Deicide’s progression throughout their career is a unique one for a band of their type; rather than starting strong with a timeless debut and progressively getting worse they in general write good album after good album, with inexplicable misfires sandwiched between them. There was Once Upon the Cross; a boring dud released in between some of their finest works, and the dead patch in their discography during the first half of the 2000s that preceded their incredible return to form with The Stench of Redemption. Insineratehymn is one of the three albums that occupies this barren spot, and it’s a terrible excuse of an album.
The unduly lauded opener ‘Bible Basher’ is a pretty good snapshot of what the album is like as a whole – a few seconds of promise in the form of a melodic line or a faster section that is then discarded for mid-tempo chugging drudgery and unbearably tedious groove riffing that gets boring really quickly. I’m not opposed to groove riffing or chugging in principle but the band seemingly can’t make it work given how unmemorable and bland the guitar work is. The good part then makes a return at some point during the song, only to be discarded again for more groovy boredom. In addition, any sort of wit and intelligence to the lyrics has been tossed out of the window. Every song is like this, only the later tracks typically have some decent soloing here and there. There isn’t really any point on this album that will strike the listener as being… anything, really. It’s very bland and uninspired music, with the only real sense of identity coming from Benton’s deep barking which to his credit is as strong as it was on Serpents of the Light. However, this does little to save the album due to the uninspired music behind the vocals.
The music is also very still, with not enough development of ideas in a given song. Again, ‘Bible Basher’ makes for a good summary of the songwriting. While it does carry a few distinct sections they never manage to do anything with these ideas, simply coasting off of them for an arbitrary length before switching to something else. They manage to run out of ideas about halfway through and simply recycle past sections with little or no development. The songs range from 2 to 3 minutes and yet they still manage to become tiresome because of how stagnant the music is. A short song can coast off of a few ideas with enough energy but that just doesn’t happen because again, the music is burnt out and lazy. To make matters worse none of the music is memorable even with this level of repetition because of how lacklustre all the performances are, so after a song finishes boring you to death with the same set of chugs and boring grooves you can’t even take anything away from the experience.
Like all Deicide releases there’s very little variation in the general delivery and atmosphere, yet because of how weak the delivery is and because of how little atmosphere there is the album manages to overstay its welcome even though it barely breaks the half hour mark. There’s a reason this is known as one of their throwaways; it’s a dreadful album. The band also knew how much of a mistake this direction was, given that they started to add more and more of their classic style with subsequent albums instead of moving forward with the sound presented here. If that isn’t a good indicator that this album should simply be forgotten then I don’t know what is.