Look: after nearly 20 years of making brutal death metal, Deicide ain’t exactly trying to reinvent the wheel. So while “The Beginning of the End,” the opening track of their latest offering, Till Death Do Us Part, is kind of surprising (it’s a slow, moody instrumental, as foreboding as the title would suggest, that is unsettling and in no way beautiful, like the negative version of the intro to every American New Wave album this century), everything after is exactly what you’d expect from these fearsome Floridians. Chuck Klosterman once suggested that the reason the Sunshine State spawned so much awesome death metal is because constantly being surrounded by old people makes one think about death all the time; maybe all that ponderin’ of the great beyond also makes these dudes desperate to maintain their youth, and so they just keep making the same album they did in 1990 over and over again.

In any case, it’s a moot point, ’cause like AC/DC before them and Children of Bodom after, the fact that they’re usually pretty good slides them from the “boh-ring” column to the one labeled “dependable.”

Deicide are distinctly, unmistakably American, which is to say, soaring melodies worked into a death metal framework has never been their thing. Drummer/primary songwriter Steve Asheim wasn’t lying when he said that Death be less melodious than its predecessor, The Stench of Redemption. But the results effect is roughly equivalent to that of having nine fingers broken instead of eight; at that point, who the fuck is counting?

And so Till Death is pummeling – but this band has never really made an art out of discordance the way, say, Erik Rutan has with Hate Eternal. So on the album’s absolute best songs – “Worthless Misery” and “Not As Long as We Both Shall Live” being the cream of the corpse – the fast, thrashy riffs and Glen Benton’s ball-shaking vocals move in relative harmony with one another, roaming rabid wolf packs more than F5 tornadoes. And the guitar trade-offs between Jack Owen and Ralph Santolla are more structured than anything Slayer has done, well, ever (Are there even still people who carry the torch for the Hofffman Brothers? If there, are those people are dopes). That is to say that I imagine Deicide will still somehow be more palatable to non-death fans then the most recent Origin album.

Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing will be a matter of personal taste. Personally, I find the institution of Deicide comforting. Weird as it is to say about such a heavy death metal album, but Till Death Do Us Part is kinda just fuckin’ fun. Not a damn thing wrong with that.

(three and a half out of five horns)


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