Praise Satan! It’s been five long years since In the Minds of Evil and at long last mad uncle Glen is back with a new platter of Christ-Baiting Death Metal: Overtures of Blasphemy. Fear not, the intervening years have not mellowed Deicide and Overtures of Blasphemy all-but picks up where the previous recorded ended. ‘One with Satan’ opens with a huge riff and instantly you can hear the high production level of this album which continue the upward trend started back on Till Death Us Do Part. The somewhat muddied sound of the early Roadrunner releases were of their time and, at the risk of being lynched as a heretic (how ironic that would be!) the latter albums have greatly benefited from crisp production values.
Compare the drum opening of ‘Crawled from the Shadows’ with the mid-section of ‘Bastard of Christ’ from 1997’s Serpents of the Light and it’s evident that the ever present Steve Asheim is keeping close to the tried and tested formula which has served him well since their 1990 debut. Only now, you can hear every strike of stick on skin, fleshing out the bottom end and giving Benton’s bass a platform. The departure of the Hoffmann brother back in 2004 has allowed Deicide to spread their demonic wings. The new pairing of Kevin Quirion, returning following his appearance on the previous album, and debutant six-stinger, Mark English, make the most exciting partnership since Jack Owen and the late Ralph Santolla stepped in for the Scars of the Crucifix tour.
The riffs are a brutal as you would expect from a Deicide record and the music as tight as you could hope. And as for mad uncle Glen, well he’s as potty as ever, barking staccato syllables and aiming shots across the bough of all organised religions like an even angrier version of Christopher Hitchens. All across the album, Asheim use of crashing cymbals underscores Benton’s barked vocal delivery, adding emphasis to his words.
In interviews to promote Overtures of Blasphemy Glen Benton states this new album is the record he has always wanted Deicide to make and, even after a few spins, it’s easy to understand why. Admittedly, it will not have the same cultural impact of Deicide or Legion but the musical landscape has shifted since 1990 and we’ve all grown older since then. As a collection of music Overtures of Blasphemy can easily stand toe to toe with any of the band’s output. In the same way that some of their contemporaries (Napalm Death spring readily to mind) have produced some of their best work as they’ve aged, then so too Deicide. On the evidence of this album, Benton and co are growing old disgracefully.