Album: Deicide – To Hell With God
Release date: 2/15/2011
Label: Century Media Records
Following a string of mediocre-to-average recordings, To Hell With God is probably Deicide’s best album in 15 years. The perfect and quintessential death metal album, Once Upon the Cross, has since become a relic; a fairy tale from decades past. The new album from the Florida quartet delivers to the patient.
This is a different band playing To Hell With God. Deicide has since parted ways with the original guitarists, the Hoffman brothers, in 2004, and has since brought in Kevin Quirion (Order of Ennead) and Jack Owen (Cannibal Corpse, who else?) to fill their shoes. Both men do an excellent job in shredding thick-and-tremolo riffs, the signature Deicide guitar tone, although the songs themselves do have an obvious neo-Cannibal Corpse influence. Steve Asheim still blasts on drums, and Glen Benton still barks his anti-Christian doctrines like an unchained hellhound.
With different guitarists come different styles of playing, and although Owen and Quirion are excellent replacements, their presentation of the material doesn’t seem to compare to the unholy trinity of the first three albums: Deicide, Legion, and the aforementioned Once Upon the Cross. I don’t think that many death metal albums do; Deicide’s ability to structure a perfect, conventional verse-chorus-verse death metal song/album has been part of the reason they’ve been a gateway band for new metalheads. If I were to initiate a new recruit to this genre, would I play this, or Once Upon? Most likely Once Upon; it’s a superb work that has aged like freaking Cher.
I’m not saying To Hell With God is bad, in fact it’s great. I think I’ve been spoiled by the early-Hoffman era of Deicide and it’s very difficult for me to break that mentality. I also blame Vital Remains, a band that had taken off with Deicide’s concept post-Once Upon the Cross, and their amazing ability to write epic death metal sagas. Should you buy this album? Sure, just don’t expect Dechristianize.
One word review: Better.
7 out of 10 stars