Century Media Records
February 15th, 2011
Release length: 35:43
To Hell with God really brings back some of the more modern Death Metal tactics fans will remember from albums like Insineratehymn and even In Torment in Hell, but still carry that newfound brutality the band discovered for Scars of the Crucifix and on. The audio quality of the album also takes a bit of a cleaner modern sound to it, which works for and against the band. The guitars sound great and have an undeniable heaviness to them, the bass comes through at a level where you can hear and feel it but it doesn’t dominate the recording in any way, the drums sound great with the kicks having a good click, but the snares feel a little weaker from a lower volume then you would expect, and even many of the cymbols suffer from just not feeling too powerful in the final mix. Vocally, this is perhaps one of the band’s best efforts thanks to the crisp quality that captures the deeper growls, but allows the performance to be understood and sound more natural to the album’s sound instead of just being growling indecipherable noise.
The album starts with the furious title track, “To Hell with God”, and it does a great job at establishing what’s coming your way. The song has a lot of catchy brutality to it, mixing the deeper gutturals well with the random backing higher pitch wails common for the nand. The guitar solo takes on a bit of a Heavy Metal sound, which really aids the intensity nicely. The pace of the song never lets up from it’s bludgeoning aggression aside the catchier guitar work of the chorus, but even then it’s just to slow things down slightly in favor of some catchier riffs that push the darker, blacker atmosphere of the song for the stronger vocal performance that accompanies these sections. From here, this is about what you can expect with the rest of the album. There’s plenty of solid heavy and fast paced sections that often are accompanied by slower, somewhat hook-driven passages, mostly for the chorus, an impressive Heavy Metal-esque guitar solo, and randiom blast beats for good measure. It’s not necessarily a formula, but after a little while you can start to feel like you’ve heard things before. To Hell with God really boils down to how well executed and intense the bands make these tracks.
“Empowered by Blasphemy” makes for a nice change of pace for the release, and it’s mostly due to the fact that it goes at a slower speed for much of the song, almost inverting the expectations of the foundation. There’s no real groove to it, but it kind of feels like that with it’s somewhat chugging pace. Around the half way point it picks up speed and just hammers away at the listener with blast beats and just faster passages similar to the previous four songs in intensity. One of the more notable things here is that after this point there’s a total of three shorter guitar solos that help slave out the intensity and fury past that midway point, and it becomes a welcome addition to keep a decent amount of variety to the release. “Angels of Hell” approaches things in a similar manner as far as the focus on slower material goes, though it doesn’t really reach the same speeds until the halfway point again, though as you reach the end it goes back to the slower speed once more and only has one additional solo instead of three back to back, but it does all start with an alright shorter guitar solo. This one does have a little more of an obvious groove to the beginning and to close the track out, but much you really can’t help but feeling like it’s a rehashed version of “Empowered by Blasphemy”.
All the tracks on To Hell with God are good. And that’s the problem, they’re just good. There’s nothing here that really leaps out for your juggular aside a few tracks. “To Hell with God” is a powerful track, having a pretty primal Deicide feel to it, and lots of energy. But, it’s not until “Hang in Agony Until You’re Dead” that you’ll really feel moved by the material. This track has such a presence to it that you’ll immediately want to run to the nearest living thing and kill it, or at the least start a very violent mosh pit wherever you stand. The music just feels energetic and very commanding, letting the listener’s blood pump once it’s build up reaches the authoritive climax it naturally progressed to, ending with a similar closing to how it all began. And the thing is you feel this way because once again you listen to it and feel like you heard it before, which you kind of did since that strong build up is very similar to the build up in “To Hell with God” except it has a longer closing to it. Finally the album closes with “How Can You Call Yourself a God”, which really does try to bring things back to the band’s glory days, has a really epic sounding guitar solo that again feels rather Heavy Metal oriented and suits it very well, and just pounds away in a manner that will have the listener joining in on the solo and, again, starting a mosh wherever he or she stands. It’s sad that this is one of very few truly motivating songs on the album, especially being held until the end, but in terms of a grand finale, Deicide hit the nail on the head with this track.
To Hell with God is far from a bad album, but at the same time it’s not the most engaging and can sometimes be a bit repetitive. It definitely is one of the group’s stronger efforts, and Deicide bring plenty of energy into the mix throughout the recording. If you’re a fan of the band, chances are good you’re not going to be that let down by the album. If you like aggressive music with a rather modern sounding production and clarity to your Death Metal, then To Hell with God is well worth picking up and giving a chance, even if you’re not a Deicide fan to begin with.
01. To Hell with God – 4:21
02. Save Your – 3:33
03. Witness of Death – 3:06
04. Conviction – 3:16
05. Empowered by Blasphemy – 3:16
06. Angels of Hell – 3:13
07. Hang in Agony Until You’re Dead – 3:59
08. Servant of the Enemy – 3:18
09. Into the Darkness You Go – 3:32
10. How Can You Call Yourself a God – 4:16
|Overall Score: 7.5/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.