Deicide

To Hell With God

01. To Hell With God
02. Save Your
03. Witness of Death
04. Conviction
05. Empowered by Blasphemy
06. Angels of Hell
07. Hang in Agony Until You’re Dead
08. Servant of the Enemy
09. Into the Darkness You Go
10. How Can You Call Yourself A God

[02/15/11] 
[Century Media]

Okay, so full disclosure; I’ve never been much of a Deicide fan. I’ve always admired them from afar, but never really been an active “DEICIDE RULES! HAIL SATAN!” fan-guy.  Blame this partly on their satanism-for-satanism’s-sake message – a theme that tends to tire me/bore me pretty quickly, and maybe blame some of this on simple lack of exposure to their music. Maybe let’s blame the fact that I spent way too much of my life blasting Cannibal Corpse, and for some reason I’ve always viewed Deicide as the poor man’s (or even stupid man’s) Cannibal Corpse.

Then I got a copy of Deicide’s new album To Hell With God, and promptly realized I had made a terrible mistake ignoring them all these years.

Wow, this album is really good. Have they always been this good?  Part of me thinks that yes, they have.  But this has got to be the best stuff they have done in years.  They do a tremendous job mixing blazing speed and murderous groove, unhinged ferocity and inventive songwriting, raw performance and slick production.

Steve Asheim’s drums are in fine form on this release, and Glenn Benton’s vocals sound as evil as ever (although the lyrics are pretty standard fare).  But the thing that’s really killing me on this album is the guitar work of Jack Owen and Ralph Santolla.  Owen’s playing and songwriting was a huge part of Cannibal Corpse’s success during his tenure with them, and it really shows here. The songs are catchy and the riffing is super tight but still sounds human, often reminding me of Slayer on 2009’s World Painted Blood. And Ralph Santolla’s leads are the icing on the cake. He’s fucking butter, man. I feel like he was grown exponentially as a soloist since his time in Iced Earth in 2004 (which is basically the last time I paid attention to him).  He just tears the place up all over this album.

Young deathcore bands take note; this is how it’s done. The reason your band sucks is probably because you don’t sound enough like Deicide. Give To Hell With God a few hundred spins before you write your next song or album and I guarantee you will thank me later. For example, next time you’re about to write that sick breakdown to cap off your shitfest of a song, why not try something like the slow-buildup-to-insane-headbang part in “Hang In Agony Until You’re Dead” (from about 1:16 – 2:04) instead? Damn that part is crushing, one of the heaviest things I’ve heard this year for sure.  And next time you’re going for a nice lead part to show off your wicked chops, throw your soulless sweep picking exercise in the garbage and play something like Santolla’s leads on “Into the Darkness You Go” or “How Can You Call Yourself A God” instead. Except you probably can’t, so maybe your band will just keep on sucking. Did I mention that Deicide is like 30 years older than you? Keep practicing.

Anyway, what we have here is a damn fine death metal album that is heavy, catchy, and fun as hell to listen to. If you’re already a fan of the band, you’re going to shit yourself at how good To Hell With God is.  If you’re not a fan, you will probably keep on not being a fan, but this just might change your mind – it changed mine.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some catching up to do on the Deicide back catalog.

Deicide’s To Hell With God gets….

4/5

– JB