Deicide is an American death metal band formed in 1987 by bassist and vocalist Glen Benton and drummer Steve Asheim. The band rose to mainstream success in 1992 with their second album Legion, and is credited as the second best-selling death metal band of the Soundscan Era, after Cannibal Corpse. Since their debut album in 1990, Deicide has released eleven studio albums, one live album, two compilation albums and two live DVDs. In November 2003, their first two albums, Deicide and Legion, were ranked second and third place respectively in best-selling death metal albums of the SoundScan era. Deicide is not only known for their music, but for their lyrics, which cover topics such as Satanism and anti-religion. Their lyrics have resulted in bans, lawsuits and criticism from religious groups and the public.
As Amon/Carnage (1987-1989):
Deicide was formed in Tampa, Florida on July 21, 1987, after guitarist Brian Hoffman called Glen Benton, replying to an advertisement the latter had placed in a local music magazine. Hoffman and his brother, along with drummer Steve Asheim, had previously played together as the band "Carnage", which was in need of a bassist and vocalist. They are influenced by bands such as Destruction, Sodom, Venom, Bathory, Mayhem, Possessed, Death, Autopsy, and Slayer. The new band, called Amon, consisted of Benton (bass and vocals), Hoffman, Hoffman's brother Eric (guitars) and Steve Asheim (drums). Within a month, they had recorded crude Feasting the Beast 8-track demo in Benton's garage and had started playing the occasional gig in the Tampa area. In 1989, Amon recorded their second demo, Sacrificial, at Morrisound with producer Scott Burns.
Malevolent Creation guitarist Phil Fasciana recalls an early Carnage show: "It was like Slayer intensified a thousand times." "I guess Carnage had hollowed out a mannequin and filled it with fuckin' blood and guts from a butcher shop... and then they threw the fuckin' thing on the floor. Morbid Angel had these pit bulls with them back then and they were just tearing the meat up. It was a really weird scene, man. There was blood and meat everywhere."
As Deicide (1989-2004):
Benton reportedly stormed into Roadrunner Records' A&R man Monte Connors' office and presented him with the demo, saying, "Sign us, you fucking asshole!" The next day contracts were issued to the band. In 1989 the band's name was changed to Deicide at the request of Roadrunner Records.
Deicide then released their self-titled debut album, also produced by Scott Burns at Morrisound, in 1990. Their debut featured re-recorded versions of all six of the Sacrificial tunes that had secured them their record deal.
Both Eric and Brian tended to play technical solos at fast speeds and with overlapping riffs, which gave Deicide the definitive heavy sound and complex song structures. This lineup remained intact until November 25, 2004, in the wake of increasing animosity between Glen Benton and the Hoffman brothers allegedly in regards to royalties and publishing. The Hoffman brothers later went to reform Amon.
Post-Hoffman brothers period (2004-present):
Shortly after, the guitar roles were then filled by ex-Cannibal Corpse guitarist Jack Owen, and Vital Remains guitarist Dave Suzuki. Following the tour, Suzuki was replaced by Ralph Santolla, formerly of Death, Iced Earth and Sebastian Bach. Santolla stated he is a Catholic and this has received a small amount of shock and ridicule from some metal fans. In spite of this, Deicide's eighth studio album The Stench of Redemption album received rave reviews. In January 2007, Benton left the European tour and returned home to the US as a result of legal issues at home. Asheim announced that Seth van Loo, from opening act Severe Torture, and Garbaty "Yaha", from the Polish death metal band Dissenter, would be replacing Glen Benton starting on January 9 in the Netherlands, until Benton could rejoin the tour. Benton rejoined in Paris on January 13. On May 24, 2007, it was announced Ralph Santolla had left Deicide. Subsequently, he joined Florida's Obituary and appears on their album Xecutioner's Return as well as the tour. Then on July 20, 2007, guitarist Jack Owen (ex-Cannibal Corpse) announced that Deicide is "on hiatus" and he has joined Ohio based death/thrash combo Estuary for touring purposes. The band did a Balkan tour, dubbed "Balkans AssassiNation Tour", in October 2007 alongside Krisiun, Incantation and Inactive Messiah.
By November 2007, Deicide began work on its ninth studio album at Florida's Morrisound Studios. Entitled Till Death Do Us Part, the follow-up to 2006's The Stench of Redemption promised to be Deicide's "most savage and aggressive offering to date," according to a press release. Drummer Steve Asheim recorded drum tracks and Benton started recording vocals in December. By April 2008 two songs off this album were posted online. It was finally released on April 28, 2008. As the record was coming out, Benton considered retiring from music, in the midst of personal matters including a custody battle.
On January 6, 2009, Deicide posted a blog on their official Myspace page saying they had signed a worldwide record deal with Century Media, with Ralph Santolla returning to the band for a European tour. They were said to be working on material for a summer 2010 release. In early 2009 they toured with Vital Remains and Order of Ennead. Guitarist Kevin Quirion of Order of Ennead joined the band in the summer of 2009.
In June 2010, Glen Benton revealed that the next Deicide album was to be titled To Hell with God. It was produced by Mark Lewis at Audiohammer Studios in Sanford, Florida, and was released on February 15, 2011.
Deicide released their eleventh studio album, In the Minds of Evil, on November 26, 2013.
Deicide has received considerable controversy relating to their albums and lyrics, which include vehement anti-Christian themes, such as "Death to Jesus", "Fuck Your God", "Kill the Christian", "Behead The Prophet" and "Scars of the Crucifix", among others. Drummer Asheim said, "The whole point of Satanic music is to blaspheme against the Church", "I don't believe in or worship a devil. Life is short enough without having to waste it doing this whole organised praying, hoping, wishing-type thing on some superior being".
Most of the controversy surrounded frontman Benton for a rash of shocking interviews and wild statements. Benton has repeatedly branded an inverted crucifix into his forehead on at least 12 different occasions. During an interview with NME magazine, he shot and killed a squirrel with a pellet gun to prevent any further damage to his electrical system in the attic at the location the interview was held. Often taken out of context, this act garnered negative attention from critics and some animal rights activists. Benton had professed beliefs in theistic Satanism during Deicide's early years, claimed to slaughter rodents for fun, and that he held beliefs in demonic possession and that he was possessed. Such statements had eventually been concluded as tongue-in-cheek and little more than sensationalism by band members questioned alternatively. Additionally, Benton claimed in the early 1990s that he would commit suicide at the age of 33 to "mirror" a lifespan opposite that of Jesus Christ (however, he passed that age in 2000 and did not commit suicide, rebutting in 2006 that these statements had been "asinine remarks" and that "only cowards and losers" choose to kill themselves).
Deicide has been banned from playing in several venues (such as Valparaiso, Chile over a promotional poster featuring Jesus Christ with a bullet hole in his forehead) and with various festivals such as Hellfest, after several graves had been spray-painted with "When Satan Rules His World", which is a song from Deicide's 1995 album Once Upon the Cross. More recently, their music video for "Homage for Satan", which features blood-splattered zombies on a rampaging mission to capture a priest, was banned from UK music TV channel Scuzz.
In 1992, Deicide was on tour in Europe with Atrocity from Germany and Gorefest, a Dutch death metal band. In Stockholm, during the Gorefest set, a bomb was discovered on-stage. It exploded in the club in which they were playing. The bomb was located to the rear of the stage, behind a heavy, fireproof door. The explosion was big enough to deform the door and blow it off its hinges. Deicide managed to play three songs before the police decided to stop the concert and evacuate the club. At first, Benton blamed that attack on the Norwegian black metal scene, where Deicide's brand of death metal was despised. This however was not the case since many of the key members of the black metal scene were present at the show, including Mayhem's guitar player, who was not only at the concert but also working as a DJ. Many people blamed animal rights activists who were angered at Deicide's lyrical themes of animal sacrifice.