Release Date: 14th September 2018
Label: Red Music
Genre: Death Metal
There’s a certain level of expectation that comes with a new release from a classic band. Despite consistently producing new material, Deicide have never strayed far from what made them an underground success in the first place. With at least three classic records under their belt the Tampa hellraisers have regularly produced quality music over the decades. Although 2013’s In The Minds Of Evil stands as their most youthful and energetic output since the early 90s, never before have the band sounded like they’re having so much FUN.
Overtures Of Blasphemy rattles along from the get-go, jumping from one muscular hook to the next with the agility of a band half their age. Everything is held together by ultra-tight drumming, laser accurate picking and a crisp, yet surprisingly natural production job. Glen Benton’s pummelling bass tone shines through the insanely disciplined guitar work while his vocals remain consistently in his lowest register for maximum brutality. This may turn a lot of people off initially, but his infamous anti-Christian lyrics are surprisingly legible and provide the record with some of it’s catchiest moments. Look no further than ‘Compliments Of Christ’, in which every second seems to have been expertly crafted to stick in your head like a pickaxe. It’s something incredible that Deicide remain this blisteringly heavy 30 years into their career, yet have the skill to pull off what are essentially extreme Metal singalongs. At points the compositions take on an almost symphonic quality, ‘Crawled From The Shadows’ showcasing both the band’s technical ability and their knack for making seemingly simple arrangements feel epic and expansive within such short time frames. ‘Seal The Tomb Below’ and ‘Anointed In Blood’ ensure that the band’s thrash roots are never far from view, while more traditional numbers like ‘One With Satan’ keep up the pace with more vicious blastbeat pummeling. The star of the show however is the dextrous, melodic guitar solos that weave themselves tastefully into key sections of each track. These passages provide a lift to the rumbling dirge, reminiscent of Brandon Ellis’ unmatched lead work in The Black Dhalia Murder, serving their purpose but never outstaying their welcome.
Although Overtures Of Blasphemy is somewhat of a return to form for Deicide, it certainly isn’t without it’s faults. It lacks variation and certainly feels like it could lose a couple of tracks to make it less of a slog. Clocking in at 37 minutes it isn’t a very long album, but by the time you reach track 6 it’s easy to find yourself looking at the time. This issue is compounded by the fact that there are absolutely zero vocal change-ups. Glen Benton’s lows are fantastic, but they’re not particularly interesting when cloned across every track. The real kicker comes with the lyrical content. Satanic themes can be fun and occasionally terrifying, but this alone isn’t nearly provocative or frightening enough to turn heads in 2018. There are plenty of more relevant avenues that Benton could have taken his writing while retaining Deicide’s blasphemous narrative, instead we get 12 tracks of “Christianity is bad and I’m gonna kill Jesus”.
Overtures Of Blasphemy is not a bad release, it slithers into the band’s top five albums quite comfortably. Despite some faults, it’s still fun, engaging and genuinely fist-pumping with plenty of charm and songwriting prowess to boot. It’s hard to see how any long-term fan would be disappointed and a handful of tracks have the potential to become career favourites. But on the flipside, when you have more contemporary acts like Venom Prison, Thy Art Is Murder and Tomb Mold doing exciting things within extreme metal, this album may struggle to resonate with younger fans. In essence, Deicide have crafted another good album to add to their extensive collection, but be sure to brand an inverted cross on your forehead before listening…otherwise you might upset them.
Recommended Track: ‘Compliments of Christ’