Deicide - _Scars of the Crucifix_
(Earache Records, 2004)
by: Jackie Smit (8.5 out of 10)
By the time you read this review, the odds are you've read ad infinitum the lamentations of several journalists bemoaning the dire quality of Deicide's last few records. Ironically, a great many of these individuals were praising Deicide's sonic atrocity; either way, the truth of the matter is that Deicide have been cruising down the wide-line highway to mediocrity ever since the release of 1994's _Once Upon the Cross_. That _Scars of the Crucifix_ has promised a return to the infernal form of the Floridian deathers' debut or the mighty _Legion_ means little the in face of the yawn-fest that was _Insineratehymn_ or the (unintentional) self-parody of _In Torment in Hell_. So, for anyone still wondering, _Scars of the Crucifix_ does not match up to what it claims to be. Yet, that said, it is a blistering, ferocious record that will certainly make a fair few of the band's detractors eat their words. Glen Benton's vocals are once again piercingly vicious, while Steve Asheim remains one of death metal's unsung heroes behind the drum kit. This time round however, top honours go to the brothers Hoffman for their outstanding guitarwork -- combining venomous riffs with some surprisingly symphonic leads, particularly on the record's title track and the ironically titled "Mad at God". Niel Kernon's production job is slightly disappointing though, especially when it results in the thin, trebly guitar sound that previously plagued 1996's _Serpents of the Light_. When all is said and done, perhaps the most intriguing thing about _Scars of the Crucifix_ is not that it's the band's first solid record in nearly a decade, but that it begs the question as to whether Deicide will manage to top this effort on subsequent releases, or whether this is the final triumphant dying call of a once majestic beast.


(article published 29/2/2004)

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