Review: DEICIDE – ‘Overtures of Blasphemy’ [Video Stream]

Once again, Florida death metal pioneers, Deicide return with a new collection of sonic hatred and brutality. The band’s upcoming LP – and 12th studio album to date – entitled ‘Overtures of Blasphemy’ is scheduled for release September 14th, 2018 via Century Media Records. This time around, they’ve stuck to the “we’re not gonna fix what isn’t broken” approach, as drummer and main songwriter Steve Asheim describes. The music is as brutal and aggressive as their reputation would imply and exactly what fans would expect from these undisputed masters of the genre. There’s no fat left to be trimmed from the concise, 12 tracks of God-bashing tunes that clock in at an average of about three minutes each. ‘Overtures of Blasphemy’ walks the line expertly between melodic and balls-out insanity for a focused and potent death metal record to solidify that Deicide are still the kings and not even Christ himself dares to challenge their throne.

We last heard new music from the band with ‘In the Minds of Evil’ in 2013. Since then, death metal guitar veteran Jack Owen (Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under) has left the lineup, opening the door for Mark English (Monstrosity) to take over his role of second axeman for the group. Co-founders Glen Benton (vocals/bass) and Steve Asheim (drums) remain the day-one veterans of the quartet, and Kevin Quirion (guitar) continues on as a semi-permanent member since 2008. Although there have been significant lineup changes over the years – most notably the departure of the Hoffman brothers years back who contributed on the band’s early and arguably most influential albums – the unmistakable black heart and soullessness of the music still carries on. Since the band’s critically acclaimed ‘The Stench of Redemption’ (2006), they’ve taken on a noticeably more melodic approach, specifically allowing for guitar solos to shine in a more traditionally musical sense than were heard on earlier efforts. ‘Overtures of Blasphemy’ continues on this trend by including the signature Deicide brutality but dialing it back just enough to allow for well-placed elements of melody to add an appropriate balance to the infernal chaos. Where previous album, ‘In the Minds of Evil’ may have strayed too far from the ferocity at times – somewhat weakening the sheer brute force Deicide has always done so masterfully – ‘Overtures of Blasphemy’ learns from its 2013 predecessor’s faults and comes back with a vengeance to prove that there’s still plenty of hatred in the coffers. Returning for the second consecutive time, veteran metal producer Jason Suecoff assisted with producing and mixing what ultimately sounds like a crisply polished slab of metal that serves the music effectively overall. Long gone are the days of lo-fi grit – such as on classics like ‘Serpents of the Light’ – or way out-front vocals that leave no question what blasphemous obscenities are being uttered (which was actually half the fun with Deicide). With Benton’s hellish growl now resting at a more subdued level within the mix, the lyrics are more difficult to make out by ear these days; however, the upside is a more maturely refined blend that gives every musical element equal opportunity to be appreciated.

Starting things off is “One with Satan.” The track opens like a black cloud emerging with an ominous, slow-paced riff before exploding into familiarly aggressive and high-speed thrashing – including a main riff that sounds distinctly reminiscent to the ‘Serpents of the Light’ title track. There’s plenty of variety packed in here with riff after riff of pure intensity, impressive lead guitar work, and time changes that flow seamlessly together. Newest single, “Seal the Tomb Below” is a straightforward punisher that adds some fresh twists to the signature, mid-paced Deicide groove riffing. If you don’t like these riffs, then it’s probably time to turn in your metal card. Asheim, who never seems to disappoint, once again demonstrates his unrivaled kit skills and includes too many awesome drum fills to count. This one is immediately destined for the replay button. One of the album’s most powerful tracks and possibly most successful melding of melodic and chaotic is “Defying the Sacred.” It has a bit of “Blame it on God” in there but manages to go even darker and more complex for what results in a truly delightful slice of evil. Benton’s vocals are top-notch here and sound as if bellowed straight from the cavernous depths of Hell, particularly during the chorus. Final track “Destined to Blasphemy,” clocking in it at just under two and a half minutes it’s a violently high-speed face-melter with an old school death/thrash feel. The riffing is pure metal destruction and the drumming reaches otherworldly rates of velocity. It’s a short, no-bullshit, perfect album-ender that will undoubtedly leave you wanting more.

Once again, while not trying to re-invent the wheel, Deicide proves that they still own their coveted spot on the death metal Mt. Rushmore with ‘Overtures of Blasphemy.’ Never being ones to stray too far from tradition, their old school death metal roots still remain sharply and prominently intact, right down to the elaborately diabolical cover art by Zbigniew M. Bielak (Ghost, Paradise Lost, Mayhem). It’s classic death metal with enough fresh influence to keep things interesting without ever losing focus on delivering on its brutal expectations.

Pre-order it here.

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About Steve Savage

Writer and music enthusiast based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, always interested in discovering new and different music no matter what the genre. Hit me up anytime if you know about something I should be listening to or if you just wanna talk music in general. Peace!

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