Necrospective: DEICIDE

I am getting the hang of doing these Necrospectives (which is a feature I actually contemplated for a long time). This time I am up with a very long list of albums by a fundamental band from my first steps into the world of Death Metal and Grindcore. My views on the subject are quite atypical so I can imagine I’ll have several complaints about the ratings ah, ah. How funny to have a blog about records where you can write anything you wish.

pre-Deicide (Amon 1.0)

Amon, or Aamon, is a great and mightie marques, and commeth abroad in the likenes of a woolfe, having a serpents taile, <spetting out and breathing> [vomiting] flames of fier; when he putteth on the shape of a man, he sheweth out dogs teeth, and a great head like to a mightie <raven> [night hawk]; he is the strongest prince of all other, and understandeth of all things past and to come, he procureth favor, and reconcileth both freends and foes, and ruleth fourtie legions of divels.

– Johann Weyer, De praestigiis daemonum (1577)

symbol of amon

I will be honest here, I don’t remember having heard of Deicide before their self-titled full-length when the name exploded with all its bombastic tongue-in-cheek Satanic propaganda. I only managed to hear the stuff from these two demos a hanful of years later when Roadrunner released the “Amon” compilation (I also have a funny story to tell about going to the Vatican with a longsleeve from that record back in 1993, eh). These recordings however, are SO full of malevolent energy I can’t even properly describe their impact. They certainly have a more Slayerish flow and a somehow thinner sound, but at the same time the vocals are much more malicious. What is lacking in the sheer brutality that is/was the leitmotif of Deicide is replaced by sheer atmosphere, the almost serpentine gargling whispering words of blasphemy immersed in an environment of pops and crackling typical of the old analog media. There is a lot of hidden black energy in these recordings, which places them in my humble opinion on the same, maybe slightly better, position as the debut.

Vote: 9/10

 “Deicide”, 1990

deicide

All the previous Amon tracks have been re-recorded for this debut, with a completely different sound. The crepitating, slithering evilness of the earlier recordings have mutated here in a work maybe less evocative, but definitely of greater impact. The sound is still very dark, especially considered the year in which this album was recorded. At the time Deicide was one of the very few bands widely known beyond the small circle of people with a decent knowledge of underground music currents (that sounds like a million years ago), not just for the gimmicks of using decomposed meat and blood on stage and all the shit about Benton branding an inverted cross on his forehead or alleged suicide at 33, but also for their unique sound that included among the fastest double bass drum in the world. Certainly one could argue about that today, but it was all that people not listening to this music knew: I had some friends into “other scenes” asking for recordings of this album for years. I remember being quite perplexed about the comic book used on the album sleeve, where this monk is being turtured by demons, it just felt so out of place, but taken as a whole the layout was rather effective, front cover sigil and all (wished they stayed on this path anyway).

Deicide was definitely a sensation from day one: massive, fast, no-nonsense. The lyrics on this album are still not very definite, but effective for the aural butchery that is the record. I would say it’s an all time masterpiece, if it had not the unluck of preceding “Legion”.

Vote: 8,5/10

Legion, 1992

legion

Deicide was a very big blast in the underground in my city as well as all in a sudden I was surrounded by a very dedicated core fandom. I can certainly relate to that: they were killer. It was also one of my first Death Metal gigs ever when they toured with Gorefest in 1992 (my first show was probably Carcass in Rome in 1990 which, strangely enough, also featured Atrocity) and the first time I was realizing that Death Metal was assuming a constant presence in my country as well. Concerts at last were not just anymore attended by drunkards and punks. Then one day I just stepped in the local metal shop and bought this vinyl record. I still vividly remember the horror of seeing the sleeve being chewed by my dog which at the time was a puppy when I was having dinner but placing this album on the record player for the first time was life changing and had me forget everythung – just the same emotion I had the first time I spinned “Reign In Blood”. I knew Deicide already, but this was something entirely different. This was HELL – accurately described in detail and carved in the bones of saints, a masterpiece built on the heads of decapitated holy men. Unholy fucking shit, this album is so razor sharp, obscure and devastating there is no reason why anybody should not own it. It is one of the 5 best Death Metal records of all time, period. Sooooo incredibly inspired. The lyrics are a mix of Satanism and occult lore, free of that shitty tongue in cheek humour of the following records. This record is absolute perfection: it manages to create an immensely powerful evocative picture of an infinite massacre, a land without god where inconocalsm has crushed every single spark of life. I have no words, really, to describe how immensely amazing this album is. It is EVIL incarnate, distilled ona  record. La Fin Absolue du Monde made music.

Vote: 10/10, absolute Masterpiece

Once Upon The Cross, 1995

Deicide in 1995

Deicide in 1995

By the time this record was released, I already perceived some cracks in the freshness and energy of the whole Death Metal movement. Mostly all the big bands of the time had released either mediocre or outright ludicrous albums so my expectation for this new Deicide album were high. But with a grain of salt firmly in my grasp. I started to notice something out of place when I started seeing boys in my school buying Sepultura merchandise and I mean, typically average guys all in a sudden were asking me about Mayhem and Cannibal Corpse, my bullshit detector was very high at the time and this time it was itching terribly. Nothing could have prepared me with the complete delusion that was this album, however. Where the fuck were the dark blades of sound ripping through the flesh of my ears. Where was the eerie gurgling of blood dripping from Benton’s vocals? Why the fuck did they have a comic book Jesus on the cover? What were those ridicolous song names? What the fuck was wrong with the vocals here, and more that everything else, when does the album START? Hearing this shit was more or less like going through a torture of increasing disappointment. By the time I heard “When Satan Rules His World” which is a song you can basically dance at at the prom, I understood the band was completely lost. The line up was the same but the songs were just plain tarantellas with heavy distortion. No punch, no in-your-face brutality, just happy dance songs for the brainless college monkeys like the subhumans in my school. When these “regular guys” came to me asking if I heard this fantastic album, hoping they could enter my circle of friendship I understood Death Metal lost another big piece on the way.

Vote: 3/10 (could be 5/10 if it was not released after “Legion”)

Serpents Of The Light, 1997

serpents_of_the_light

By the time this album was released I was pretty much disillusioned and definitely done with Deicide, the sound of the tammuriata at the shore of the gulf of Naples still haunting my sleep.  Despite my abysmal expectations, I nevertheless found this album more than decent. The deicide-style song structures are on this album completely turned upside-down. The sound is still powerful but there is an added share of speed: instead of going back to their old sound they preferred to walk a much more typical path but the overall product was OK in my book. Sure the solos are not product of the schizoid rapture of their first two albums, and the consolidated American “chliché” sound was way more definite here but, despite not being as original as before, I dug this album pretty much. It’s fast, it has a couple of very powerful choruses and, while it has still ridicolous lyrics  somehow I don’t find them as cheesy as the one before. The cover art is so ugly it challenges Morbid Angel of this period, really what the fuck was going on in their mind when they designed it is beyond me.

Vote: 7/10

Insineratehymn, 2000

Insineratehymn

Things changed once again here, taking a simplified, sometimes almost minimalist take. My problem with this album is that you can’t be pushy if you rely on sound compression to create powerful music. If you try to play this stuff on shitty gear you get basically nothing in your hand. Mixing in slow, measured riffs technically might have added some extra punch to the album, especially after the super fast “Serpents” before, but I don’t know, Deicide’s major leverage is certainly not in the quality of the single riff. They’re no Incantation nor Asphyx, and when you chop down a monolithic in your face sound like theirs in such a way the result is definitely not particularly exciting, and certainly not inspired. I haven’t even bought this album, Deicide being more or less a closed chapter for me, especially after the following one.

The nicer thing about this album is probably the cover art, for once a little classy, following the dictations of this more austere approach.

Vote: 6,5/10

In Torment In Hell, 2001

In Torment In Hell

Derivative and uninspired are certainly the first words that come up when looking for adjectives for this album, which follows the lines of the preceding one but trying nonsensically to reheat some of the older shit. This idea isn’t particularly hidden either, considering the cover art is a mix of all the previous album covers. Unluckily not always mixing good ingredients you get the sum of all parts. Music, like cuisine, is a matter of good taste, balance, daring end enthusiasm, all four elements completely missing here. Last time I heard this album was the week it was released, and I am not giving it a new listen to refresh my memory on some lossless sound clips I deservedly downloaded illegally. Fuck it, you don’t really want me to actually PAY for this stuff? My memories were pretty much accurate however, no real juice to be squeezed from this dead body. The only thing I appreciated is the solos are quite decent as are some of the riffs, but arranged in this way you don’t really get much. I am not sure I remember correctly, but I read somewhere that the band itself pretty much sneered at this album too, since it was just a rushed up (1 mere year is actually little for songwriting unless you’re Motorhead) attempt at wrestling out of Roadrunner for which they had a contract to fulfill. In any case, let’s just skip this album, it’s not worth much.

Vote: 5/10

Scars Of The Crucifix, 2004

Scars Of The Crucifix

I reviewed this album before with a little added enthusiasm 10 years ago now (ah, being young ah ah). In any case I still believe this album was a good come back, especially after the failure of the amazingly generic last one. This is an album that I got as a promo from Earache back then, so I managed to listen to it on a normal medium, ah. It’s a rather good comeback in my opinion, finally balanced and spot on. Hoffman/1 has learned to write good solos but has the taste to cut them short and leave his brother Hoffman/2 lead the way the classic Deicide way; pummeling, chugging, crushing without remorse. All the arrangements on this album sounds just very right in my book, the vocals are in perfect shape and there is a good load of good old screams adding a layer of malignancy not present since maybe the Amon days (“Legion” is an album that stands on its own). The cover art is also finally something work taking some minutes having a look at. All in all, I deemed this album quite fine, probably the best of their second life.

Vote: 8/10

http://win.nuclearabominations.com/reviews_detail.asp?id=494

The Stench Of Redemption, 2006

The Stench Of Redemption

In 2006 Earache sent me the promo for this one as well which I listened to almost entirely on my car stereo complete with those unpleasant anti-piracy interruptions and obviously missing lyrics and complete packaging. I think that “The Stench Of Redemption” is potentially a very good album too for Deicide 2.0, the only thing I find completely out of place are these over the top solos, completely out of place in this mix of crushing brutality, possibly just there for the ego of Santolla. Who cares for this shit is beyond me, I never saw any overlapping between power metal and Death Metal. Yet Deicide’s new guitarists succeeded in evolving the sound of the band that lead us to a new territory and it somehow works out quite decently. I really do like the way the rhythm guitar throws in the mix an incredibly varied plethora of experiences, still managing to fill every second with layers over layers of sound and, thanks to a monstrous drumwork, leaves no time for breath. Mature in an unpredictable way, I found this album ripe and juicy, with just too much sugar on the lead solos.

Vote: 8/10

http://win.nuclearabominations.com/reviews_detail.asp?id=586

Til Death Do Us Part, 2008

I caught up with the latest 3 Deicide album just recently after a long pause of complete disconnection from their works (and well, many other bands as well), preferring more obscure, less promoted releases. What I think of this album is that this is possibly a second try at Insineratehymn (meaning a more thoughtful, slower, more evocative version of Deicide) that this time fell short for the opposite reasons. While the previous two albums were complex in a ceremonious but still orchestrally balanced way, I can’t really find any convincing connective tissue between the songs on this album. Shaking off my eyes the horrendous embossed effect on the logo (which might be forgiven to the band members, but not to the graphical dept of Earache) is difficult, but swallowing the whole plate has been even harder. It’s like a French dish, apparently good but relying most of its taste to butter and fat. You can’t really make a good album throwing all the shit that your creative skill brings up to your mind, some songs really sounds like they’ve been sewed together with thick twine. All in all however, I can’t say it’s totally shit either, just some album that can’t probably pass the test of time.

Vote: 6/10

To Hell With God, 2011

To Hell With God

Could be the somewhat insipid, bland sound but this albums is lacking completely one of the old trademark Deicide aspects: darkness. Even when blasting full force the band always managed to sit in the gloom of Satan’s ever reaching hand. Not here, at least from the way I am perceiving this shit. Even he screams that once added a level of enraptured folly don’t really make it, and some riffs (hear the song “Conviction”) are just plain boring old stuff. After such a a marathon, going through the whole band discography, I might be a little exhausted but this stuff just doesn’t click. The formula is more or less the same of the one before, but this album sounds incredibly prosaic and useless, not just unrefined. The cover (oh my, the embossing) is good stuff, not so the music within.

Vote: 5/10

In The Minds Of Evil, 2013

387763

All the previous intricacies have been unraveled on this album. Deicide this time chose to play fair showing everything that is going on in their songwriting all across this album, getting rid of choruses and screams among many other refinements. The main problem is that under the hood there seems to be very little left. This album sounds totally routine to me, sometimes the levels of dullness and horrible chugging of “Once Upon The Cross”. I never heard Deicide to utterly flavorless. Not a bad album if it was a teenager demo. For a Deicide album however, the curtains seem to have been pulled close once again. I gave them for dead more than once however, so who know what are they going to show us next time.

Vote: 5/10

That is all. It’s been a nice trip, if completely exhausting. I perfectly know many of you are going to be offended by these reviews, but go ahead and make your won blog, ah ah! In any case I enjoyed writing this. If you have a band that you’d like to get covered in a similar manner let me know. I basically NEVER review stuff that I don’t have in physical format, but I am prone to do it for these biographies for very shitty albums.

DAWN OF DEMISE (Dnk): “…and Blood Will Flow” demo Cd 2006 s/p

dawnofdemise-andthebloodwillflow

Uhuh! So Jacob Hansen owns a recording studio now? Is it the same guy behind Invocator and Maceration? if we’re talking about the same guy, he did a pretty decent job with this band at the recording console.

From a broad perspective there is nothing wrong with Dawn of Demise. The band plays solid, chunky brutal Death Metal with very deep vocals and an american imprint. Even when the songs speed up there is a sense of intrinsic staticness which the band probably looked after to make the whole sound even more granitic, think of a moderate version of late Deranged or mid Meshuggah (death metal version). My point however is that once you want to make everything as solid and as compressed as possible with constant palm muting chugs and so on, you could as well push through it to the end as Deranged does. Danish bands historically lacked “it” even when the crunch was pretty decent (except maybe, Infernal Torment?) and I am afraid we’re not far from that situation with this 3-track as well. Don’t misunderstand me – this is honest, well written stuff with a great emphasis on the groove, and it might be good stuff to hear at 4pm in some late night after show in any Germanic country, yet I believe the music fits the crispy recording and the heavily CGI-elaborated cover art: they’re neat but a little bit lacking of “sickness”. I can’t say I don’t like deep growls, power chords, or bloodstained knives, but all of this sounds a little bit polished for my tastes, and I just can’t force myself to like the mosh-pit grooves, although I know somebody else is looking for exactly this stuff.

Bear with me now: my number one rule for great Death Metal, is “if you can dance at it, it can’t be good”.

DENY THE URGE (Ger): “Blackbox of Human Sorrow” full-length Cd 2008 G.U.C.

Deny The Urge - Blackbox Of Human SorrorAfter some really shitty stuff it was enough time for something really structured like this German band Deny The Urge on German label German Underground Crossection eh eh. Seriously speaking thi is a band that certainly knows how to handle instruments even if sometimes I have the feeling they just go a little bit over the top. But let’s start with some thoughts on the booklet: first and foremost you understand this band struggle to differ, they have a non-metal introspective name with a non-metal introspective logo on a non-metal introspective cover (look, it looks like an eye but it’s your soul confined within a sewer looking out at the real world, surrounded by the demons of your mind!). The booklet is complete as any booklet should be, with lyrics in every page and all the recording bollocks. Stopping a bit on the lyrics they’re of the – guess? – introspective kind, about inner demons, reflections on how peace comes from a time of war, evaluating the infinite cosmos and its plethora of options and so on. Not terribly interesting but worth a fast read. They’re also not extremely well written but I appreciate the fact they tried at least.

As for the music one could understand by now that this band takes itself quite seriously so I was expecting some hyper technical showoff hodgepodge to back up the whole project. Well indeed Deny the Urge does play technical Death Metal but despite going mellow at times with longs solos and display of unquestionable prowess, they can also crush with some more than decent Death Metal riffing. You get good growls, fast double bass, sharp riffing like every respectable Death Metal band. They do sometimes showoff a bit with those Necorphagist-like guitar leaks and some not so subtle incursions in melodic Death Metal a la [insert any name here]. Luckily however, melody and crunch are quite separated so it’s not too invasive. If this band was considering shattering any boundaries and come up with original stuff it definitely fails, however I cannot deny that everything is arranged with a LOT of skill. There is thought on every note here, with very good arrangements and as much structure as you can think. What lacks here is in my opinion and maybe paradoxically, the ability to mix all the good ideas in a single SOUND. The songs actually do have head and tail and follow a concept, but I feel like all this prowess is wasted when things don’t overlap in a new sound.

Now I can go back to my Mortician albums, thanks.

DLA COKE ET DES PUTES (Fra): “Fast Fashion Federation” full-length Cd 2011 Rewolucja/xBloclotx

D’LA COKE ET DES PUTESFrom a first glance at the shocking pink cover I’d have bet this was some freaky “Japanoise” project in the vein of Niku Dorei or Boredoms. The truth however revealed itself to be quite different: D’la Coke et Des Putes (which might means something like cocaine and whores, at least it’s my guess since my lack of knowledge of this language is complete, I don’t even know how they spell “1” – is it “ein”, “an”, “eine”, “oun”?) is actually a French band with two vocalists and humorous lyrics alike, just to name some country mates, the great Beer Vomit or Gronibard.  There is a weak link to what were my earlier considerations though, as the album was in fact recorded in Japan and, trying hard to decipher what’s written in the booklet, I dare to guess the guy pictured on the cover is some random person they met during their trip (not completely sure of that though eh. Despite the shocking pink color, the layout of this thing is not bad, we have a spread collage of pictures, another two pages of name combinations which ranges from “dicks and asses”, “bums and policemen”, “eggs and chicken” and so on. This must be their personal interpretation of the yin-yang philosophy eh eh.  Then we get some more random pictures and a long thank-list, let’s say routine stuff.

Using labels like Powerviolence, Freeform Noise, Grind Core etc. might be hazardous ground here as I can hear some sparse breakdowns and samples but no real crunch in between these. I certainly cannot claim this album is altogether something as disastrous and untalented as Subterranean Fecal Root, but in all honesty the parts that should consist in real music are rather uninspired. Despite the double vocal effort is supposed to give this album an extra punch all I hear is mouse squeaks over a texture of timid hard-core and painfully average metal riffs straight outta some high school show. Even the recording is somewhat under par for my (maybe a bit stereotypical) expectations of Japanese precision. The whole sound and songwriting here is quite flat, and even some choruses just don’t raise attention. I am always intrigued by flashy weird covers like this one, but this time I have been quite underwhelmed. Pity.

DEFEATED SANITY (Ger): “Psalms of the Moribund” Lp Cd 2007 Grindethic

I am not an incredible fan of cold, mathematical, technical brutal Death Metal – American style. But when it is played properly, it is able to raise so much intensity and thickness you really cannot get with other forms of standard Hard Core and Metal. Defeated Sanity‘s sophomore “Psalms of the Moribund” delivers hard and efficiently, an incredibly thick carpet of frighteningly intricate guitar work, guttural stone-grating vocals and hyperblasting drums. I think I even saw them live once but for some reason I completely overlooked them. It might be since this is not the kind of bands I like to see in an open air gig where the sound is dispersed in the ether.

The sound on “Psalms” is deep, bass heavy and suffocating, the kind of sound that coupled with non stop constant blasting and curving leaves no breathing space whatsoever. The production as said before is rather sludgy and mucky, but to me it fits finely, it almost as you can see the meatcleaver chop and hack and truncate chinks of flesh from a cadaver. Not a total swamp like in Enmity, but almost. The riffing is impressive, you got an half gazillion leaks, harmonics and squeaks in the middle of all this fucking calculated chaos. I cannot but recommend this shit for all those into hyper-intense Brutal Death where skill and musical ability is at the service of intricacy without bending to the necessity of making the sound softer. There are just 3 or 4 wigger slam riffs a la Devourment in the whole Cd, all the rest is non stop barbarity. Very, very good.

The cover artwork looks real good, however I got this promo on a shitty Cd-ROM with xeroxed cover, I cannot give an opinion of the packaging or the lyrics. I hope one day labels will realize having some promotion on a webzine might be worth sending a 2 dollars Cd instead than a 2 dollar Cd-ROM.

DIORRHEA (Ita): “I Give You My Heart” split Cd with FETUS EATERS (USA-Ca) 2007 Grindmind

DiorrheaMuch better we go with Diorrhea, even if i wouldn’t have dared to say so judging by the pictures alone, ahah, what a lame ass I am sometimes. Actually Diorrhea deliver a powerful grind attack with the occasional idiot speech inside but not as pervasive as in Fetus Eaters (I don’t know hos is it in other countries, but in Italy if you play grindcore you have to make funny faces and speak about idiot stuff between the songs, that’s routine). Diorrhea is actually quite a bastard beast and play straight to the face old school grind with whacked ultra fast chords and shit, I definitely like it. The vocals are not very powerful, but the shrill sound isn’t bad either. You got some extra growls but they’re just a marginal thing. The riffs are basic, there are a good share of blasts as in the old school tradition yet we’re quite far from the Swedish mates. Fast, cutthroat grind with double vocals and no super-polished bollocks. Get this stuff if you’re into grind, it’s quite good.

DESECRATION (eng): “Process of Decay” Lp Cd 2007 Copro/Epitomite

Desecration - Process of DecayThis album by Englishmen Desecration has the big flaw of starting out with a few seconds of bare drum beats without any backing string instruments. I consider this a flaw becouse the sound of the drums on this album is really atrocious, worthy of the worse Vomit Remnants or Infected Malignity. That said, one has to clarify that the music itself is oddly totally different from what one could expect from the drum sound, as we don’t have routine “cold” star and stripes Brutal Death Metal like the Japanese do. Desecration play a good mxcture of Death and a touch of Grind with raw guitar sound and growling vocals. Ollie’s vocals are excellent and possibly the best thing in the album : ogre-deep at times, at others phlegmy and disgusting or even piglike. The riffs themselves are not always top notch, the mid tempo power chords placed at regular intervals in every song are a bit too “aggro” “Machine Head” for my delicate tastes, but in general I have managed to appreciate the album from start to finish – there is also a good share of relentless accelerations and incomprehensible grunts which generally raise the heaviness of the work.  I don’t remember much of the previous albums but I remember I liked the 7″ quite a bit – I cannot really trace any parallel right now. All I want to stress is that I would really appreciate if they cut away all this terrible stop and go palm muting stuff, it’s really unnecessary.  

The idea of writing an album on the concept of a decomposing body reminds me of The Todeskings (the cult Buttgereit movie dedicated to Death and decomposition), and reading the singer Ollie has some professional first hand experience on the file of dead bodies, I assume the lyrics could have been an interesting read. We don’t often read true English people writing lyrics. Pity.

The cover art and layout are also quite appalling, garish and plain, with wrongly placed graphic elemnts, terrible cheap photoshop effects, and grossly depixelated pictures. Epitomite should consider changing graphic artist.