Deicide, ‘In the Minds of Evil’ – Album Review
Almost a decade after founding guitarists Eric and Brian Hoffman left the band, Deicide are back with 'In the Minds of Evil,' their fourth album in the new era. Mainstays Glen Benton and Steve Asheim are rounded out by guitarists Jack Owen, who has been in the band since 2004, as well as on-and-off six-stringer Kevin Quirion, who makes his recording debut with the band.
Since the departure of the Hoffman brothers, Deicide have struggled to maintain the identity that was so unmistakably them. Jack Owen's early days in Cannibal Corpse draws riffing parallels to Deicide and he has finally brought the musical face back to the seminal death metal outfit. The title track opens up this album and listeners will immediately recognize a style that harkens back to a sound not present since 'Scars of the Crucifix.' A familiar mid-tempo groove dominates the verses over the next couple songs as Asheim's lightning blast beats in the choruses make up for lost snare hits.
The lyrical fare on 'In the Minds of Evil' is Deicide's usual brand of blasphemy, as Benton's cavernous bellows continue to bash Christianity. Simple and to the point, the frontman reminds everyone of why he had the practice of burning an inverted cross into his forehead every day in his earlier years. The scar has faded a bit, but his contempt of all things holy has not with songs like 'Godkill' and 'Kill the Light of Christ.'
Where things really pick up with this album is the second half. Until this point, the songwriting does not display any sort of dynamic with standard structures and mid-tempo and blast beat-laden sections bouncing back and forth. 'Beyond Salvation' is the only song that really mixes up the guitar playing and catches the listener off guard until 'Trample the Cross' comes in with its dissonant tremolo-picking.
If there's one thing that truly stands out on this Deicide record, it's the bombastic guitar solos. In place of the Hoffmans' unpredictable Slayer-esque soloing, we're treated to catchy melodies intertwined with some fretwork frenzy. The solos catch the ear and bring attention back to the song when the mind starts to wander elsewhere over the course of these 37 minutes.
While 'In the Minds of Evil' does bring Deicide's sound back a bit to the Hoffman era, it doesn't have the feral ferocity that the band was so lauded for, even compared to their weaker albums like 'In Torment in Hell' and 'Insineratehymn.' The album is in no way a bad listen, it just might feel like by the time you reach the end of the album the first time, you've already heard it twice. Regardless, there are still cuts like 'Beyond Salvation' and 'Trample the Cross' that stand out as some of the best since 'The Stench of Redemption' and others that will certainly bring more energy live and see the songs unleashed at their true potential.