DEICIDE's GLEN BENTON Is Having Fun Again: 'I Want To Get Out There And Be Brutal'

April 22, 2024

By David E. Gehlke

One of the last true larger-than-life personalities in death metal, DEICIDE frontman Glen Benton reinforced his status recently when he held court backstage at Philadelphia's Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest. Benton and his bandmates were joined by early DEICIDE producer Scott Burns, whose renowned patience and mediation abilities were crucial in getting albums like "Legion" and "Once Upon The Cross" over the finish line. As Burns peppered Benton backstage with questions about some of his former bandmates (hint: it's a brotherly guitar tandem),he responded in kind with a series of stories that were not suitable for print but were, of course, rather funny. It was all in a day's work for Benton, one that included a full set of DEICIDE classics later that evening to the delight of many.

DEICIDE has returned with a new studio platter, "Banished By Sin", which is arguably their best since 2006's "The Stench Of Redemption". A lot of that can be attributed to the band's updated lineup, which includes new guitarist Taylor Nordberg alongside Benton, co-founding drummer Steve Asheim and guitarist Kevin Quirion, as well as a new, happier outlook on life. While that may sound at odds with Benton's persona and lyrics, it has made quite a difference, which the frontman was kind enough to share with BLABBERMOUTH.NET.

Blabbermouth: You played an all-old-school set at the Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest in Philadelphia. What was that like? Do you get a kick out of playing the old tunes?

Glen: "I play a lot of them anyway because people want to hear them. It was fun bringing up a few old ones like 'Trick Or Betrayed' or 'Carnage In The Temple Of The Damned'. We haven't played those in a while. We had fun in practice doing this. It was surprising how a lot of that stuff came back to me without even too much effort. I get stronger each time I play them or at least some of them, but I like going back and re-learning them. It's fun."

Blabbermouth: Do you like going to band practice?

Glen: "I rehearse right here in my living room. On Thursdays, I get up, get my coffee and put my boombox on. I have my PA and equipment on carts; then I roll them into place, pull my little rug out, set the PA up and shit—it's a good time. Everybody shows up around noon and we have some laughs and then disturb the neighborhood. [Laughs]"

Blabbermouth: You sort of buck the current trend of bands not practicing unless they absolutely have to.

Glen: "A lot of bands are like that, but we enjoy it, man. We're technical about it, you know what I mean? It's like when they [Nordberg and Quirion] were learning the leads again. We were splitting hairs on that stuff. We want it right. We don't want people going, 'Oh. That's not the way you play it!' I don't want to be hearing that bullshit."

Blabbermouth: Is there anything from the DEICIDE catalog that you wouldn't play live? How about something from "In Torment In Hell"?

Glen: "Yeah, I've thought about bringing out those songs. When we do a record, I'm sure it's the same way for a lot of artists. After you get done recording a record, you learn the songs so you can play them live. But a record like 'In Torment' I haven't heard since we recorded it. Sometimes, for other things, I'll pull it up and go, 'I wrote that song? [Laughs] That's incredible.' I catch myself off-guard sometimes going back and listening to things. There's a lot of songs."

Blabbermouth: What's the motivation for DEICIDE to record a new album?

Glen: "What is strange about the whole thing is that for us, the record deal ended with Century Media with the last album [2018's 'Overtures Of Blasphemy']. The whole Covid thing came about and for the first time, I was out of a contract. I was like, 'Wow. This is kind of nice not having somebody breathing down my neck.' The whole Covid thing coming in was perfect timing. Now, I can rest my brain a little bit, enjoy my time off, learn the 'Legion' stuff and write the record at my leisure. I told everybody to bring a song to practice; we'll tear it apart, put it back together and be happy with it. We weren't pushing it or rushing it, or having a deadline. People don't understand when you have that kind of pressure on your back. It takes the whole fun out of it. I didn't have that pressure. What we were doing was getting together like friends, putting the songs together and doing it in a way that was fun again, like the first record. There was no pressure. We wrote a sick record. I think the whole backend of this shit and this late into my career, you can't give too much of a shit about things. After this many records, it's a roll of the dice. Either you love it, or you hate it. After this many records, it's like, 'Here it is. I don't give a shit what you think.' There are a lot of factors that came together with this. I was under no pressure. I was able to sit on the couch with my acoustic bass and write some riffs. It was fun."

Blabbermouth: You mention "pressure," and that probably goes back to after the debut when Roadrunner had you on deadlines.

Glen: "Then it became a job. When I was a kid, we got together and it was fun. We played other people's stuff and tried to write songs. Now, it's fun again. When you're on a deadline and as soon as you turn one in, they're already asking when the next one is coming. [Laughs] You don't have one in the hand before they're asking for the other. It's a lot, then you're supposed to fit touring and all this other shit in between there. It's a busy schedule for everybody."

Blabbermouth: You have stated that you went through a lot of personal things leading up to the recording of "Banished By Sin". Was that also a factor?

Glen: "Yeah. My folks passed away. Everybody went their own way in my family, so I don't have to be involved in that whole thing. People die and everybody goes away. I think that's the way for a lot of families. People go in their own direction. I like it that way. I don't want to be in the same room with people like that. It's liberating. My son finally graduated and moved off into the world and is doing fantastic now. It's like I found myself sitting here realizing that, 'Wow. I've spent all these years making everyone else happy. It's about time I've started making myself happy.' I'm not worried about anyone else's happiness but my own. It's a selfish way of thinking, but I try to think about myself more than I used to."

Blabbermouth: Did your parents follow your career in DEICIDE? Did they support you?

Glen: "My parents were the type of people that if they ran into someone who was a fan, I always got, 'Can you get me a t-shirt?' That kind of shit. My parents never saw me perform live. I don't think it was their style of music. Listen, man, I grew up where my folks and everybody wanted me to be a plumber. That's what I was up against doing what I do, then everybody's negativity. I used all that negativity to my advantage. Later on, when I got my record deal, there was nothing more sweet than to hold the 'Deicide' album in their face. It was one of the proudest moments of my life."

Blabbermouth: Taylor came aboard two years ago. Can you talk about his influence in the band and how it has impacted the writing process?

Glen: "We write our songs and bring them practice. We all go through it, and if there's something that needs to be addressed, we address it and we move forward. It's really simple now with these guys. Kevin is a great songwriter. Taylor is a great songwriter. Steve is an amazing songwriter. I came in there with those hook riffs like 'Dead By Dawn'. I like the riffs that make you want to smash into people. I tell everybody in the band to focus on the hooks. It's simple. To another person, they may find it technically challenging. Simplicity, man. They say what's simple for one person may not be simple for the next. They'll write something and go, 'Oh, it's simple.' Then I'll go, 'Let me hear it!' And nine times out of ten, it's a hooky part."

Blabbermouth: You're doing a lot of high screams on the record again. What brought them back?

Glen: "The last record, I didn't feel it. What's funny is that in the last record, 'Overtures', there's only one word where I doubled my high screams. If people want to listen to that record and try to find that one word that I scream on, but the whole record was straight low vocals. In order to put high screams on all that stuff, it would have made it sound unenjoyable. For this record, I was able to go in daily and do a song, one a day, so I had the brutality of my voice consistent through each recording. I was in an atmosphere with Jeramie [Kling, producer] and Taylor where I could experiment. I could try a bunch of different things without people looking at me like I lost my fucking mind."

Blabbermouth: What are you doing to keep your voice in shape? Anything new?

Glen: "I do a lot of cardio and do work around the house. If I'm not road biking, I'm mountain biking. I enjoy it. I used to do BMX as a kid in the woods. I try to eat healthy and stay in shape. I have to contribute a lot of my vocal stuff to the fact I project from my diaphragm. I always have, where a lot of singers might use their throats too much. The closest thing I can do is show Jeramie and Taylor. We had some outtakes where I did my opera voice to the material. It's hilarious. I think I was doing 'Sever The Tongue'. I think I was rolling through those lyrics with my opera voice. I have an operatic voice and I project from my diaphragm like an opera singer. I use my throat as a directional tool. If I tighten up for high screams, I can bounce all over the place. I can go from a low to a mid to a high."

Blabbermouth: Scott Burns always said you had great technique. Was that something you had early on, or did you have to develop it?

Glen: "I did four-track recordings in my earlier bands. I stumbled upon that technique. From hearing earlier recordings by THE BEACH BOYS and THE BEATLES where they harmonize, I said to myself early on, 'I wonder what that will sound like with a low and a high scream on top of it?' We used to call it the 'Cobra'. It sounded like I was from the 'G.I. Joe' cartoon [mimics voice]. Scott was always going, 'Bring out the Cobra'! I would come in there and lay down all the high tracks."

Blabbermouth: Your new album is getting positive reviews, and you're still pulling in good crowds for shows. What keeps you, Glen Benton, going?

Glen: "You know what? Now that I'm doing it for myself, I don't want to stop. Before, when I was doing it for everyone else, not so much. I'm doing it for myself now. It's all about me and having fun. I used to hate touring. Now I love touring. I can't wait to get the hell out of this place. I want to get out there and be brutal. I want to play for the people. When you see people losing their shit in the front row, there's no better feeling."

Photo credit: Deidra Kling

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