Review Summary: If you were to cut half the record and release it as an EP, it might have scored higher than my father after a line of cherry. Oh well.
It's next to impossible to discuss death metal legionnaires Deicide without reminiscing on their tumultuous past. From the band's inception, public relations has hardly been a concern, with Glen Benton storming into Roadrunner Records' offices with a demo and an oath: "Sign us, you fuck
ing asshole!" Since then, the band has rocketed to the forefront of whatever constitutes a "scene" in the realm of death metal, between the stabbings at their concert with Broken Hope and the release of their eleventh full-length album. It should come to no one's surprise that the band continues on its quest to win back the hearts of minds of metalheads worldwide since their decline in popularity some years ago - the only question is, do they achieve just that with “In the Minds of Evil
As with most of their releases, Deicide opts for a groove-driven approach to their guitarwork, keeping things fast-paced for the better part of the album but never sticking with one riff for too long. The constant change of tone but not pace is nothing new in and of itself, but combine it with the lead guitar cutting in and out at random and the various solos scattered around the album and you have a very satisfactory guitar experience. Unfortunately, the structure of the songs on “In the Minds of Evil
” rarely evolves past its rather plain roots, meaning that those soaring solos you hear on tracks like "Kill the Light of Christ" don't fly for very long before bouncing violently off the pavement. Once you've listened to the title track that opens up the album, what you hear is what you get - the guitars will never get better (or worse) than they were in that song.
With Benton doubling as both vocalist and bassist, and indeed after having done so for over twenty years now, you'd think the man's voice would be hoarse enough to pull a carriage. True to form, however, the vocals on “In the Minds of Evil
” are every bit as enjoyable as they were all those years ago, if not more thanks to modern production standards. While his basswork ultimately suffers the same failure to evolve as the guitarwork does, his vocals are the dealbreakers when it comes to delivering the few amazing moments on this record. The combination of high notes and low growls make Benton's vocal presence both powerful and engaging, leaving you no option but to bang your head in sync with his blasphemies. The true epitome of all that Deicide could be occurs when his screaming collides with the lead guitar and the pounding drums, delivering the perfect death metal performance - even if that experience only lasts for seconds.
Though Benton's vocals are anything but mild, the man is no better than the rank and file when it comes to his basswork. He simply refuses to cease following the guitarwork, and as we already have established, the riffs on “In the Minds of Evil
” are simply satisfactory - not excellent. The drumwork, on the other hand, is more than solid, delivering some of the highest points of the album to our ears and acting as the driving force for blisteringly-fast passages on tracks like "Thou Begone" and "End the Wrath of God". Between the massive amounts of blast beats and the steady bass kicks that never give up, Deicide's drum fills sound better than ever on this album, doing their past work justice where the bass and the guitars do not.
In the end, “In the Minds of Evil
” suffers the same fate as the band's previous release, "To Hell With God
": it delivers a select few tracks that are nothing short of incredible, while simultaneously consigning the remains of the album to mediocrity. The title track and its follow-up, "Thou Begone", are beyond compelling, setting high expectations that are not met by many of the tracks to come. The short but sweet execution of "Even the Gods Can Bleed" is at once brutal and melodic, while the leadwork on "Kill the Light of Christ" and "End the Wrath of God" close the album in the best way possible - but the time between these tracks feels like nothing more than wasted space. Of the eleven tracks on “In the Minds of Evil
”, only five of them speak to me, giving me the unfortunate impression that more than half of the album is simply nothing more than white noise in comparison. Deicide give us a good look at what amazing feats they are capable of, but ultimately fail to deliver a complete album of such grandeur. That being said, this album is by no means par for the course, and the tracks I've named are valuable assets to any metalhead's collection. Hopefully, come next release, Benton and co. will have a solid record to show for their efforts - but until then, they can only learn from their mistakes.