After the decent but slightly repetitive "Till Death Do Us Part", Deicide return with another exhilarating death metal journey doing what they do best: Hating God. Gone are Glen Benton's rants about how his now ex-wife sucks are replaced with the blasphemous lyrics of old that we as Deicide fans have come to know and love. But, lyrics have never been the main draw for Deicide. I am glad to say to you, people of the internet, that Deicide's music is in fine form. They sound pissed off, technical and downright inspired on this record.
Gone are the problems that many fans had with TDDUP. The production this time around is clean and crisp, letting every instrument (even Benton's bass) be heard with relative clarity. This isn't to say that "To Hell With God" sounds like a Whitechapel record, though. The clean production just makes their technical skill, especially Steve Asheim's inhuman drumming, shine and hit with power. This seems to be the general theme of the album as well, which works to Benton and co.'s advantage. Songs are normally around the 3 to 3.5 minute mark, and have enough variation to keep you interested and banging your head for the whole song, while not sounding like rushed and/or unfinished ideas. Ex-Cannibal Corpse guitarist Jack Owen and guitar wizard Ralph Santolla (who is also a current member in Obituary) play a far more prominent role than on TDDUP, and the quality of music greatly increases. While Owen does absolutely no guitar solos, he does have a hand in crafting 2 songs on the record, and completely wrote the music for another two. His contributions are heavy, a little slower (by Deicide standards) and feature an abundance of catchy moments. This isn't to say Asheim took this one off, though. His writing is in peak form for not only Deicide, but the death metal genre in general. The best way to experience this is to just listen to it, as all I can say is, it just works. It just FEELS like you're listening to a great death metal album, and it gives you the urge to come back and give it another spin.
The question on everyone's mind that I have avoided for this entire review is the obvious one: Is it as good as "The Stench of Redemption"" The short answer, yes. It is as good, but not better. On one hand, the production sounds better here, but it doesn't have the "Holy ***!" moments that Stench had (see the "Homage for Satan" solo, for instance). Santolla's leads are in fine form on this record, and are less abundant than on Stench, and a bit shorter too. It sounds more like older Deicide than Stench did, almost like a bit of "Serpents of the Light" mixed with "Once Upon the Cross", and some melodic elements from Stench thrown in tastefully for good measure (especially in the epic closer "How Can You Call Yourself A God").
In closing, I cannot recommend only a few tracks from this album, as my favorite song from it changes daily. The level of quality and enjoyment for me was so consistent that it just seems wrong to recommend just a few songs. However, if you haven't already heard the stream of "Hang In Agony Until You're Dead" (which came out before the album did), give that a listen. If the speedy ferociousness leading up to the "breakdown" (don't worry, it's not just one note in a deathcore rhythm) which I challenge you to NOT bang your head to doesn't get your blood flowing and make you want to buy this record, I don't know what will. All in all, "To Hell With God" is more than worthy of a purchase, and I for one do not see this leaving my CD player for a long time to come. It's only February, but I can see this on many metalhead's end of the year Top 10 lists. Great job, gentlemen.