"To Hell With God"

(Century Media)

01. To Hell With God
02. Save Your
03. Witness Of Death
04. Conviction
05. Empowered By Blasphemy
06. Angels In Hell
07. Hang In Agony Until You're Dead
08. Servant Of The Enemy
09. Into The Darkness You Go
10. How Can You Call Yourself A God

RATING: 8.5/10

"To Hell With God" is the title of the new DEICIDE album, eh? How shocking that the quartet would choose a title so blatant in its blasphemy when the storied Floridian death metal band has always prided itself on its subtlety in matters of protest against blind faith followers of white-light religions. "Yeah, right" as the old adage goes. Subtlety is not a word with which vocalist/bassist Glen Benton or drummer Steve Asheim have ever been familiar. But what you really need to know in order to make an informed purchase decision is how "To Hell With God" stands up against DEICIDE's sizeable, somewhat uneven, catalogue. If I may be so bold, it is one of the best albums the band has ever released. It is a statement I make having held only moderate expectations for it and my only hope was that it would be better than the lukewarm "Til Death Do Us Part". Color me blown away.

I'm not sure what happened since the release of that last album, but from the opening title track on through "How Can you Call Yourself a God" it sounds like DEICIDE grew an enormous chip on its collective shoulder and are daring any USDM band in earshot to knock that sucker off. Much like CANNIBAL CORPSE's "Kill" had that certain something that made it an immediate classic, "To Hell With God" is a definitive representation of what DEICIDE is all about: in-your-face sacrilege played at dangerous speeds and with nothing but the most malicious of intents. It is a splendid combination of the writing style of the first couple of DEICIDE albums and the musical development that showed up in later years. That includes Benton's trademark vocals (with well placed shrieks) and recognizable patterns, but this time his method is a more direct one and you'll swear someone pissed in his corn flakes the day he was scheduled to record. Then add the game-raising musicality heard on "The Stench Of Redemption", yet reign it in just enough to make each concise in its killing capacity. That in a nutshell is "To Hell with God".

And damn, those riffs! Right out of the gate the title track exemplifies the reinvigorated six-string mastery; a true balance of old and new. Guitarists Jack Owen and Ralph Santolla again bring to the table serious musical chops, including piercing solos, but only within the context of the classic DEICIDE sound, which in the case of "To Hell With God" is as memorable as it is sadistic. Good goat almighty, if you can't hear it on "Witness of Death", then you're just not a DEICIDE fan. That song's meshing of early Tampa DM songwriting with speeding, SLAYER-esque extremity (also heard on "Servant Of The Enemy"), all wrapped up in a modern package, will take your breath away, then leave you for dead. When the tempo does switch from insane to manageably murderous, it is only to get a little Satanic strut going on classic-in-the-making "Conviction". And it would be a crime if I didn't mention Steve Asheim's performance here; it so tight, so fast, and so powerful that only demonic possession can explain it.

To be quite honest, I'm shocked at what DEICIDE has created with this album; I really didn't think they had another one like this in them. For the style of death metal that DEICIDE play, this is about as good as it gets. That and the fact that there isn't so much as a single mediocre track on the album make "To Hell With God" 2011's first essential USDM album.


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