So you were worried about the fate of DEICIDE after the less than amicable departure of the Hoffman brothers, eh? Stop worrying, DEICIDE just raised its game on "The Stench of Redemption", thanks to replacement guitarists Jack Owen (ex-CANNIBAL CORPSE) and Ralph Santolla (ex-DEATH, ex-ICED EARTH). Both members add to DEICIDE's legendary death metal sound by upping the six-string dynamics and giving these compositions a much-needed injection of compositional depth. That does not mean that you won't recognize "The Stench of Redemption" as anything but a Hell-fried DEICIDE album, only that the added ingredients push the album to heights previously unattained.
Remaining original members drummer Steve Asheim and vocalist Glen Benton sound as convincing as ever, the former's percussive blasts absolutely earth shaking, the latter's guttural blasphemy the stuff of Christian nightmares. Aside from the death metal crush, several songs are quite tuneful, at least from the standpoint of choruses and guitar lines that stay with you, especially after multiple listens. "Death to Jesus" is a perfect example, its spiraling chorus of screams and growls on the chorus downright catchy. While able to cram oodles of Owen/Santolla guitar fire into relatively short time spans, it is impressive that songs like "Desecration" are able to quickly build and climax, the song in particular boasting riffs that are white hot and bone-chilling at once. Those sadistic screams add to the hair-raising fury. The same goes for "Crucified for the Innocence". The pummel is relentless, yet the guitar work becomes increasingly more captivating with each listen. The leads on the track are spine-tingling as well.
But it keeps coming back to the Owen/Santolla team. "The Stench of Redemption" never ceases to make one think about the new heights that the duo has helped DEICIDE reach. The soloing and interplay comes off as though the pair has been in the band since the beginning. That not a shred of classic DEICIDE iniquity is lost amidst the compositional improvement is perhaps even more impressive.
DEICIDE has had its share of ups and downs over the years, the loss of two key original members not the least of its troubles. And still Benton and Asheim were able to recruit two stellar musicians and hit the ground running as if nothing ever happened. "The Stench of Redemption" is sure to become a U.S. death metal favorite among both fans and critics. Nicely done, boys.