrificial suicide
  • 03. Oblivious to evil
  • 04. Dead by dawn
  • 05. Blasphererion
  • 06. Deicide
  • 07. Carnage in the temple of the damned
  • 08. Mephistopheles
  • 09. Day of darkness
  • 10. Crucifixation