After 30 years, it’s plausible to think Florida-based death metallers Deicide would want to slow down and soften the message. None of that is happening, however, on new album Overtures of Blasphemy. In fact, Deicide, with head demon Glen Benton and co-conspirator Steve Asheim at the helm, are only becoming darker, heavier, and more extreme. “I originally thought that the older I got the more mellow I’d get,” says Benton. “That’s not the case. I would say I’m darker now than I ever was. What I’ve been through over the years has definitely darkened my heart and soul.”
Formed in 1989, Deicide are responsible for shaping death metal at every level. Throughout the ‘90s the group’s tendrils infiltrated, influenced, and inspired hordes fans and musicians, resulting in respect and a rock-solid legacy. Whether it’s 1990’s Deicide, 1992’s Legion, or 1997’s Serpents of the Light, Deicide persisted in their mission to enlighten, inflame, and provoke. That continued through to 2013’s In the Minds of Evil, an album that re-established Deicide as genre leaders. Allmusic said, “In the Minds of Evil features 11 high-quality slabs of muscular, vintage-sounding death metal,” while Lambgoat proclaimed, “The album gives fans what they want, and lets a younger audience know that these veterans are not letting the up-and-comers hog the spotlight.” With Overtures of Blasphemy, Deicide prove yet again quality songwriting, unrelenting heaviness, and a tendentious lyrical message are the focus. “We used a lot of different techniques on Overtures of Blasphemy,” Benton says, “There’s a lot of textures in the songs, some of which we’ve used in the past, but many of them are new to Deicide. The whole concept of writing like this worked out very well. There’s a song on Overtures of Blasphemy that appeals to every type of metal fan.
What separates Overtures of Blasphemy from its predecessors—going all the way back to Legion—is that Glen Benton returns to the songwriting throne. The last time he wrote a song—“Trifixion”—the world was a very different place. For Deicide’s 12th album, Benton wrote opening track “One with Satan,” “Compliments of Christ,” and “Consumed by Hatred,” while Asheim and guitarists Kevin Quirion and new comer Mark English fleshed out the remaining nine tracks. “When we started the writing process,” says Benton, “I said to the guys, ‘This record doesn’t have to be boring, going-nowhere grind-all-the-time death metal. Let’s really focus on the quality of the songs. I wanted them to write tasty licks and catchy hooks this time. And let the vocals give it its definition.”
For the production, Deicide elected to return yet again to Jason Suecof and Audio Hammer Studios in Sanford, Florida. The death metal overlords recorded Overtures of Blasphemy over several months spanning a two-year period. Deicide first laid down the rhythm tracks in 2017. Nine months later the vocals were recorded, as well as the leads. For the mix and master, Deicide once again brought on Alan Douches at West West Side Music. “The studio was pretty laidback,” Benton says. “It’s definitely not a conventional studio experience. There’s no time restraints, there’s no clock to follow, there’s nobody looking over your shoulder. It’s a unique recording experience. Jason is a magician. A master of the craft.”
Lyrically, Overtures of Blasphemy continues Deicide’s crusade against not just Christianity but all religions. Benton says the lyrics also dig deep into his own personal darkness. In short, there’s no thematic quarter given in tracks like “One with Satan,” “All that is Evil,” “Anointed in Blood,” and “Destined to Blasphemy.” It’s all classic Deicide. “There will always be something to say,” says Benton. “Religion isn’t going away. The record is about the world that I’m in and the world that’s around me.”
As for what keeps Deicide’s nefarious engine running all these years, Benton’s inclined to think it’s destiny rather than anything that’s planned out in detail. With the follow-up to Overtures of Blasphemy already in the works, retirement from death metal, at least in the near term, is unlikely. “Some things we’re born into,” Benton says. “It’s what I am. Death metal is what I do."