Deicide - _The Stench of Redemption_
(Earache Records, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (
It's not often that you'll catch me admitting something like this, but with the benefit of hindsight I may have been slightly overzealous about Deicide's last effort, 2004's _Scars of the Crucifix_. And why not? I'm a fan, and it made me happy just to hear the Florida foursome do something that, for a change, didn't come across as a complete and utter piss-take of their former glories. The problem with that record though was longevity; at the time it may have been some of the best material that the band had brought out for ages, but the novelty just seemed to wear thin much sooner than it should have. It would make the praise I'm about to heap on their eighth full-length seem almost ironic in a way, but then the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating -- and boy, have Deicide delivered the goods this time around.With Steve Asheim still acting as the designated riff-meister (at least as far as laying down an initial concept is concerned) the album retains the familiarly sinister, groovy feel of classic Deicide, but any other similarities to the band's last three albums are tenuous at best. Recruiting Jack Owen and Ralph Santolla to handle guitar duties has not only meant that a fire's been very obviously lit under the remaining original members' collective behinds, but there's also an added dimension of melody and musicality present for the duration unlike anything the Hoffman brothers were ever able to muster.Starting off with a riff that briefly hints at "Trick or Betrayed", the title track welcomes us to the party and lets us know that all bets are off. Asheim's drumming is thunderous. The bargain-basement production of every album since _Serpents of the Light_ has been tossed in favour of a thick, chunky sound that allows for both clarity of each instrument and a hefty dose of oomph. And yes, in case you were wondering, Glen Benton sounds less like a caricature of himself and more like the raven-haired upstart who put the fear of Beelzebub into the moral majority in the early Nineties. Were that not enough, by the time the tag team of Owen and Santolla tear into one of the most stunning solos since the infamous leads on Megadeth's "Holy Wars", you'll be all but ready to forget the fifteen minutes of your life wasted spent listening to _In Torment, in Hell_.But it doesn't stop there. _The Stench of Redemption_ isn't merely a good album; it's the most envenomed, blistering effort this side of _Legion_. With Deicide bravely traversing unfamiliar musical territory, it also proves a surprising, perhaps even challenging listen, with the band even taking on and outdoing Slayer at their own game on the closing track, "The Lord's Sedition". Truly this is Deicide like you've never heard them before, and the chances are excellent that you're never going to want to hear them any differently after this.
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