Deicide
Banished By Sin

At first glance, album number 13 from one of death metal’s true institutions Deicide, appears to be yet another by-the-numbers Deicide album that Bentons (yes I used it as a verb), blasphemes and blasts its way through another effort of Christ-hating death metal.

And to some extent it does. It is most certainly a Deicide album through and through, delivering all the thunderous, blasphemous death metal that the band has delivered since 1990’s seminal debut, but keen-eared listeners will detect a few subtle things that make the album a little different.

Coming with the label shift to Reigning Phoenix /Atomic Fire, (the newish label and sub-label run by former Nuclear Blast folks) after two albums on Century Media, comes a shiny, clean production, arguably the cleaning the band has ever had, with crystal clear engineering from The Absence‘s Jeramie King. Benton’s bass in particular sounds fully front and center drummer Steve Asheim sounds as good as ever.

Also, Benton’s voice sounds as good as ever. Whereas some of his peers have retired (Frank Mullen), sound a bit ragged (John Tardy), sold out (David Vincent) or flat-out suck ( Chris Barnes), it’s good to hear Glen still bellow out his Christ-hating anthems as good as he did 30 years ago.

Then, there is yet another new guitarist as the band keeps looking for Jack Owens’ replacement, (on 2018s Overtures of Blasphemy it was Monstrosity’s Mark English) this time it is Taylor Nordberg,( who also delivers the higher register shrieks) also from US melodic death act The Absence (as well as Ribspreader, Inhuman Condition and others). The connection to The Abscence has resulted in a more melodic Deicide that imbues the Ralph Santolla years and along with Kevion Quiron (Council of the Fallen), now comfortably on his third Deicide effort seems as cohesive and consistent as the band has sounded in years.

Now, Nordberg isn’t delivering the sweep-filled super melodic leads this Santolla did on The Stench of Redemption , but the leads and his and Quiron’s songwriting contributions certainly make the album more varied but also consistently good than anything from the last 3-4 efforts since Stench.

Even with the leads of Nordberg, the 38-minute run time is full to the brim of what you want and love from Deicide with ample brutish songs that imbue the band’s oft-copied sound especially the album’s first half where opener “From Unknown Heights You Shall Fall”, “Doomed to Die” , “Sever the Tongue”, “Faithless” and ” Bury the Cross… with Your Christ”, all deliver ferociously classic Deicide blasts and stomps.

Then, the fourth track, the Asheim-penned “Woke From God” is where the album starts to get a little more interesting with a vibe that imbues The Stench of Redemption and Scars of the Crucifix with its leads and dare I say a bit of a melo-death riff for the chorus. “Ritual Defied” is a choppy number that might be the album’s weakest track as it never really settles into a riff, and Nordberg solos are a bit intrusive. But “Failures from Your Dying Lord” is an absolute scorcher of a track, with a high energy thrashy gallop, and then “Banished by Sin” is a massive mid-paced romp.

The album’s final trio of Quiron/Nordberg penned songs (“A Trinity of None”, “I Am I… a Curse of Death”, “The Light Defeated” show Quiron and Nordberg comfortably penning classic-sounding Deicide numbers while Nordberg’s solo heavy moments give things just a little more variety and melody, especially the surprisingly epic closer “The Light Defeated”.

Banished by Sin has broken the recent trend of Deicide albums that follow a good/bad/good pattern, with 2 fine albums in a row.  Benton allowing some new blood in to freshen up the band’s sound again has worked wonders for what’s typically a pretty predictable sound and band, resulting in one of Deicide’s better efforts of the last 18 years.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 29th, 2024

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