Midway through the opening track on Deicide’s newest paean to all that is good about Satan, Overtures of Blasphemy, you might be feeling a bit confused. As the duelling guitars of Mark English and Kevin Quirion spiral in and out of the spaces left by each other’s supremely melodic playing, you may feel the band are making a considered step into the tuneful unknown.
Fear not. It’s just a hiccup. Midway through second track, Crawled From the Shadows, you’ll be suitably reassured that it’s heads-down, brutality personified business as usual for the still-alive Glen Benton and his fellow co-conspiritors. Which is obviously a good thing.
The staccato barrage that follows, Seal the Tomb Below, is probably the album’s highpoint; a barrelling assault on the eardrums that sees Benton adopting a staccato bellow that melds perfectly with the unforgiving chug of the rhythm guitars. This sort of stuff is why you signed up with Deicide in the first place, and Benton’s blast furnace performance on the song’s ‘chorus’ will leave you holding on to your toupee and seeking cover behind the sofa until it’s all over.
Compliments of Christ, track four, ends a triumphant opening run of tracks in fine style. Steve Asheim’s double kicks power the whole song at light speed, despite the lurching guitars giving the song a mid-paced feel; Benton ignores this apparent time signature discrepancy, continuing with his policy of vocal paint stripping unabashed by what’s going on around him. Again, this is the Deicide you know and love, and it’s a pleasure to hear.
However things do become a bit stagnant as the album wears on; the Deicide blueprint is a simple one after all, and it’s basic tenets don’t bear repeating any more than a couple of times per album. Crucified Soul of Salvation is pretty good, as is Consumed by Hatred, and both guitarists play respective blinders throughout – the start of Anointed in Blood in particular showcasing their steadily developing partnership.
The fact remains, though, that the best material is undoubtedly loaded onto the front end of the record, meaning you can save time by judicious use of the skip facility if you’re in a hurry whilst listening to Overtures…
Not their best by a long chalk, then, though the band definitely haven’t sounded so downright energised in a long while. Long term fans will buy this anyway, but if you’re a Benton newbie there’s enough on ‘side one’ of this record to clue you in on the band’s enduring popularity. Worth a punt all round.
Overtures of Blasphemy is out now.