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DEICIDE Banished By Sin

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Sunday, April 28, 2024 @ 12:02 AM


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DEICIDE
Banished By Sin

Reigning Phoenix Music




Have to admit, I haven't paid much attention to DEICIDE for quite a long time. After the band's spectacular early '90s opening salvo of the fearsome self-titled debut and 1992's Legion - and, to a lesser extent, Once Upon The Cross and Serpents Of The Light in the latter part of the decade - and the initial intrigue over infamous frontman Glen Benton, things started to go sideways as the new millennium dawned. At least IMO.

DEICIDE fell into a familiar pattern of lineup turmoil and inconsistent/pedestrian material as the guitar-slinging Hoffman brothers departed rather acrimoniously and a revolving door of death metal veterans (the late Ralph Santolla, Chris Canella, MONSTROSITY's Mark English, Kevin Quiron) came and went - in Quiron's case, more than once, and he is back with the band now. Even the presence of ex-CANNIBAL CORPSE guitarist Jack Owen for the better part of a decade ultimately didn't do that much to bolster DEICIDE's track record, at least after his first outing, 2006's The Stench Of Redemption, which was a bit of a ripper.

Owen bailed in a dispute over songwriting credits in 2016 and joined up with ex-CANNIBAL frontman Chris Barnes in SIX FEET UNDER, whose track record has been far spottier than DEICIDE's for far longer - indeed SFU's death spiral continues with its latest, Killing For Revenge, which is just dreadful. But that's another matter. Ironically, things have been on an upswing for DEICIDE since Owen skated.

The band's lone album with English, 2018's Overtures Of Blasphemy, was its feistiest, most engaging outing since Redemption. And its 13th and latest effort, Banished By Sin, with Owen's replacement - or I guess his replacement's replacement, since Cannella was onboard from 2019-2022 - Taylor Nordberggoes one better, capturing the spirit and fire of DEICIDE's early days while offering the sort of variety that the usually blunt-object quartet rarely displays.

Another exuberant, viciously efficient performance by the band and a resounding mix from Josh (KORN, LAMB OF GOD, GOJIRA, etc.) Wilbur - who did the same and then some on SLAYER guitarist Kerry King's very LOUD new solo album - are enough to make you sit up and take notice of Banished By Sin on their own. But with everyone apparently sharing equally in the songwriting, contributing three songs each, the sonic palette here is refreshingly broader, delivering plenty of the band's sacrilegious bludgeon while offering a number of fiendish surprises that actually make the album a fun listen - such as fun is defined within DEICIDE's all-business vocabulary.

Banished By Sin kicks off in fairly typical DEICIDE fashion, with the bulldozing old school death metal of "From Unknown Heights You Shall Fall" and "Doomed To Die" - whose barking chorus recalls "Sacrificial Suicide" from 1990 - and the menacing chug of "Sever The Tongue" with its screechy, Evil Dead-style "I'll Swallow Your Soul" backing vocals. But the aperture really opens with "Faithless" which launches with an almost power metal flourish before blasting off with blackened thrash fury punctuated by nifty jabbing riffs that are catchy as hell.

This may be evidence of Nordberg's influence. While he is well-schooled in extreme metal - playing in a ton of bands, from the grindy SCAB to old school death metallers MASSACRE and its offshoot INHUMAN CONDITION and Swe-deathsters RIBSPREADER - he's got experience with more melodic fare, relatively speaking, from his time with THE ABSENCE and live stints with SOILWORK and Gus G. And you can hear that in "Woke From God", "A Trinity Of None" and the title track with their mix of black/thrash velocity, crafty hooks, dive-bomb/dog-fight solos and hints of melody that manage to stand up to Benton's full-throated, grizzly roar and "Christendom = Shit" harangues.

For his part, Benton sounds as ornery and vehement as he was back in the day, when DEICIDE was a genuinely disturbing outfit. Navigating the newer twists seems to have relit the old school fire under Benton's ass and he barrels through both those and the more familiar "Bury The Cross...With Your Christ", "Failures Of Your Dying Lord" and "I Am I...A Curse Of Death" with unwavering authority, all of which brings an extra note of credence to the material's often blasphemously preposterous lyrics.

And, as noted above, this just adds to the "fun" here. Benton and his mob of miscreants - rounded out by longtime partner in crime drummer Steve Asheim-are at their best when they are at their surliest, and Banished By Sin is certainly one pissed off, but inspired, piece of work.

3.5 Out Of 5.0


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