Deicide – The Stench Of Redemption

Deicide is possibly the only death metal band that has been able to return from artistic death multiple times and come back strong. This band made the brilliant ‘Serpents Of The Light’ immediately after the spectacularly unspectacular ‘Once Upon The Cross’, and now Deicide has returned again with ‘The Stench Of Redemption’, easily the best album they’ve turned out since ‘Serpents Of The Light’, and even rivaling that release in quality at certain points. This album is easily one of the best comebacks I’ve seen in a long while, and vastly exceeded all my expectations as to its quality.

While many doubted that Deicide would be able to recover from the departure of the Hoffman brothers, such a breakdown was apparently just what the band needed. Perhaps the reason that ‘The Stench Of Redemption’ is so very successful is that it’s not bound the riffing conventions that the Hoffmans set in place: this album is tremendously melodic and neoclassical, and sacrifices much of the atonality of previous works for a more epic and grandiose sense of songwriting. It’s still brutal: plenty of razor sharp tremolo picking and pummeling blast beats are present, but the lead guitars take the lead over just about anything else. There’s a stunning vigor and freshness about this album that’s been lacking in Deicide for some time, and it’s a great change for the band.

‘The Stench Of Redemption’ takes a great deal of cues from Benton’s other band, Vital Remains. The new guitar duo of Jack Owen and Ralph Santolla are clearly more technically adept as well as better riff constructors than the Hoffmans later in their careers, and it’s a great boon to an album deeply dependent on guitars. The riffs present on this album are simply fantastic, from simple to complex, possessing staggering variation in addition to a wonderful sense of well-defined melody. Leads are wildly composed yet strictly melodic; indeed, this is the most melodic that Deicide has ever been in their lengthy careers. Drum performance is as propulsive and intense as usual, and Steve Asheim once against proves that while he’s not the most technical drummer, he’s one of the best for the purposes of the music he plays.

Maybe the best example of how different Deicide has become is on the ‘Black Night’ Deep Purple cover. Deicide positively ignites the song with a newfound intensity and brutality, and were you not aware of its origins, it would not sound dramatically out of place with the rest of the album. The old Deicide is dead, to be sure; however, this new Deicide was a sorely needed change, and not one that I think many of us will regret. I can’t wait to see what the band does after this: it appears that the band has entered a new era of creativity and brilliance. Here’s to a new aeon of raging death metal from the Floridian masters.

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~ by noktorn on May 9, 2007.

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