Thursday, 5 July 2012

DEICIDE - To Hell With God (2011)

01  To Hell With God
02. Save Your
03  Witness Of Death
04  Conviction
05  Empowered By Blasphemy
06  Angels In Hell
07  Hang In Agony Until You're Dead
08  Servant Of The Enemy
09  Into The Darkness You Go
10  How Can You Call Yourself A God

'To Hell With God' is the tenth studio album by the legendary American death metal band Deicide. The follow-up to 'Till Death Do Us Part' (2008), it was originally intended to be released in 2009 before being pushed back to a 2010 release, and was finally released on February 15, 2011 through Century Media Records. It is the last album to feature guitarist Ralph Santolla.

Deicide’s sound seems to be back to the crisp Floridian tones of the Scott Burns/Jim Morris era rather than Steve Asheim’s murky production that marred ‘Til Death Do Us Part'.  Even the songwriting seems revitalized, featuring lots of Jack Owen and Ralph Santolla lead work (which is the main highlight) that has a sense of dynamic, anti-Christian fury that’s been a staple of Deicide now for over twenty years. Critics of Deicide should by now be wise to the fact that despite the very strong message being preached, the sheer brutality of the music is what should overshadow the controversy the band gleefully amasses. Sadly, it seems that Deicide are still a bit of a one-trick pony in more ways than one, and in utter frankness, “To Hell With God” isn’t really able to placate my already present belief that they don’t always live up to their legendary status. In fact, the band seem to be entering a prolonged phase of blandness that you’d think would be beneath Mr. Benton and Mr. Asheim, and that sensation is present throughout the entire disc outside of a few moments and tracks that occasionally break through the monotony.

The greatest enemy that this album has, and one that kind of keeps it boxed in towards a solid yet somewhat anti-climactic nature, is how methodical it is. Each riff, each combination of deep and slightly higher pitched barks, every blast and breakdown comes in exactly where it’s expected, leaving very few wow moments. Only its bookends, the opening title track and closing "How Can You Call Yourself A God," plus to a lesser extent the more dynamic "Conviction" and "Hang In Agony Until You're Dead" show any staying power, when all is said and done.

Curiously, 'To Hell With God', while interesting enough in terms of how the songs are constructed, lags behind in terms of extremity. The bottom line here, is that this isn't really a brutal death metal album. It's more of a classic death metal album, in a very classic death metal style. As I said, thrash riffs, over the top solos, standard death metal drumming fare, no sign of clean or female vocals, and no core, death core, or whatever the hell kids think qualifies for death metal these days.

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