Thursday, March 12, 2009

Deicide - Deicide (1990)

Deicide formed in 1987, then known as Amon. After recording a couple demos, they were signed by Roadrunner Records. The band was encouraged to change their name, since Amon was the name of the house on the King Diamond album "Them". By early 1990, Deicide entered Morrisound to record their debut L.P.

I discovered this band back in high school, after the release of Once Upon the Cross. The title track from that album was enough to get me interested in the band but, as usual, I chose to start from the beginning. Within a week or so, I went out and purchased the first one, instead. At that point, Hell Awaits was the most evil album that I possessed, so this didn't have a lot of competition. Religion was never pushed on me as I grew up. I was aware of Christianity, but it wasn't anything I really put much thought into. In the couple years before I got this album, I had really started to think about it and to analyze the effects that the great Judeo-Christian lie had on the world around me. Within no time, after finally taking a look at this filth, I was filled with utter hatred for it. During this period, bands like Slayer and Deicide did well to echo the harsh sentiment that I held for this feeble system of beliefs.

The album begins with what sounds like the gates of Hell opening and pure evil bursting forth. Thrash riffs and mid-paced double bass lead into faster, more typical Death Metal on "Lunatic of God's Creation". This song would appear to have something to do with Charles Manson. Glen Benton's demonic vocals stand out, here. The style that he utilized on this L.P. is far superior to the 'ultra brutal', too-deep-to-understand nonsense that he spews these days.

"Sacrificial Suicide" features more hateful and unholy vocals, as well as some catchy and memorable sections that remain in your brain. The guitar tone is pretty standard for Morrisound, sadly, dulling the edge to an extent. The sound is pretty similar to other albums recorded there, around the same time, such as Harmony Corruption. Some of the faster parts of the album are found on this song.

One may wonder what sub-genre that Deicide belongs to. By the old 80s definitions, the Satanic lyrical themes would make this Black Metal, without question. Of course, stylistically, the band fits in with the rest of the Florida Death Metal scene. Despite disliking them, even those in the Norwegian scene labeled them as 'commercial Black Metal'. To make things even more difficult, this album was released before bands like Mayhem and Darkthrone really set the standard for what the Second Wave of Black Metal was to sound like. Listening to the catchy thrash riffs of "Oblivious To Evil", it is difficult to really call this Black Metal, so it is best to simply leave this to each individual to decide on their own, if there is a need to categorize the record. Either way, it is Satanic, hateful and anti-Christian and that is all that matters.

Next up is, probably, the best known song by the band; "Dead By Dawn". Inspired by The Evil Dead, this song rages forth with intensity from the very beginning. The wicked solo, early on, is very reminiscent of Slayer. The drumming is very accurate and the guitars are well played, but the vocals really make this. The layering and demonic effects really do a lot to add to the Hellish atmosphere, even if it possesses more of a horror movie feeling, rather than a nocturnal ritual.

"Blaspherereion" is a bit faster than the previous songs, which is a welcome thing. Despite the fact that Deicide became a caricature of themselves, later on, the self-titled debut features many well-crafted songs. Enough cannot be said of Benton's possessed screams. He displays a great deal of force and variation. Everything is executed more than adequately, from the vocals to the musicianship.

The song "Deicide" begins with an epic build-up from the Hoffman brothers. It may seem strange to use such a word regarding an album which doesn't feature a single song near the four and a half minute mark, but this certainly describes the feeling created in the opening moments of this song. Despite the bland Scott Burns production job, the songs still manage to grab the listener by the throat and pull them into Hell.

"Carnage in the Temple of the Damned" was inspired by cult-leader Jim Jones. The intro is very interesting. Musically, this song displays less of the band's Thrash Metal roots than many of the other songs. None of the songs on Deicide overstay their welcome. They progress toward their logical conclusion in a timely manner and end before becoming repetitive.

The album continues with "Mephistopheles", which begins at full speed. A short time later, mid-paced thrash riffs and relentless double bass drumming dominate the song for a while. The layered, demonic vocals and Hellish lead solos come together to create a very unholy atmosphere, though the song is much like the rest on the album; catchy and memorable.

Deicide was never as inspired and filled with creative energy as they were when they created this album. "Day of Darkness" begins with several indecipherable screams of burning agony. As with the rest of the songs, this one wastes no time in accomplishing what it set out to do, doing a decent job of leading into the final song.

This classic debut album concludes with one of the best songs that the band recorded; "Crucifixation". A brief, thrashy intro builds up to somewhat of an epic section that features Slayer-esque soloing and a brilliant vocal delivery by Glen Benton. The lyrics are so utterly Satanic that one cannot help but appreciate it in the same manner as a good 70s or 80s horror movie. Once the song gets going, it maintains a pretty furious pace throughout. This is the most straight-forward and evil-sounding song on the album, and a perfect way to bring things to an end. Words simply don't do it justice. As the song finishes, the gates slam shut, once more, containing the evil for the time being.

Regardless of Benton's foolish statements or the band's rapid deterioration, after this, Deicide's self-titled L.P. is a classic slab of Satanic Death Metal and is worthy of the praise that it has received over the years. If you only listen to one album by this band, it should be this one. This release is not only important for establishing this band, but it had a strong influence on other Satanic Death Metal bands that came later, such as Hypocrisy and Necrophobic.