Banished By Sin

Reigning Phoenix
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. From Unknown Heights You Shall Fall
02. Doomed To Die
03. Sever The Tongue
04. Faithless
05. Bury The Cross…With Your Christ
06. Woke From God
07. Ritual Defied
08. Failures Of Your Dying Lord
09. Banished By Sin
10. A Trinity Of None
11. I Am I…A Curse Of Death
12. The Light Defeated

Satan be praised. Uncle Glen is back.

DEICIDE were always special. The rabid, vitriolic embodiment of everything that made death metal destructive and dangerous, the Floridian legends were the genre's most notorious band. Still to this day, those first three albums beat the living crap out of just about everything that came before or since, and while Glen Benton has calmed down quite a bit over the years, there is still an intense aura that hangs over his band's every move.

Admittedly, for all their enduring, dark charisma, not every album has convinced with the same militant zeal that "Deicide" or "Legion" did over 30 years ago, but many diehards would still take a mediocre DEICIDE album over another textbook modern death metal record of any quality. Fortunately, the omens for "Banished By Sin" were pretty good. 2018's "Overtures of Blasphemy" was their strongest album since at least "Till Death Do Us Part" (2008),  and a partial throwback to the short, sharp assaults of the early days. More importantly, Glen Benton sounded back in the zone, absolutely fucking furious at the audacity of religion's constant interference in the lives of the godless, and not above giving Jesus a robust uppercut to the throat. Six years on, DEICIDE's lucky 13th studio album loudly announced that Benton is still fucking fuming.

There was a period of a few years and albums when DEICIDE sounded stifled by a lack of time and money to work on their craft. Not so here. "Banished By Sin" instantly sounds bigger, fatter and more lethally spiky than anything the band have done in years. Opener "From Unknown Heights You Shall Fall" is a straight-ahead, Christ-bashing rager, with several glorious guitar solos, countless barbarous riffs and some vintage Benton bellowing. Ruthlessly succinct, it makes no attempt to turn the clock back to 1990, but like every other song on this record, it sounds close enough to the DEICIDE of "Once Upon The Cross" to get a few hairs standing on end. Thereafter, "Banished By Sin" is a straightforward demonstration of prowess. Nostalgia often precludes new songs from being embraced with the same enthusiasm that holds cherished classics aloft, but there are several contenders here, all of which will compel devoted fans to smash up their immediate surroundings. "Sever The Tongue" is an obvious one: a shapeshifting, classic metal gem, it showcases the more measured band that DEICIDE have become, while still delivering the required kung-fu kick to the Messiah's ribcage. Lurching in from left-field, "Faithless" begins as a shimmering apparition, before erupting into manic blastbeats and turbo-charged denials of Christ. There is something particularly unhinged about "Failures Of Your Dying Lord", which is so frantic and ferocious that that it shouldn't be catchy, but it actually is, and deliriously so. Equally exhilarating is "I Am I…A Curse Of Death": it begins with a riff that genuinely sounds like a descent into Hell, and then piles on high velocity twists and turns until Benton is vomiting himself inside out. Excellent times.

In true DEICIDE tradition, "Banished By Sin" rips along at great pace, wasting no time on nonsense like progress, and serving up 12 blistering death metal tracks that, in their blasphemous entirety, amount to a savage, swung elbow aimed at Christianity's windpipe. All fun and games (and questionable artwork) aside, it is also one of their finest records in a long time, and a helpful reminder that when you want to raise Hell, Glen Benton is still the fucking man.

Author: Dom Lawson
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