Monday, January 12, 2009

Deicide- Stench of Redemption

This is a weird album, because the style is not so different from 1995's Once Upon the Cross: i.e. dumbed-down, simplistic, repetitive death metal--i.e. decidedly not "technical" and almost punk in its song structure--but with an important lineup change, which brings two incredible guitarists into the band. The effect is not unlike that of early G.I.S.M., meaning you really listen only for the guitar solos, which don't have so very much to do with the retardo songs on which the solos happen to be pasted.

No, that's not fair: while none of these riffs will go down as classics, the songs (incredibly!) stand apart from each other, and there is a kind of linebacker approach to aggression which makes these songs hard-hitting, even though the band is far less "brutal" than the rest of the death metal pack, at this point. It's almost quaint, but at the same time, very effective. Suffocation or Nile blow this away, in terms of being-heavy, but it achieves "total heaviosity" all the same. Perhaps because Deicide relies on 4 or 5 riffs per song, instead of... 80?

Yes, it's redundant and low-IQ, but it's a Deicide record! What makes this a mandatory Deicide record is the Van Halen solos that crop up in every song, a propos of nothing, courtesy of ex-Obituary and Iced Earth guitarists--these guys are amazing! It's a jarring stylistic pairing, since death metal solos are usually following from the Slayer/Celtic Frost atonal school, and the solos here are highly consonant and Guitar Magazine-friendly, but... it works, sort of.

As you can tell, this is a completely needless record which is massive fun. You still only are required to buy the self-titled Deicide and Legion, but *this* is the goofy, self-parodic death metal album kids SHOULD buy to get into death metal, instead of Cannibal Corpse. It's silly, but I can also imagine having some of these songs as my ring-tone.

Score: 3.5 /5 stars (*** 1/2)
Best songs: "Crucified for the Innocence," "The Stench of Redemption," "Desecration" (the entire first side, really)

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