Deicide - The Stench Of Redemption Review
by Matt Hensch
Many important things happened to Deicide after the release of "Scars Of The Crucifix." The original lineup was severed when guitar brothers Eric and Brian Hoffman quit the band after many personal disputes with singer Glen Benton. Once the Hoffman brothers quit, Benton and drummer Steve Asheim recruited ex-Cannibal Corpse axeman Jack Owen and former Iced Earth guitarist Ralph Santolla. Two years had passed since "Scars Of The Crucifix," and Deicide released the highly anticipated "The Stench Of Redemption," which is undoubtedly one of their best works. "The Stench Of Redemption" has Deicide moving toward a different musical direction that still contains the perfected death metal roots in the same vein as "Legion."
Deicide took a different approach with the guitaring on "The Stench Of Redemption." Instead of the straight-up death metal riffs, the guitars now contain a little bit of melody. Now don't assume they've gone totally Gothenburg on us, because they haven't. A good portion of the riffs are melodic, but they still manage to stay brutal and sound similar to previous Deicide material. Out of all the tracks, "Death To Jesus" and "Crucified For The Innocence" incorporate the melodic riffs the most. Other songs like the title track and "Homage For Satan" exercise the traditional death metal riffs rather then the melodic riffs. The album's closer, "The Lord's Sedition," has Deicide using a clean guitar intro, which is a nice surprise, especially when considering Deicide's previous material and how clean guitars haven't really been used before. The Deep Purple cover is quite an interesting track as well. Nothing beats a hard rock tune with blast beats and death growls!
"The Stench Of Redemption" is the Deicide debut of Jack Owen and Ralph Santolla, and these guys have already topped the Hoffman brothers in terms of skill and talent. When being compared to the Hoffman's guitar playing, Owen and Santolla's style is much more complex and tight. These guys easily nail technical riffs on the title track and display some incredible time signature changes on "Death To Jesus." The principal factor in their guitar playing is their solos. Owen and Santolla's solos obtain strong technical elements that were absent on most of the Hoffman efforts; the production is really clear, and that really helps out the solo effort.
Just like Jack Owen and Ralph Santolla, Glen Benton has a strong impact on this album. Glen has always been known for his signature death growls, and he demonstrates it on this record. Glen's growls are tremendously low and sound like they came straight out of hell. Glen also uses high pitched vocals, and they effect the album immensely. Glen uses high pitched growls during the chorus of the most of the songs, but his best moment comes during the Deep Purple cover when he screams and unleashes a massive shriek that sounds perfect and really turns the tide of the song.
The main prize goes to Steve Ashiem. Steve took over the writing duties on "The Stench Of Redemption," and he did a fantastic job writing the album's material. There are no negative qualities of any song, and that demonstrates how good Steve is at writing music. Steve's drumming performance is on par with his writing ability. Steve is always nailing his double bass pedals, using blastbeats, and rolling off his toms. The amount of stamina this guy has is simply otherworldly. Anyone who can blastbeat and double bass at his speed is a professional drummer, and that really shows how experienced he is with the drums.
"The Stench Of Redemption" is a pure onslaught of excellence and aggression. This is, in my opinion, Deicide's best album. There is nothing on this album that is bad, it's just a wonderful record! I highly recommend "The Stench Of Redemption" to anyone who calls themselves a metalhead.
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