Sound: Deicide has been around for a good long while now, having originally formed in 1987 by Glen Benton, who has remained the primary creative force behind the band for its entire life. Until 2005 the band retained all original members, but the Hoffman brothers finally left due to continuing issues between them and Glen Benton (rumors indicate this was primarily due to the distribution of royalties among band members). Since then the lineup for guitarists has been just a tad erratic, making this the first album to include Kevin Quirion, though Jack Owen has stayed consistently with the band on the other guitar since 2005. "In The Minds of Evil" is the eleventh studio album by the band, which is a fair amount for their 26 year career, almost averaging an album every 2 years. There are 11 tracks on the album, which clocks in at just under 37 minutes.
The album opens up with the title track, "In The Minds of Evil," which has a cool line "Some men just want to watch the world burn" in a creepy voice reminiscent of the death bunny from the "Donny Darko" movie. The song comes out of the gate like it's trying to prove that Deicide are still relevant in the metal community, while simultaneously reaching back to classic metal elements from their early career. While this isn't the same band as when the Hoffman's were involved, they still have something worthwhile going on. "Thou Begone" takes a simple gallop and some pinch harmonics and work outwards from there creating a really strong and aggressive track. This track has one of my favorite guitar solos from the album. "Godkill" is a very aggressive track with a very simple message. I actually liked the vocal delivery on this track considerably more than the rest of the album, though the differences were subtle. "Beyond Salvation" had a lot more groove to it than most of the other tracks on the album, though the music felt a little repetitive pretty early into the track. The solo on "Beyond Salvation" was very enjoyable. "Misery of One" makes heavy use of tremolo picking and some tasteful vocal processing. "Between the Flesh and the Void" has that metal pummeling feel to it, pretty much from beginning to end, with a nice respite in the form of a cool little guitar solo. "Even the Gods Can Bleed" is up next, and it starts out immediately letting the lead guitar breathe a little bit and from there stays fairly engaging. "Trample the Cross" had a very subtle middle-eastern feel to the guitar and really one of the best examples of that early extreme metal guitar tone that I would love to be able to get on my rig. "Fallen to Silence," like a few other songs on the album, uses panning to great effect as well as being one of the most aggressive tracks from beginning to end. "Kill the Light of Christ" made good use of tremolo picking (and even though I was really impressed with Steve Asheim elsewhere on the album, I thought the drums were a weak spot on this track). The album closes out with "End the Wrath of God," which is about (surprise!) anti-religion/anti-Christianity. While I really want to like Deicide, it comes down to an anti-Christian band gets old after a while the same time a Christian metal band gets old after a while even if they're making good music. This is, however, a strong effort on the part of Deicide and compares fairly well to their recent releases. My rating does not reflect my feeling about the lyrical themes, which are rated in the next section. // 8
Lyrics: Honestly I've never been especially impressed with Glen Benton's vocals, though I've never been disappointed by them either. He has always had sufficient talent as a vocalist, and that is true for this album as well. As a sample of the lyrics from the album, here are some from the track "Thou Begone:" "I curse the air you breathe/ All men of the cloth/ What was will never be/ Your cause is lost/ Faith put to death/ Civil unrest/ Gospel of pain/ Burning the cross/ The good book is tossed/ Destroy thy name/ Trinity bleed/ Squandered in greed/ God in his grave/ Disposed humanity/ Decrepit and defaced/ Inferior and weak/ The light you seek." This is pretty much standard lyrical territory for Deicide, and honestly the reason I don't personally count them among one of my favorite bands. Musically, the band is really on top of what they're doing - they're exceptional. Lyrically, even not being a member of an organized religion myself, I find myself being offended by some of their lyrics (which I guess is the point). I understand that there is some bad stuff that has come about because of organized religion - in some cases some truly horrendous things - but Deicide's message gets old to me pretty quick sometimes. // 6
Overall Impression: I can't stress how strong (at times) I think this album is musically and how tiring it is from a lyrical standpoint. I respect having a message as a band, but I don't think it is necessary to be so continually heavy-handed with it. On the other hand, the mixture of classic metal and modern metal elements made this album especially interesting to me, and I found myself listening despite the lyrics disagreeing with me. Steve Asheim really caught my attention on this album - normally his drumming is just something going on in the background for me, but on this album I was really hearing him up front and hearing the value he was adding to the songs. I definitely felt like he was the MVP of the album, though Kevin Quirion's freshman effort with the band was commendable, as well. My favorite track from the album would possibly be the title track, "In the Minds of Evil." I didn't hate any track from the album, but there were tracks I had mixed feelings towards from one listen to the next. // 7
- Brandon East (c) 2013