Deicide – To Hell With God (2011)
Deicide have not exactly been at the forefront of innovation. One would clearly assume that after being around for as long as they have, they would pretty much be out of ideas. Especially after Till Death Do Us Part was a let down, the expectancy levels would have dropped drastically. But one has to bear in mind that Deicide do boast of an all-star line up, and guitarists at the level of Jack Owen and Ralph Santolla are very, very few. The latter especially, after playing a brilliant role as lead guitarist in Obituary’s 2009 offering Darkest Day (where I would say Ralph is the only saving grace). But the four of them do not fail to deliver on To Hell With God, and despite the oddly cheesy title which suggest the aforementioned exhaustion of ideas, it is quite a benchmark of an album.
The album carries nothing that we haven’t seen before, the dual layered vocals, aggressive drumming with extensive use of blast beats, and melodic self indulgent guitar solos courtesy the mighty Ralph Santolla. So what does this album carry? A lot of brutality, taken up a few notches since the last album, a lot more blasphemy, and aggression that Steve Asheim had been building up for ages now (seemingly). The album kicks off with the title track and brings out all these elements in a neatly composed death metal phenomenon. And one can clearly not get enough of Ralph’s maddening wankery, perpetuating his individual style, much like James Murphy of the early nineties. The album, though not a punch in your guts at a stretch, comprises of a a lot of what I would call true Deicide material. Songs like To Hell With God, Empowered By Blasphemy, Angels of Hell and How Can You Call Yourself A God are bound to stay in your playlist for a while. Glen Benton, sounds angrier and more blasphemous in this, his vocals beautifully dual layered, produced to rip your religiosity to shreds. The one drawback though is the bass. Not well produced and appears very thin on the entire album, not heard at all in some parts. Angels of Hell clearly is my pick for the best track, Ralph’s epic solo making you orgasm with every note. The guy is simply too magnificent to be described in words.
Looking back, I would say this is no Stench Of Redemption, but bears a lot of its characteristics. A vast improvement from Till Death Do Us Part, certainly. Though some would wanna bring up comparisons with benchmark albums such as Legion and Serpents of the Light, I think the Deicide with Jack and Ralph is a completely different band from the Hoffman brothers’ Deicide. Of course, the great Glen Benton remains unscathed, despite being around for many years. These guys can definitely do a lot more, and I would really love to see another album on the lines of Stench. And regardless of the kind of Deicide fan you are, there is no way you will not enjoy the madness of his (un)holiness Ralph Santolla.