Saturday, 9 June 2012

DEICIDE - Once Upon The Cross (1995)

01  Once Upon The Cross
02  Christ Denied
03  When Satan Rules His World
04  Kill The Christian
05  Trick Or Betrayed
06  They Are The Children Of The Underworld
07  Behind The Light Thou Shall Rise
08  To Be Dead
09  Confessional Rape

'Once Upon the Cross' is the third studio album by American death metal band Deicide. It was released on April 18th 1995 via Roadrunner Records. In America, the cover of the album is censored with a sticker basically telling you that it is very explicit, however it is only on the plastic case and is removeable. Not stuck on the actual cover of the booklet.

This album continues with the anti-christian diatribes, but it seems as if the demonic, bestial possession of their 'Deicide' and 'Legion' albums has passed. The album is on a good deal slower, the structure is more traditional and sane, and is a lot deeper in tone, but overall feels less pounding and much less relentless. Glen's vocals are much more monotonous, as is the music on a whole. They still have some moments where they pick up here and there and kick some ass, like on "Kill the Christian" and "Trick or Betrayed", but it pales compared to what they did on Legion. The lyrics aren't as insane, or as raw and hateful, but they're nevertheless incredibly offensive, and at this point aren't completely tired -- disemboweling Jesus, defecating on the Bible and pissing on the cross, denying christ's return, and so forth.

Not to say that this is any way a disappointment, because it's a solid effort I'd squarely place between 'Deicide' and 'Legion' in overall quality. For the third time, they went with Scott Burns to record and mix the album, and in all I'd say he did a better job than the first two. The guitars have a thicker, more pulverizing tone to them, and the leads feel more flush with the rhythms when they burst upon the scene. Benton's lower pitched vocals sound a lot better here, very often extracted from the snarling accompaniment, and its effective enough when he's using these exclusively (through much of the title track, for instance). It was interesting to see that Steve Asheim considers this one of their slowest albums, and that the band performs all the material at a higher tempo in the live setting, but I didn't ever feel that it was dragging its cloven hooves along: you still get the expected alternation of semi-technical chugging and accelerated bursts of intensity from 'Legion'

In my humble opinion this was Deicide's last truly great effort. All the tracks stand out with the classics from the first two records, whereas their later output seems much more rushed, devoid of ideas musically and ends up largely forgettable. 'Once Upon The Cross' is highly recommended.

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