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Deicide

Nile577

Deicide
November 22, 2006, 01:57:17 PM
Deicide - Deicide
Roadrunner, 1990



An opening of the vault and here is Deicide, screaming of lunatics, Charles Manson, murder and Satan. Yes friends, this album takes everything well people revile and sculpts it into Satanic metaphor to force feed through the auditory canals in the form of some world-class death metal music.

This band distanced themselves from their contemporaries by adding a precision to guitar and drum work that eschews the noisy, vaguely messy feel of genre progenitors in favour or something more rhythmically intricate. Deicide carry forth their influences (Slayer and German speed metal bands) into a more extreme aesthetic, yet maintain a strong sense of songcraft which, while far from making these songs accessible, affords them a listenability and even catchiness which is rare in this genre. Here it arises not from commercial aspirations but from a simple, palpable quality of composition, coupled with a willingness to return to themes as unifying points or denouement within song narrative.

Along with the band's outrageous personal behaviour, with vocalist Glen Benton branding an upside down cross into his forehead, perhaps it was this infectious nature of the song structures which so worried parents, priests and politicians. It functions as a brilliant, virulent meme to convey the band's message. Deicide revel in their position as rank outsiders, bating controversy and scorn from all angles with an absolutely relentless aesthetic and a concept that defies reason or sanity and forces conflict wherever it touches the lives of the unwary. Today it's easy to dismiss as an entertaining gimmick, but before this band lost its will and stood outside of its own concept to poke fun at it, this album was a delicious troll on the ideals of a society anaesthetised by fast-food and Bible-belt culture into an unthinking life of servitude and apathy.

Vocals here exist like some kind of unholy trinity: a brazen death-shout, bestial roar and sickly scream, multitracked to sound as one demonic entity. Indeed, back when death metal still had an aura of mystique, it was rumoured that vocalist Glen Benton channelled the voices of demons through himself in the studio. Regardless of the veracity of such claims, it's quite a powerful device and, coupled with some studio trickery evident in places such as the final minute of Dead by Dawn, gives rise to a feeling that something additional and entirely unworldly has been recorded, as if by accident. As journalist and musician Michael Moynihan writes, the lyrics are  'a view of history straight from the meat-grinder,' reading like the garbled confessions of a lunatic strapped to a torture rack.

The production lends the guitars a razor-like sharpness but, while effective to a point, buries the bass almost entirely in an ill-defined mud, leaving the whole open to allegations of having a slightly hollow sound. Lessons would be learned. Percussion adds skilful twin-kick exclamation to muted guitar chords, creating a punchy, vibrant, binary fury. While guitars mostly pedal a frantic, speed-picked, chromatic wall of adrenaline, it is when they themselves adopt a more percussive role, uniting with the aforementioned drum patterns (most notably at 0:22 into Sacrificial Suicide), that this band shows its originality and class. Where much death metal is boring and indistinct, Deicide, through a masterful understanding of pacing, maintain listener attention so that song boundaries are actually registered; a feat sometimes unusual in this genre, where lesser bands rely wholly on aesthetic.

Oblivious to Evil, Sacrificial Suicide and the title track are highlights, and will continue to be played wherever there is a need for death metal music. In tapping the vein of a gestalt and touching at something so darkly profound that it haunts human consciences to this day, Deicide remain heroes for voicing the existential discontent of a generation growing up in the shadow of the Cold War and American consumerist society.

A closing of the vault, with the best yet to come.

Nile577

Re: Deicide
November 22, 2006, 01:57:51 PM
Deicide – Legion [/u]
Roadrunner, 1992



Mixed at earshattering volume, Deicide's Legion takes the lunacy exhibited on their auspicious debut and elevates it to the point where it stands alone in death metal as the quintessential document of rage and anger. At heart this is protest music, but where most such music fizzles after its specific political target ceases to be of relevance, death metal protests not simply the "event" but the society that cries outrage at such.
 
Vocalist Glen Benton imparts disturbing ideas - 'pathetic lives, every second someone dies' - that undermine Christian ideals as to the sanctity of human life, offering instead a collective analysis of human finitude without the filter of morality. Again, and more notably than on the debut, Satanic and Lovecraftian themes are used as metaphor to represent such truths, with their protagonist voicing monomaniacal disdain for a worldview that denies the defining tenet of human ontology: that 'to die is just the concept of living.' Whereas a psychotic lunatic might howl such insanities into a street of milling shoppers, this work casts a nihilistic evaluation of life into a realm where contemplation of such insane truth is more profound: that of art.  
 
This 'truth' hurts, but it is also beautiful. By imbuing life with a Faustian metaphor, Deicide accept the brutality of hell, snubbing Pascal’s wager and casting off Christianity by embracing and celebrating its grimmest tenet. Stripped of supernatural consequence, the time between birth and death is invested with no moral value aside from what is inherent.  
 
Musically, while song arrangements follow the strong, well-structured protocol established on the debut, these pieces exhibit an increased complexity in their constituent parts. Riffs are a rhythmically intricate, syncopated frenzy, supporting simple cadenced vocals that unite the whole in a cohesive melding of the complex and the accessible. An insane, barking voice leads listeners through the furious tempo of the songs, providing the relatively infectious vocal patterns that ensured a broad appeal to this band's music. Bass guitar gains a new clarity and acquires a tinny, metallic sound suited to the harshness of the aesthetic.  
 
An oft-overlooked impact of death metal's growing technical complexity was its ability to alienate mainstream listeners in a differing sense to that of 80's bands. Whereas founding fathers relied on distortion and frequently semi-intentional clumsiness or sloppiness of execution to create something offensively noxious to normals, albums such as Legion emphasise their precision and rigid structure to suggest a calculated, anti-humanist intelligence, unfolding its will with redoubtable force. In essence, such complexity serves as an elitist proclamation that identification with the ideals presented here is simply 'above' the capability of the average listener. Naively stumbling into this vicious rat-trap, an unsuspecting audience is tortured with the fragility of its existence, with the music providing an aesthetic representation of how seemingly chaotic processes can mire the individual in disorientation and catastrophe.  
 
Legion is wrathful, absurd and sharpened to a scalpel point by the treble-emphasising, Scott Burns production. Dismissed as 'hatred' by politicians and parents, this album bristled with a truth so profound that it effectively ended the band artistically, with even 1995's enjoyable Once Upon the Cross offering only bland recapitulation. Yes, even today, the scathing performances captured here relegate the Deicide back catalogue, mighty as it is, to pleasant background listening and ensconce Legion as one of, if not the, mightiest death metal album(s) ever created. Rightfully eulogised by epicures, this album is profoundly alexipharmic to those of intelligence subjected to the poison of modern TV culture.

Re: Deicide
November 23, 2006, 05:29:17 AM
It's true.  That album crushed it's predecesssor and just like most great metal albums, it ended up being the final big step for the band before slowly turning into something mechanical.

It always seems like bands only allow themselves one groundbreaking work.

Re: Deicide
November 23, 2006, 07:35:56 AM
Or else in creating that ground breaking work they exhaust all their unique ideas and are forcd to produce average music through lack of ideas. I have been hearing positive comments about their latest album however, i have not heard it myself and i was wondering if anyone could recomend it?

Re: Deicide
November 23, 2006, 07:49:39 AM
Quote
Or else in creating that ground breaking work they exhaust all their unique ideas and are forcd to produce average music through lack of ideas. I have been hearing positive comments about their latest album however, i have not heard it myself and i was wondering if anyone could recomend it?


I'm sure the positive comments are relative to the insufferably bad period the 10 years prior.  I wouldn't trust this band anymore.

Annihilaytorr

Re: Deicide
November 23, 2006, 08:40:15 AM
Pseudo-thrash metal riffs and flowery lead solos thanks to former Cannibal Corpse members taking over guitar. How good would you expect that line up to be realistically?

Re: Deicide
November 23, 2006, 03:03:13 PM
well even so im still not going to give up one of my only chances to see a great band while im young (after all im in New Zealand, how many great metal acts grace our shores), 24 more days to go

Re: Deicide
November 23, 2006, 04:37:10 PM
Quote
well even so im still not going to give up one of my only chances to see a great band while im young (after all im in New Zealand, how many great metal acts grace our shores), 24 more days to go


I'm sure it will be the equivilant to seeing a modern Mayhem show.  It will be really flashy and an "entertaining" show, but content will be few and far between and contain limp versions of classic Deicide songs.

But I would be happy if I found out it was good.

Re: Deicide
November 23, 2006, 06:39:01 PM
The born-again affable Benton is a strange, alien creature. To be sure, no matter how affected the belligerence of old may(or may not have)been, it was indeed a critical part of the classic Death Metal aesthetic and attitude.  
Though maturity and responsibility are indeed comendable in their own right, listening to the man wax "father knows best" about his loving brood, is entirely out of kilter with what made a Deicide worthwhile in the first place.
The new album is vastly better than much of what has been offered in the past decade...but it's impossible to seperate the kinder-gentler personas from the music. It's heavy...but all the "evil" magic is long gone.  
But Nile577 has captured that old spirit in this thread...those were good, though distressingly short-lived days in Metal.  



Re: Deicide
November 24, 2006, 06:48:40 PM
Quote
Legion has always been very important to me and my favourite DM album, but for some reason I've never seen or heard anyone giving it the merit it deserves prior to visiting this site. This album is vastly underrated among the DM audience, for reasons beyond my knowledge. Too complex for an average listener ? Not enough headbang potential ? No easy-to-get "melodic" lines ?


Deicide were victims of their own self-promotion - they developed a cartoonish image that sold albums to the wrong people while discouraging the right ones from tuning in.

Re: Deicide
November 28, 2006, 06:02:28 PM
I heard the latest Deicide. Save your money. Its like Arch Enemy with recent Suffocation guesting on the first riff and breakdowns. Sadly it sounds a lot like recent Slayer if overtrained guitar geeks decided to go all Kirk Hammet on the solos.

Re: Deicide
November 30, 2006, 09:56:14 AM
Quote
It's true.  That album crushed it's predecesssor and just like most great metal albums, it ended up being the final big step for the band before slowly turning into something mechanical.

It always seems like bands only allow themselves one groundbreaking work.

this statement is flawed because every band has to have a climax in their career.  Therefore their best work would be considered "groundbreaking" and their others would probably not (even if theyre good).   Its probably more perception than it is the actual band deciding they only want one good album, or the fact that there has to be a happy medium between experience and musical ideas.

xk

Re: Deicide
November 30, 2006, 10:18:18 PM
Quote
well even so im still not going to give up one of my only chances to see a great band while im young (after all im in New Zealand, how many great metal acts grace our shores), 24 more days to go


Are you going to the Auckland or Christchurch show?

One could assume a possible setlist from this recent show, which was filmed for DVD release.
Link (warning - blabberAIDs)

Re: Deicide
December 30, 2006, 01:25:44 PM
The only decent thing about their recent effort is the fact that Ralph has both emotion and virtuostic playing...other than that, just overused image sold to the wrong people.

Annihilaytorr

Re: Deicide
January 01, 2007, 04:37:25 AM
Quote

Deicide were victims of their own self-promotion - they developed a cartoonish image that sold albums to the wrong people while discouraging the right ones from tuning in.



Exactly.

Once Upon The Cross seemed like Deicide realizing the potential of appealing to Cannibal Corpse's demographic. I blame that album in a big way for the dumbing down of Death Metal.