Empowered by Blasphemy

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Deicide is death metal royalty. Despite some ups and down the band is 11 albums into a genre defining career and with the 11th album, In the Minds of Evil released late in 2013, Glen Benton and co. are still on top of their game, being as brutal and anti Christian as ever. However, other than Benton and drummer Steve Ashiem, the band has undergone some line up changes. Gone are the long time Hoffman brothers replaced by Jack Owen and at one point Ralph Santolla, but there is some new blood in the Deicide camp now and that new blood is Guitarist Kevin Quiron.

I’ve known Kevin for a while now going back to the Council of the Fallen days — a short lived but criminally underrated black/death metal act. However, most of you may know him for his post Council of the Fallen band, Order of Ennead, who released 2 fine albums for Earache Records in 2008’s self-titled debut and 2010’s An Examination of Being. Well, those two albums got the attention of Deicide drummer Steve Ashiem, who drummed on both and Kevin Quiron joined Deicide as a session/live guitarist before becoming a full time member. I visited a little with Kevin about playing for one of his idols as well as all other issues.

How did you get involved with Deicide? I assume it began with Decide drummer Steve Ashiem playing on the Order of Ennead albums?

Yes it did. I moved to Florida and was having a hard time finding a drummer to jam with. My bass player, Scott Patrick of Order Of Ennead, Council Of The Fallen at the time, said he played Steve some of my material and he was interested in jamming. Deicide was recording Till Death To US Part and had some shows coming up and things with Ralph weren’t great at that time. I filled in for many tours over the years when they were on the outs. I was just interested in OOE when we started jamming.

It must have been so awesome playing for what I imagine is one of your idol bands growing up? 

Yeah I grew up listening to them. The first album and Once Upon The Cross were favorites when I was learning to play guitar. It still strikes me as a bit bizarre when I think about it, but it’s life and plenty of strange things happen in it.

How hard has it been essentially replacing Ralph Santolla and his melodic leads that reinvigorated Decide a few albums ago? Your and Jacks solos are much different to his.

When I first started jamming with them I was only concerned with writing and playing rhythms. To continue playing with them I’ve started getting into them more, but writing and rhythms are still my passion. I don’t play Ralph’s solos exactly the same, but I don’t play the Hoffman’s the same either. I’ll hit certain points the same way with each, but get from point A to point B the way I would.

It was know that Santolla was a christian, and or course that had to be an issue playing in Deicide — where do you stand as far as Christianity and Deicide’s lyrical takes?

I can’t speak for Ralph or Glen. Glen writes the lyrics for the band and that’s the way it has always been and contains his views. I am not a Satanist or a Christian. My personal views are covered in the two Order Of Ennead albums that are out there. I fall into the Agnostic category and that means I don’t think man knows how or why we are here and no god has ever contacted anyone. My view and Deicide lyrics are similar in the way that we both believe religion is bad for humanity and corrupt and most importantly based on a lie. Some people that are more articulate in describing similar views I have are: Richard Dawkins, George Carlin, Penn Jillette and Christopher Hitchens. Look them up for an interesting read or listen.

You are now not only playing with the legendary Deicide, you are along side Jack Owen- guitarist for Cannibal Corpse’s first 9 albums. How has that been?

Jack is great. He does his own thing and is really easy to get along with. I’ve been over to his place a number of times and while on tour we’ll go wander around together. We have a number of songs co-written on the new album as well.

Deicide is one of the longest running , consistent death metal bands around, even with a few ups and downs. What is the mood in the Decide camp after releasing album number 11?

They don’t really dwell on the long history or how many albums they’ve put out. It’s more about what’s going on today and what’s the next thing we’re going to do. The mood has been pretty positive lately though. Not much drama and everyone gets along within the band. Right now we just want to book a bunch of shows and get this new album out there.

It seems Benton is back to being much more straight forward and brutal with the last two albums compared to the two prior albums Santolla performed on.

I think some of that has to do with recording at Audio Hammer. They’ve done all of their previous albums at Morrisound. It’s just not the place to go for metal anymore. The last album they used Mark Lewis and “In The Minds Of Evil” was done with Jason Seucof. These guys are at the top of their game and leading the way of how to record these days.

How much song writing input do you have? its not like you (or Jack for that matter) are nobodies in metal.

I was curious on how much input I was going to have also and they let me do my thing. Everything has to go through the Steve/Glen/Jack filter though. We all got together from the first day and whoever had a riff would play it and if we all liked it, it was used. Trying different structures came later and vocals and solos came way later. As far as Jack, he has more material on the In the Minds of Evil album than the others. He didn’t have any until the last one actually. Steve handled almost everything after Scars of the Crucifix and was wanting a break. He still has some songs on this one, but not an entire albums worth. Even Glen has a couple riffs. He hasn’t had a riff on an album since Legion. 

How is it working with such an icon in Glen Benton- is he as hard to get along with as the rumors seem to indicate? Ive interviewed him over the the phone before and he seemed very nice.

I get along with him fine and everyone in the band gets along. Just don’t piss him off.

What is it like touring with Glen Benton?

As with anyone, there are ups and downs. The road is tough. Your out there driving around far from home and away from your daily comforts. You deal with it as best you can and put on the best show you can even if your tired, exhausted or sick.

Is it coincidence that you seem to have invigorated Benton and Deicide? Prior to your arrival, the band had released the awful ‘Til Death Do us part. You join the fray and the band returns with the most brutal album in over a decade in To Hell With God. Or just Glen kick out a terrible album when he wants out of a record deal?

I didn’t have anything to do with “To Hell With God“. I had done some touring with them, but they had just signed to Century Media. The band was pretty chaotic during Till Death Do Us Part and Steve Asheim is the only reason the band kept functional. During To Hell With God they had Ralph do solos as a session player. He’s not a writer though and never wrote a riff for them. Glen seems more involved, but it’s from the lack of tension in the band. That’s my guess.

So, how much animosity is there between Benton and the Hoffman brothers — especially now they are using the original Deicide name, Amon? No Decide/Amon tour in the near future?

You’ll have to ask him and them. Not my business.

What is the status of Order of Ennead? you seemed to uncovered a real talent in Jon Li. Will Asheim help out on drums again. maybe Benton provide some vocals as he did for Vital Remains?

We’ve been on hiatus for a while now. Life got in the way. You’d like to pursue things, but at some point it becomes financial and reality strikes. I’ve got a bunch of material written and we do hope to record an EP sometime in 2014. Steve and Scott will be there, John lives in NYC so that makes it difficult for him.

Is Deicide your main/full-time focus now? Tell me about Shadow Society?

Yeah, Deicide is my main focus. I’ve got a bunch of material written for whatever. Have to see were it ends up if anywhere. My other project Shadow Society has had a tough time getting started. Members not living close and turmoil in personal lives. It’s not easy getting things started. Priorities.

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