Deicide - Banished By Sin

Artist: Deicide

Album Title: Banished By Sin      

Label: Reigning Phoenix Music

Date of Release: 26 April 2024

I’ve never been a fan of Deicide. I’ll happily state that right at the outset. And it’s not for any other reason that I have always thought of their music as the kind of death metal that sounds the same. To me, it has always felt as if every album has simply churned out the same thing, over and over again. I remain of the opinion that surely only the most hardened, died-in-the-wool fan could honestly tell the difference between one song and another. Now, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, I realise that this comment isn’t actually entirely accurate, and I’m doing the band a bit of a disservice. I guess that the brand of death metal from Glen Benton and Co. just has never really been my cup of tea.

So, why am I reviewing ‘Banished By Sin’, the thirteenth album of the Floridian death metal stalwart’s career? Two reasons. One, I wanted to see if age and experience had changed me, and I could finally see what all the fuss was about regarding a band that many consider to be one of the best brutal and uncompromising death metal bands out there. Two, I couldn’t pass on the issue of the cover artwork and the use of AI. It’s ruddy awful. Benton, the deliberately divisive figure that he is, has come out firing on all cylinders, quoted in interviews implying that he’s now an IT expert, a trailblazer, and a provocateur. The latter is certainly true, but I’m not buying his explanations because some of what he says is utterly ridiculous to me. AI is involved, and whilst its use is never a black-and-white issue, in this case, it sucks. Why? Because it’s soulless. If it was actually any good, then I’d have more time for it. But it isn’t. it’s horrible, and in my opinion, Deicide should be utterly ashamed of themselves. To me, it feels like it communicates a lack of respect to real artists, and to the fans – it’s a ’that’ll do’ mentality. But they’re not ashamed of themselves based on the rhetoric being used in interviews. And they probably never will be. Mind you it’s also amusing that as thick-skinned as Benton says he is, you can’t tag the band directly into Instagram posts – I wonder why that is, he muses rhetorically and cynically.  

However, at least I’ve said my peace on the matter, and I’ll leave it there…for now.

Onto the music and as much as I desperately wanted to hate every second of it, I don’t. In fact, as it happens, somewhat annoyingly, there’s some pretty good stuff on ‘Banished By Sin’. For a start, there’s the opening track, ‘From Unknown Heights You Will Fall’, which kicks things off in more-than-solid fashion. New guitarist Taylor Nordberg joins the more familiar Kevin Quirion to deliver some sharp and potent riffing, not to mention some wailing leads and embellishments. They sit alongside the original pair of drummer Steve Asheim and bassist/vocalist Glen Benton, who add their own inimitable stamp to the music. Asheim’s drumming is unrelenting and powerful, whilst Benton’s bark needs little introduction having seemingly lost none of its potency over the years. I rather like the groove and aggression that the song provides, whilst retaining something of an identity.

If you’re looking for more catchiness within the material, then there are at least a handful of tracks to choose from. ‘Doomed To Die’ features a couple of cool, groovy riffs that are bound to get heads nodding and those neck muscles exercised. The song then finishes with a couple of incendiary guitar solos, a few of the notes of which coming within a whisker of shattering glass at ten paces, given the heights that are hit.

Deicide - Banished By Sin

‘Faithless’ offers more than just the usual blood-and-thunder Deicide approach, too, as the intro carries with it a little more atmosphere. It soon reverts more to type, but even then, the fast riffing feels a little more influenced by the black metal fraternity. I also quite enjoy ‘Woke From God’ with its stop-start riffing at points as well as the almost melodious lead guitar soloing, which is a welcome and rather unexpected surprise for me.

With all of that being said, I still cannot shake the feeling that the music on ‘Banished By Sin’ is largely very similar and it gets a little less engaging as the album continues. Yes, there are moments along the way that continue to catch my ear; the solo mid-way through ‘Ritual Defied’ being one such example, another being the satisfying groove and ‘machine gun’ moments within the title track. But, even with a run-time that’s under forty minutes, I feel that the album is too long for my personal tolerance of this type of music. Twenty or maybe twenty-five minutes is perfect for a blast of this kind of thing for me.

For what it is, and for who Deicide are as a death metal entity, then ‘Banished By Sin’ is a very solid album. For those that worship at the altar of Deicide, then you’ll almost certainly love every last brutal second of it. It might even bring a few new fans along for the ride. But, if like me, you’ve always sat on the fence and never really ‘got’ Deicide, it’s very unlikely that this new album will do enough to change your mind. I’ll admit that it’s not as samey as I was perhaps expecting at the outset, but ultimately, I feel much the same about Deicide as I ever did, namely that they are OK, and are proficient at what they do. But will I ever be a fan? No, I don’t think so. And that front cover…if ever there was a reason to guarantee I won’t buy the album, then that’s it, right there.

The Score of Much Metal: 76%



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