DEICIDE — Insineratehymn (review)

DEICIDE — Insineratehymn album cover Album · 2000 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Vim Fuego
Have you ever had the chance to go back and take a look at something you did a long time ago with a critical fresh perspective on it?

From 1999 to 2001 I was a full-time newspaper reporter for a regional daily newspaper in New Zealand. Due to the paper having a limited roster of reporters, I had a number of different rounds outside agriculture and general news reporting, which were my main focus. This meant I got saddled with a few rounds I knew nothing about, including environmental news (it’s funny, but conservationists don’t like talking to farming reporters), hunting and fishing (er, never done either of those recreationally), religion (atheist, so I gave all the different churches the same time coverage), and real estate (yawn!). It also meant I got a few plum roles too – back-up sports reporter (I got paid to watch rugby!), back-up politics (I got to talk to all the opposition MPs) history (which I have a degree in), and entertainment. Entertainment was my favourite, because it meant I got to interview any passing stars of stage and screen (and radio too), and I got free stuff – concert and movie passes, CDs, video games, books etc.

The CDs I got sent for review were mostly mainstream pop music. I did my best to be impartial, but some of them were just dreadful! So I did what any self-respecting headbanger would do in my position. I started reviewing stuff from my own collection! From 1999 to 2005 (I carried on writing as a stringer after 2001) the paper I worked for had more metal than any daily paper in the whole country. Probably.

By now you’re probably saying “So what? What does this have to do with Deicide? Get to the fucking point or I’m going to stop reading!”

OK, here’s the point: Deicide’s “Insineratehymn” was one of the albums I reviewed. I have just dragged out a yellowing, tattered cutting of the Ashburton Guardian entertainment page for Thursday, November 30, 2000. The page has an interview with Kiwi rock band Shihad (former thrash metal band – sellouts!) and reviews of “Suburbia” and “Insineratehymn”, all written by yours truly.

In the interview, Shihad were promoting their latest album, which I hadn’t heard (oops! Not a great way to research your interview!), but I got to shoot the shit with bass player Karl Kippenberger, who was genuinely nice, and was happy to talk metal, and was very polite when it was revealed I hadn’t heard the new album. Full confession: I still haven’t!

“Suburbia” was a novelty album. The cover had Astroturf stuck to it, and it was 74 minutes of someone mowing the lawn. Yep, the drone of a lawnmower going up and down a lawn. Not exactly riveting, but it did make a great Christmas present for my younger brother.

Alright, if anyone is still reading, time for the Deicide review. From here on, this is the actual text from 2000, with my 2020 comments in [square brackets].

***********************************************

Deicide have often been criticised for their unwavering use of death metal clichés.[For some context, I think it was probably me accusing Deicide of cliché more than the metal media at large. I can’t remember why, but I wasn’t that keen on the band at this time. It makes me wonder why I bought the CD in the first place!]

Vocalist Glen Benton has never sung a note in his career, drummer Steve Asheim still abuses his double kick drums, and guitarists Eric and Brian Hoffman still reel off cheesy guitar solos. [I suppose I meant Glen Benton had always growled his vocals, but I probably should have pointed this out in such a mainstream publication. Those might be clichés, but Deicide’s sound has always been unique.]

However, Deicide have been playing this way for more than a decade now, and there is no reason they should change now. Does anyone ever tell AC/DC they need to change?[I still agree with this. Deicide’s sound was really distinct then, and still is now.]

As usual with Deicide, Glen Benton travels down the well-worn Satanic/anti-Christian lyrical path. While often working well, Benton dishes up a bit of a dud once on the album. The chorus to “Bible Basher” is almost funny. You can’t scream “bible basher” over and over and sound scary, Glen![Yeah, the chorus to “Bible Basher” still sounds really fucking stupid!]

However, Deicide are one of the few bands who practice what they preach. Benton still brands an inverted cross in his forehead on a regular basis, despite many thinking it was just for show.[I should have explained what the significance of the inverted cross brand was, for the non-metal audience again. How did I ever get paid for writing this shit?]

The Church of Satan has made him an honorary member, while shock rocker Marilyn Manson had to pay for his membership. Even the album cover has a stylised 666 on it.[Yeah, enough of the Satan shit. Did you forget you have a limited wordcount in a newspaper? What did the fucking music actually SOUND like? Mentioning Marilyn Manson was a good touch though – he was public enemy number one at the time, guaranteed people would read this, and probably the only Satanist most people had heard of.]

Deicide have slowed down on the odd track, to great effect. [Er, shouldn’t this be up a paragraph or two? And name some you lazy bastard! “Forever Hate You”, “Refusal of Penance”, “Standing in the Flames” maybe?] Some of the riffs come through with a crushing heaviness, where they would have been lost in a high speed blur in the past.[True. On the first two albums Deicide was just about straightforward speed. This really limited the scope of their music. The different dynamics after that really helped. Some of the slow chug riffs here, like on “The Gift that Keeps on Giving” paint a distinct contrast to the Asheim-led blast beats. “Halls of Warship” does it well too, the name of which looks like a typo, but the song’s lyrics also use the word “warship”. Who knows?]

Deicide will probably not pick up many new fans with this album, but the band has a well-established base, and are continuing to do what they believe in.[Actually Deicide didn’t really believe in this album much. It was a contractual obligation album, when the band’s label Roadrunner were being less than helpful. Deicide was far from a typical turn-of-the-millennium Roadrunner band, in that they weren’t playing commercially orientated nu-metal or rap metal, and had zero chance of ever gaining any radio play. However, in smashing out an album as quick as possible, Deicide produced a very strong album, almost accidentally. It was poorly received on it’s release, but it has actually held up well. There are some classic riffs here, and Benton’s vocals were clearer than on previous albums, but still just as bestial. He’d matured as a vocalist, if not lyricist. No, the song “Bible Basher” hasn’t got any better despite the passage of 20 years, but the other nine songs here are worthy additions to the band’s legacy.]

***********************************************

Back in 2000, I would have rated this album 2 out of 5, but this is 2020. Now, I’d double that score. This is easily a 4 out of 5. It has all the essential elements of a good Deicide album – fast, heavy, chaotic, blasphemous. Unfortunately, it has the dud opening track, which drops it’s value a little. However, get past that and you’re into some good, solid Satanic death metal.

As for a fresh perspective on the writing? It’s fucking terrible! The original review does little to adequately describe the actual music, and fails to address it’s actual audience and panders instead to a small clique of readers. The paper’s circulation was about 6,000 copies a day. Hopefully, few people if any, remember this review besides me. On the other hand, every single issue of this paper back to it’s creation in 1880 has been archived, so this hack piece will be preserved forever more. Fuck…
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Vim Fuego wrote:
48 days ago
Shihad confession update: I have now heard that album, and it wasn't very good...
3 months ago
Althoguh admittedly, stupid as hell.
3 months ago
Bible Basher is the catchiest song they ever written. What a tune.
Tupan wrote:
3 months ago
I liked the first song, despite the kinda funny chorus!
Vim Fuego wrote:
3 months ago
Suburbia would have got 1 for the content, and 5 for the idea. Brilliant gimmick!
Unitron wrote:
3 months ago
Great read, good way of comparing the old with the new. How many stars was the lawn mowing album rated?

I like the slower paced songs on here best, and I think that's why I haven't gotten into Deicide's other stuff. I usually like death metal best when it's mid-paced and groovy, hence why Obituary's always been my favorite.

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