Deicide – In the Minds of Evil (Century Media)

Wednesday, 27th November 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Though they’ve undeniably reached legendary status in the death metal world, Deicide has a spotty track record when it comes to consistent album quality. But since 2006’s The Stench of Redemption saw a complete revitalization of the band with the additions of Ralph Santolla and Jack Owen, a reinvigoration and energy that’s stayed constant with the band all the way to 2011’s excellent To Hell with God, the stakes were pretty high for this latest release, which is the new Deicide’s first offering sans Santolla. Unfortunately, though, while In the Minds of Evil has its noteworthy moments, the end result is fairly unmemorable.

Make no mistake, this latest effort begins and ends quite strongly. The title track kicks off the record with a midtempo buildup reminiscent of “Scars of the Crucifix” before launching into a barrage of driving rhythms and sinister melodies, a quintessential Deicide song. Likewise, “Thou Begone” hooks with a type of gallop riff that sounds like death metal’s answer to Iron Maiden, and “Kill the Light of Christ” exhibits the minor-key, neoclassically tinged passages that the band has made its own over the years (think an amalgam of “Believe the Lie” and “Never to Be Seen Again”).

What falls between these bookending numbers, though, is largely uniform in presentation. The songwriting and riffing are very straightforward, relying heavily on stripped-down rhythms and song structures. This leads to a lack of variation between tracks and a quality of interchangeability among the arrangements. Granted, some of these songs still have standout moments, like the deliciously nauseating opening riff of “Between the Flesh and the Void” and the beautifully blasphemous chorus of “Beyond Salvation,” but by and large, there’s not much to come back to in the meaty middle section.

Despite strong performances—Glen Benton sounds as brutal as ever, and who needs a drum machine when you have Steve Asheim?—the album lacks the variety and memorability of other recent efforts. It may temporarily satisfy one’s death metal hankering, but it doesn’t stand on the same ground as the gems in this group’s discography.

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