Deicide Intensify Their Brutality on 'Banished by Sin'

Deicide Intensify Their Brutality on 'Banished by Sin'

- By Creative Team

Extreme music pillar Glen Benton reflects on Deicide's legacy, dissects the controversy that comes with the territory and forecasts the promising future of the band armed with one of their most cohesive efforts in years.

Photo by Gene Smirnov / Words by Alex Distefano

There are very few extreme metal bands that play truly evil music.

Deicide is one of them.

For over three decades, the Florida-based death metal progenitors have stood above peers such as Obituary, Monstrosity, and even Morbid Angel for uncompromising brutality, and a dedication to an aggressive, uncompromising sound.  Deicide’s current lineup consists of original members, vocalist and bassist Glen Benton, drummer Steve Asheim, and guitarists Taylor Nordberg and Kevin Quirion.   

Whereas most veteran extreme metal bands seem content to rest on their laurels,  the opposite is true with Deicide.

Fresh of the the release of the band's 13th studio album, Banished By Sin, marks a new chapter in the band's career. But, As Benton told Knotfest, this new lineup is on fire in the studio and on stage, and fans will hear the new record’s modern take, with an homage to the old school classic recordings like the beloved self-titledLegion and Once Upon the Cross.   

Benton further discussed his inspiration for the new album, the controversy surrounding the band, The Milwaukee Metal Fest and how at the end of the day, he doesn’t give a fuck what anyone thinks or says about Decide’s music.

With one listen to Banished By Sin, it’s refreshing to hear that brutality and primeval sound that Death Metal has been known for, without too much digital polishing. These songs are tight, punishing, and unbelievably brutal. Benton said the new record was just a continuation of the band, celebrating the new lineup.

“I’m so happy with the sound the band has right now, we got a great team on board,” he said. “As for the new album, all I can say is every time I approach it is just what comes out of me, and this collection of songs is what came out. For us as a band, it’s just a matter of enjoying what we do. I always have, if I’m not having fun I would not be doing it."  


Benton further explained the cathartic quality of the record, "For the music we write and play, a lot of it the songs are personal. A lot of shit went down during the writing of this album. For instance, my parents died, and that is reflected in some of the music. But, like all of our songs, the lyrics are sometimes personal, about my life.  Also, yeah, the pandemic had a little bit of influence on this new record, because  during the Covid bullshit, everybody was feeling the pain and I had as much anger and aggression and frustration as everyone else during the experience it was something that changed our world.”

Another element that stands out on the new album, especially on tracks like “Sever the Tongue," and "Bury The Cross With Your Christ," is Bentons’s deep, guttural demonic vocal performance. Benton reiterated his commitment to his craft by explaining how he maintains himself physically to ensure he can not only execute, but rather, excel. “The thing is, I am physically fit because, for this type of music, you have to be. Even though I’m not in my 20s anymore, I bicycle and jog every day, and live an active life at home when I’m not on tour.  Unlike a lot of singers, I seem to be getting more diabolical and evil sounding the older I get.” 

With all the records under its belt, Benton confides it is tough to single out any favorite albums. Each have their own merit, carry their own trials and triumphs and serve as an important part of a bigger body of work. “All the albums I’ve done with Deicide are like my babies,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to choose.  Every one of those records took an extended period in my life, and they are a reflection; of the different chapters of my life. I don’t regret a thing. I don’t care what other people think or say. I don’t make music for them, I make it for myself.  I do feel like our new record is the new chapter of Deicide. I feel like finally, this is what the band should have been.”

Of course, with a new album, means returning to the road, which Benton said he and his bandmates are ecstatic about. One of the major festivals they are playing in May is the Milwaukee Metal Fest, which Was revived by Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta. “I played the first 3 of the original Milwaukee Metal Fest in the early 90's,” Benton said. “The promoter handled it differently, it was more like a party atmosphere or like a convention type thing. Business-wise it wasn’t the best set up. But who am I to say? It was fun, don't get me wrong. They were great shows with some cool bands,  but it just wasn’t organized or promoted in the best manner.

But now, Jamey is doing things differently and more modern, and I see they are promoting the show. This way I think it could last a bit longer. This time around, the way the music business is now, everyone is having to reinvent themselves somehow. I am glad Jamey brought this festival back, they were great shows. It will be fun to play, we can't wait. We are honored, I hope it keeps going every year.”

In discussing the aggressive nature of the band’s sound, it's only natural the conversation shift to the frenzied environment of a live Deicide show. With a tenure now decades long, it stands to reason that Benton has seen his share of violence from the stage. Benton discussed how the unique working environment has made for some especially tense moments throughout his career.

"I've had several moments over the years, where I’m up on stage holding my breath over injuries, going ‘please get up,’ and hoping no one is seriously hurt. I’m telling you, I’ve seen some intense, serious shit. Many times. Where people hit the ground and blood just spills out. People getting knocked out cold, broken noses,  head wounds, missing teeth, people getting stabbed, crazy fucking brutal fist fights in the front row, people stage diving, crowd surfing, getting kicked in the head, you name it. In fact, at the first Milwaukee Metal Fest years ago I saw some guy drop some girl on her head and blood was just gushing all over the place. I think she died. It was during an interview in the lobby. It was fucked up. I’ve seen some brutal shit over the years.”

While the mayhem seemingly goes with the territory, Benton reiterated that he understands the kind of responsibility the band onstage has in making sure to be aware of potential dangerous situations. “If I'm playing and I see anything seriously bad, I will be the first one to stop playing and stop it. I can stop the song, but I can't restart your heart.  If someone’s hurt bad or some stupid asshole is being too violent and I see it,  I’ll stop the song and get that guy out of there, I’m too old now to give a fuck about having to stop a song.”


For Deicide, upheaval and disruption are have long been at the band's creative core. The band's blasphemous subject matter and oppositional stance to religion lyrically have positioned them as a lightning rod of controversy. The fallout has attracted sometimes an unsavory allegiance and in some cases criminal repercussions from fans with ridicule from the press. It's a reality that Benton is quick to distance himself from. “Look what I do, what we make with Deicide is art.  I’m protected by the First Amendment Freedom of Speech, and I’m not out trying to incite people with my songs, or out there telling people to form a fucking church or believe this or that. It’s  creative self-expression,” Benton emphasized. 

Benton reiterated that the minority that have gone to extremes in the past aren't indicative of the greater community of fans that follow Deicide. “I think most of our fans are not crazy fuckin' psychos. But, every aspect of life has unstable people in it, and music is just one of these areas. I know there’s been a lot of bad shit people have done and used the band’s name, and I don’t even wanna address that shit. I will just say I hope people are smart enough not to do stupid shit just because some fuckin' death metal band fromm the 90s is singing about it. I think that it’s pathetic to scapegoat and to blame a band, or a movie, or art. At the end of the day, as people, we all have to take personal responsibility for our individual actions.”    

With the reflective tone of the conversation, and the trove of stories that could only result from a decades-long career of playing death metal, there's room to assert that if anyone could pen a book, it would be Benton. “ I get asked that all the time, and the way I look at it, a movie or a book - that is for when your career is over.”

Benton continued, “I really don’t want people to look into my personal life, honestly. Just being in the band and this business I have shitloads of crazy stories and I prefer to tell them to people backstage every so often, but it’s more like a spoken word/comedy act. People have different perceptions of what they think this band is, and I know I could make people piss their pants laughing with all the stories I’ve lived through and experienced over all these years. I’d rather tell my stories that way, instead of having it look like I’m crying on someone’s fucking shoulders in some book or sop story of a movie.”


In the unique position of being able to reflect on the past, while still looking ahead to the future, Benton detailed the excitement the band has in getting back to the business of performing live and spreading the gospel of Deicide. He explained the changing dynamic of touring and how the possibilities are much more plentiful now than they have been in years prior.

“Deicide has been offered to go out on tour with bigger bands, like years ago I got offered to open for Motorhead, for Superjoint Ritual and for Dio, and other bigger bands and even some bigger festivals,” he said. “But back at the time they did not make financial sense we would have lost money and I couldn’t do that, this was years ago before t-shirt sales were what they are now. Nowadays we’d consider it if we were offered to open for some bigger band or play a huge fest, it would make more financial sense and I would love to come play every night on a bigger stage and kick the shit out of the audience every night. I’ve always had bigger bands that I won’t name but they have always promised to take us out many times on these bigger tours, but so far it’s never happened I only believe what I see and what happens, and if it never does, oh well I don’t give a fuck.”



Regardless of the size of the production or the size of the touring stage, Benton doubled down on Deicide always bringing their A-game. In fact, Benton takes pride in Deicide being the band that never plays the same sets for its tours. “I know a lot of bands just play the same songs for a tour, but fuck that. We don’t play the same set list like most bands. I'd lose my mind if I had to play the same songs every night. We mix it up so people can expect to hear a wide spectrum of old and new songs from pretty much most of our albums.  For our upcoming tours, we’re working on bringing older stuff back into the set and just waiting to see what newer songs people are into when we play live so we can concentrate on those.”


Banished By Sin is now available via Reigning Phoenix Music - HERE


Catch Deicide live at the Milwaukee Metal Fest later this month along with Death to All, Testament, Mr. Bungle, Possessed, Hatebreed and more.

Get tickets - HERE

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