The Best of Deicide

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For all of their important contributions to the advance of pure American death metal, Florida's Deicide will probably be remembered in the end for the exaggerated publicity stunts of outspoken frontman Glen Benton -- possibly the only man to take his anti-crusade against Catholicism seriously enough to brand an inverted cross onto his forehead, only to almost get blown up by animal rights activists. Who would have thought those bunny lovers were the true enemy? But hey, any publicity is good publicity, right? And if nothing else, Benton was probably the only American death metal musician to challenge those wacky, church-burning Norwegians for extracurricular activities inadvertently leading to a lot of headlines -- and for the sheer entertainment value involved, fans can thank him. Anyway, since Deicide's surprisingly long career challenged but never quite matched the likes of Sepultura, Death, and Morbid Angel in death metal's lofty, upper echelons of brilliance and glory, Roadrunner's nearly career-spanning The Best of Deicide offers many metal fans a perfect chance to sample the crème de la crème of the band's material in one fell swoop (of the axe). Listening to these 20 tracks spanning a decade and five albums (their final Roadrunner album 2001's In Torment, in Hell, 1998's live When Satan Lives, and 1993's Amon: Feasting the Beast demos collection are represented), one certainly has to give Deicide credit for such unwavering commitment to their vile and misanthropic cause. Conversely, as track after bludgeoning track storms by decapitating innocents left and right, one can't help but notice the dearth of ideas resulting from the group's infinitesimal evolutionary pace. In fact, about the only serious variety in terms of recorded sound takes place via the downright crappy production gracing the scant submissions from 1997's arguable career-low Serpents of the Light. As such, later offerings like "Bastard of Christ," "This Is Hell We're In," and even the mildly melodic (gasp!) "Bible Basher" are reliably brutal, consistently speedy, and remarkably blasphemous, but never as memorable as the ten -- or was it 20? -- that came before. However, for all those extreme metal fans with aspirations of sampling all of the key contributors to their favorite musical style, Deicide, and therefore this best-of set, should not be overlooked.

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