Friday, June 29, 2012

Deicide - Deicide

I noticed as of late that Deicide has become the linchpin for every pseudo-intellectual type roaming the internet and feeling special because they discovered 'Ulcerate' or some other el blando-o "post" death metal band that makes them feel intellectually superior for doing so.

The real kicker is that most of these "critics" are prepubescent chumps that regard Deicide's debut as being "meh" (by the way, I'd like to kick whoever came up with that cutesy little term in the face a couple of thousand times) and only worthy of a passing laugh. The fact of the matter is that I remember when this came out as clear as day and all of the smarmy fucks who are my age and are now "swept away" by the imaginary genius of Darkthrone or enthralled by the even more baffling appeal of Portal were left drooling and stupefied with amazement when this came out oh so long ago regardless of what they'd lead you to believe in this day in age.

I realize that it's been a LONG motherfucking time since Deicide has wielded any semblance of authority over the fickle minds and imaginations of the death metal masses, in no small part due to the fact that they have been on a creative downslide since, arguably, 'Once Upon the Cross'. Maybe 'Serpents of the Light', depending on how forgiving or just plain dense you are. I can also understand, to some degree, that since this albums release the death metal flood gates were torn off of the fucking hinges, cast aside and forever forgotten thus allowing an unhealthy amount of desensitization to flow into the ears and minds of metal music listeners since. Despite the fact that the band has been mired in creative stagnation for almost twenty years, nothing, absolutely nothing can take away from the initial impact this band had on the metal scene, death metal in particular, during those early, formative years.

Back in 1990, there were really only a handful or two of bands that were legitimately creating music under the death metal moniker. Sure, there were countless unsigned acts that nobody would hear of until at least 10 or so years later with the advent of the internet, but as far as signed bands that were releasing globally accessible albums were concerned, pickin's were mighty slim, therefore when Roadrunner aka R/C (in those days) unleashed Deicide's unholier than thou self titled debut in the Summer of 1990, minds were sufficiently blown.

It's so easy for people to jump on the hipster bandwagon these days and poke and jeer at Glen Benton's rapidly balding dome (which does nothing to cover up the crooked cross embedded in his skull)) and his increasingly shot voice, not to mention his unwise insistence to liberally pepper his vocal lines on almost any and every conceivable section of each new Deicide song making it a cringe inducing affair to endure, yet make no mistake about it whatsoever, on this album Benton was a fucking hateful and bestial sounding monster from where only nightmares reside. He sounded equal parts demonic and murderous savage and I don't give a roasted rats arse if he tinkered around a bit in the studio to come up with some of the vocal monstrosities on display here. The bulk of the voices that he employs on here are certainly his own and as far as the high and low overdubbing goes, well, what can I say? It sounded fucking great! Sure, scholarly know-it-alls will be quick to point out that Carcass or even Napalm Death were also using high and low death metal vocals before Deicide had but I dare say that the explosive effect that Glen's vocal studio tinkerings would have FAR fucking surpassed what I had imagined could be done up until that point.

For quite some time beforehand, Slayer, for me, was kind of the "be all, end all" band in terms of shock and aggression, lyrically and otherwise. Even though I had been exposed to the likes of Napalm Death, Obituary, Sodom, Death, Kreator, etc, none of these bands were able to shake the foundations set by L.A.'s best, that was until Deicide came rampaging out of the gates with this behemoth of a monstrosity. Even the lyrics put everyone else to shame. When you proclaim that you 'killed Jesus, you know, just to see him bleed....', that pretty much nails the fucking coffin shut. You can go around wearing spikes and dabbing black and white make-up on your face akin to the manner in which many glam rock bands had done beforehand, but when one makes a statement such as that, that pretty much cancels out all of the "crispety, crunchety" black metal bullshit that has filed out of the gates since. The war is over.You can go back home now. You are no longer needed, and never were for that matter.

The drums on this album were also something of a surprise. Sure, death metal's blasting obsession had already taken form and everyone was already drooling over Pete Sandoval's expertise, yet there was something a bit more desperate and barbaric about Steve Asheim's brutal pummeling behind the kit. Listening to Pete sounded like what a typewriter must sound like to a deaf guy in the next room. Asheim was pounding the fuck away on these things and at that point showed all the promise of Sandoval and many of the other great drummers of the time.

Of course along with Legion, the self titled debut was Deicide's most evil sounding record to date in terms of guitar tone and riff selections. Sure, the leads were in the messy Rick Rozz/Slayer department, but who gives a fuck? When the actual riffage is this desperate and harnesses that much hateful intent, I pay close attention. Leads were usually the last fucking thing I cared about, if I even paid them any mind to begin with.

It's truly a shame that so many people getting into death metal these days are skipping right over this masterpiece of truly evil death metal. Sure, the band's Satanic "beliefs" are up for question but the negative and chaotic vibe that this album gives out puts to shame anything that has come out of Norway since Darkthrone jumped on the bandwagon that they've been circling ever since.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this article....i'm 30 and a metal fan since age 11, not to mention a black male metal lover. Ive never been a huge deicide guy but I understand their significance in the scene. I seen them live 3weeks ago and I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY.... glen's voice was MASSIVE and the talent was incredible musically as a group. The addition of jack owen really adds another element on guitar.