Sunday Old School: Deicide
Band Photo: Deicide (?)
With Christmas two days away, it’s more than likely that by now, we’ve all seen the "Keep Christ in Christmas" stickers/posters/statuses on Facebook, but most non-believers are well aware of Christmas being a Christian festival and don’t want to remove Jesus from this time of the year. However, if there’s one band that seems intent on removing Jesus from everything, it’s one of Florida’s many legendary death metal bands, Deicide. Deicide were formed in the city of Tampa in July 1987, initially under the name Amon, by vocalist/bassist, Glen Benton and guitarist Brian Hoffman, who soon recruited his brother, Eric to be the band’s second guitarist. With the lineup rounded out by drummer Steve Asheim, the group recorded an eight track demo entitled, "Feasting the Beast." After gigging sporadically around their home city, the band recorded a second demo, "Sacrificial" at Morrisound Studios with producer, Scott Burns, a place and man who would go on to be instrumental in the development of death metal.
Following the recording, Amon changed their name to Carnage and began performing live more regularly. Very soon, Carnage, or rather, Benton, gained notice from Roadrunner Records, when he reportedly barged into the office of an A&R man and aggressively demanded that they sign his group. The next day, Carnage were offered contracts by the label, but were urged to make a name change, leading them to settle on their current moniker, Deicide. They teamed up with Scott Burns again to record their self-titled, debut album, which was released in 1990. The album went on to become one of the best selling death metal albums of all time, being listed by Soundscan as the second highest shifting unit of the genre, behind the third Morbid Angel album, "Covenant." They followed this effort two years later with, "Legion," a much more ambitious album, which focused more the technical area of death metal. It was well received by fans, but was met with a mixed reception from critics, and only the song, "Dead but Dreaming" would go on to feature prominently in future live sets.
Although already being highly controversial for their extremely blasphemous lyrics, they intensified this theme on their next album, "Once Upon the Cross," which was released in April 1995 and featured such blunt titles as, "Kill the Christian" and "Christ Denied," as well as the title track. The album had to be re-recorded in order to make the songs longer, after the original takes only clocked in at twenty two minutes. It was received better than, "Legion," and was succeeded two years later by "Serpents of the Light," the title track of which was dedicated to a friend of Benton’s who had passed away, as well as being another attack of the Christian faith. The album proved to be their final collaboration with Scott Burns and soon they took the next step in their career with their first live album in 1998, entitled, "When Satan Lives," which was the first Deicide album to be produced solely by the band.
Their first release of the new millennium, "Insineratehymn," was another driving output, focusing on creating more atmospheric songs, but was better received than "Legion," leading Roadrunner to pressure the band into releasing another album the next year. When the record, "In Torment in Hell" did hit the shelves, it was met with poor reviews, with critics easily noticing the rushed production and accusing the band of lazy song writing and there were even rumours circulating around the internet that the band had intentionally written a bad album in order to get kicked off the label. Regardless of the circumstances, the disappointing album sales and reception did result in Roadrunner parting company with the group, ending their partnership with a "best of" in 2002.
After being released from Roadrunner, the band signed with English label, Earache for their next album, "Scars of the Crucifix," which produced their first ever music video for the title track. The album also gained some notoriety when it was revealed that the song, "Fuck Your God" was used as part of sleep deprivation routines on Iraqi detainees. While the album spawned a first for the band (the music video,) it also proved to be the end of a chapter, as the Hoffman brothers announced that they were leaving the group following their deteriorating relationship with Glen Benton, allegedly over royalties. They were replaced by Vital Remains guitarist Dave Suziki, and former Cannibal Corpse guitarist Jack Owen. Suziki only lasted a short while before replaced by former Death guitar player, Ralph Santolla. This new incarnation of Deicide recorded and released a new album in 2006 named, "The Stench of Redemption," which was hailed as a return to form and one of their finest albums to date, being awarded metal album of the year at the Turkish Metal Music Awards the same year.
Despite the success of the record, it was announced that Ralph Santolla had quit the band in 2007 to join fellow Florida death metal outfit, Obituary. After a brief hiatus, the remaining members recorded their first Deicide album (officially) as a three piece (though Santolla performed on the record as a session musician,) "Till Death Do Us Part," which was released in 2008 to mostly positive reviews. The next year, the group announced that they had signed a new record deal with Century Media, and that Santolla had returned to the band. With the "Stench of Redemption" lineup back in place, the quartet got to work on their next album, which eventually surfaced in 2011 under the name, "To Hell with God." The album spawned a disturbing, if somewhat humourous claymation music video for the song, "Conviction," which featured Benton chasing Jesus Christ throughout a city on a motorcycle. Since the release of the record, Santolla has once again left Deicide, his place taken by former Order of Ennead guitarist, Kevin Quirion. After touring for the last two years, the band are expected to release their next album in the new year, which will no doubt continue their legacy of brutal music, and polar take on bible bashing.
Deicide - "Dead By Dawn"
Deicide - "Kill The Christian"
Deicide - "Bible Basher"
Deicide - "Scars Of The Crucifix"
Deicide - "Homage For Satan"
Deicide - "Conviction"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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