|Known the world over as one of the founding fathers of Death Metal, Deicide stand strong to this day as one of the most influential and controversial metal bands ever. With a relentlessly brutal sound and uncompromisingly blasphemous lyrics, Deicide helped set the standards for Death Metal well over a decade ago and have maintained those standards ever since.
Emerging from the Tampa, Florida metal underground, Deicide began life in 1987 under the moniker, Amon. Consisting of frontman Glen Benton on bass and vocals, brothers Eric and Brian Hoffman on guitar, and Steve Asheim on drums, Amon commanded a local cult following with their extreme brand of Satanic metal. Amon's demos caught the attention of Roadrunner Records and Roadrunner signed the band, who renamed themselves Deicide.
Roadrunner released Deicide's blistering self-titled debut in 1990. Recorded at Tampa's Morrisound Studio (the legendary studio where Deicide would go on to record all its albums), "Deicide" would one day be hailed as one of the "Top 100 Metal Albums of the 90's" by England's metal authority, Terrorizer Magazine. In 1992, Deicide followed up their debut with "Legion". "Legion" was an instant success, further establishing Deicide's furious musical instensity and vengeful anti-Christian stance, and securing Deicide's place at the forefront of the American Death Metal scene.
Meanwhile, Deicide was rapidly earning a reputation for controversy. The band's appearance and live antics matched the extremity of its music and lyrics. With an inverted cross branded into his forehead, Benton cast himself as the incarnation of pure evil. At shows, he was known to pull such stunts as dousing the crowds with bags full of real animal organs. Deicide quickly found themselves banned from clubs, boycotted by magazines, and blacklisted by Christian groups and animal-rights activists. Anti-establishment to the core, Deicide embodied the worst fears of the conservative masses, and loved it. Rather than shy away from controversy, Deicide provoked it and willingly engaged in it.
After the success of "Legion", Roadrunner Records re-issued the Amon demos in 1993 as ĆAmon: Feasting The Beast', giving new fans a glimpse of the band's rawer roots. Deicide's next studio album came in 1995 in the form of "Once Upon The Cross". As if to prove they had no intention of settling down, the band proposed an image of a disemboweled Christ for the album cover. This cover was ultimately censored but not before garnering massive publicity.
In 1997, Deicide released "Serpents of the Light", followed by a live album, "When Satan Lives", in 1998. Throughout the 90's, Deicide progressively honed their vicious musical attack, reaching new levels of brutality and precision. Despite becoming a father, Benton lead his band tirelessly around the world, playing countless shows to hordes of devout fans. In the face of censorship, bomb threats, and blacklistings, Deicide soldiered on, never once quitting or reforming, using adversity to fuel their misanthropic, creative fire. Deicide defined and redefined the rebellious spirit of Death Metal, and joined that very small and elite group of metal acts to sell over a million records in the process.
2000 saw the release of a new studio album, "Insineratehymn", followed by "In Torment In Hell" in 2001. The latter album marked the end of Deicide's long contract with Roadrunner. In November 2002, the band signed a new worldwide deal with Earache Records and suffered a whole new wave of controversy around the world at the expense of the dark content of their music. This was content that seeped on to the band's first record with Earache, 'Scars of the Crucifix' released in February 2004 that came overloaded with a DVD entitled 'Behind The Scars: Underneath The Skin of Deicide'. This album was a massive success and catapulted Deicide to the top of Earache's list of highest selling artists in that year.
Following the immense popularity of their recorded material, Deicide picked up their instruments and were launched into a frenzy of global touring and exploitation, playing shows alongside the likes of Clutch in North America. However, these dates were short-lived as the band pulled out of the last few dates of the schedule and began their own headlining tour in September with Goatwhore, Cattle Decapitation and Jungle Riot. But Deicide didn't appear to have the lasting endurance to commit to an entire touring schedule, withdrawing from European shows in the same year and pulling out of the 'Wacken Open Air Festival' in Germany.
Deicide's flavour for controversial relations was plagued even further with the dual departure of Brian and Eric Hoffman who were condemned for their lack of dedication to Deicide's spirit as a band. Eric Hoffman attempted to direct his energies elsewhere, into the band Unholy Ghost in February 2005 but this did not appear to last long. The departure of the Hoffman brother shocked the band's fans worldwide, and with the brothers instigating legal proceedings to the rights to the Deicide band, the band's immediate future seemed unstable.
In the meantime, Benton and Asheim quickly reshuffled and bolted ahead with their version of edgy metallic anthems, with the additon of guitarist Jack Owen and Dave Suzuki to travel on a full European tour with Arkhon Infaustus. The band also collaborated with bands such as Immolation and Skinless on a tour of the USA, with Ralph Santolla joining them on guitar to help project and augment their hostile sound. Deicide's decision to collaborate with fellow artists also took precedence at the all-star metal evening at New York's Nokia Theatre for Roadrunner's 25th Anniversary celebrations, where Benton fronted a cover of Obituary's 'The End Complete' alongside Sepultura's Andreas Kisser, ex-Fear Factory member Dino Cazares and Slipknot's Paul Gray and Joey Jordison.
However, being in the spotlight for their phenomenal musical appearances didn't last for long, as the band were surrounded by controversy throughout the world due to the effect of the deeply satanic content of their songs. At an infamous concert in Chile, local Church officials attempted to withhold the band's appearance, however this was to no avail. At a second concert in Chile later on in the year they were finally condemned and their raucous show was cancelled due to the images used on promotion posters. The wrath of the local Church had been viciously stirred by local promoters who erected Deicide posters that portrayed the image of Jesus with a bullet hole in his forehead, drawing attention to Benton's own branding of an upside down cross in the center of his forehead.
The controversy appeared endless, with the cancellation of a performance at Hellfest in France after fans vandalized tombstones in Brittany with the Deicide song title 'When Satan Rules His World'. The connection with death was something that Benton and his band were unable to escape from, with the dark nature of their lyrical content constantly leading them to be blamed for various controversial happenings. The BBC highlighted the perceived threat of death metal music, and the link to Deicide, and Benton in particularly via the 2005 programme 'Death Metal Murders'. The programme featured an interview with Benton who was labeled as a core influence in the death of young Italian death metal fanatic.Deicide's debut DVD release "When London Burns" featuring a live concert filmed in London in 2004 was unleashed to the public in early 2006.
Deicide stormed ahead into the future engulfed by waves of controversy, as their popularity continued to ferment within the scene. The 2006 release of 'The Stench of Redemption' - the first album to showcase the more melodic leads of guitarists Jack Owen (ex-Cannibal Corpse) and Ralph Santolla (ex-Iced Earth/Death) - only added to their riotous and enigmatic success. A download only EP was planned for the incendiary release date of 06.06.06, featuring two cuts from the album.
'The Stench of Redemption' was a massive success and received high praise from fans and the music press, The Metal Observer calling it 'one of the best albums of the year, by the most improved band of the year.'
Under a year after the triumph of 'The Stench of Redemption' Ralph Santolla left the band, joining Obituary for their 'Xecutioner's Return' album. Shortly after guitarist Jack Owen joined Estuary for their 'Balkans Assassination Tour', while Deicide where on haitus.
But the band pulled it back together for their ninth studio album 'Till Death Do Us Part' in 2008. Glen Benton, Steve Asheim (on guitars and drums) and Jack Owen were completed by the return of Ralph as a session member for the recording.
In March 2008 Deicide faced yet more controversy when a magazine revealed a leaked playlist of music that has been used to torture detainees, number one being the band's 'Fuck Your God'. Steve Asheim was quoted as saying that he was glad they could do their part for the troops and was glad Deicide were able to contribute.
Deicide have battled through numerous protests, accusations and line-up changes, and yet remained true to the music and their fans. Despite there problems though, Deicide are still triumphing as a band, with music and live performances that continue to draw in ecstatic reactions from their rabid fanbase.
'Till Death Do Us Part' was released on April 28th in Europe and May 13th in USA.