Album Review: Deicide – “Overtures of Blasphemy”

Hellfire, reignited

Type “deicide” into Urban Dictionary and you’ll get back a range of definitions, beginning with general literalism (“The act of killing a God or deity”), and then, nearer to our present purpose, more specific and opinionated parsing: “The most brutal band alive, Glen Benton is a fucking satanic genius!” “A moderately good death metal band, fronted by sir Benton of Glen.” “A pretty decent band.” Over the last quarter-century, the Tampa trailblazers have, at one time or another, embodied all three of the latter. During pinnacle moments, the band has sounded capable of the former.

It’s been almost five years since In the Minds of Evil, an immaculately executed ode to the sound and vibe of classic Hoffman brothers-era albums like Deicide (1990) and Scars of the Crucifix (2004). And we could be forgiven for assuming this is the sinister sweet spot Deicide would continue to straddle for however long it took the elder statesmen to eventually ride off into that final apocalypse. Overtures of Blasphemy immediately blows such preconceptions out of the water, however. This is a fiery, bold and extremely diverse record full of brilliant nuance, sly red herrings and merciless old-school pummeling. By track four, it has already muscled its way into the upper echelons of the band’s storied discography.

Bassist/vocalist Benton and drummer Steve Asheim are 100 percent on-fucking-point here, while guitarists Kevin Quirion (a decade into his tenure, but making only his second recorded appearance with the band) and Mark English (of Monstrosity, recruited in 2016 to replace long-serving ex-Cannibal Corpse/current Six Feet Under guitarist Jack Owen) transubstantiate just enough of their new blood to the Dei-dentity to both honor and advance the sound. These Overtures are a dark blessing for devotees of any and all eras of the band.