9 Songs, 28 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After 1992’s wildly varied—but scorching—Legion, Deicide went back to basics for 1995’s Once Upon the Cross. While Legion had felt like a compendium of riffs rather than a collection of songs, this album reaffirmed the death metal quintet’s songwriting chops. For all their coarse aggression, many of the songs have a recognizable verse-chorus structure—not always a given in death metal’s restless search for extremes. The band’s fundamental belief in Slayer emerges on “Once Upon the Cross,” “Christ Denied,” and “Kill the Christian,” three momentous tracks that display the band’s resurgent interest in deranged guitar solos, supplied by brothers Eric and Brian Hoffman. Glen Benton’s guttural vocals were a new style for the band, but in many ways, it was drummer Steve Asheim, and not Benton, who was the group’s star. Asheim later said Once Upon a Cross was an uncomfortably slow-moving album for a band that liked to move fast. While that might be true, the album’s most compelling moments come from the (relative) midtempo grooves of “When Satan Rules His World” and “They Are the Children of the Underworld.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

After 1992’s wildly varied—but scorching—Legion, Deicide went back to basics for 1995’s Once Upon the Cross. While Legion had felt like a compendium of riffs rather than a collection of songs, this album reaffirmed the death metal quintet’s songwriting chops. For all their coarse aggression, many of the songs have a recognizable verse-chorus structure—not always a given in death metal’s restless search for extremes. The band’s fundamental belief in Slayer emerges on “Once Upon the Cross,” “Christ Denied,” and “Kill the Christian,” three momentous tracks that display the band’s resurgent interest in deranged guitar solos, supplied by brothers Eric and Brian Hoffman. Glen Benton’s guttural vocals were a new style for the band, but in many ways, it was drummer Steve Asheim, and not Benton, who was the group’s star. Asheim later said Once Upon a Cross was an uncomfortably slow-moving album for a band that liked to move fast. While that might be true, the album’s most compelling moments come from the (relative) midtempo grooves of “When Satan Rules His World” and “They Are the Children of the Underworld.”

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