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The dire lack of care and effort that first surfaced on the “Once Upon the Cross” and “Serpents Of the Light” duo became complete inertia on “Insineratehymn”, the first of two records widely considered blemishes on the band’s spotty output. In order to get out of the Roadrunner Records contract Tampa, Florida bashers Deicide wrote and recorded two albums in quick succession. The first of these two was “Insineratehymn”, a mere husk of the derivative proficiency that made the band famous. By the late 1990s a multitude of death metal bands across North America and Europe were pushing the genre towards a heavier, technical direction - Deicide wasn’t one of them.

Brief glimmers of past glories remain, yet “Insineratehymn” breaks Deicide’s none too complex songwriting formula down to its basic components. On the whole the record is much slower and groovier than any of Deicide’s prior records. Dissatisfaction with Roadrunner Records added to the mounting tensions in the ranks further eroding the soured relations between Benton and the Hoffman brothers. Much like fellow Tampa genre act Obituary, another band that never truly delivered on its initial promise, Deicide was at the end of its creative rope at the dawn of the millennium. Deicide would never formally split but its apathy towards its output would eventually lead to one of the most notorious (and much publicized) band fractures in recent memory.

The tracks consist of lethargic, largely interchangeable riffing with random, meandering and obligatory sounding solos, crude uninteresting drumming and daft vocals. Glen Benton’s performance is admittedly powerful, and a lot better than an sorry showing like this probably deserves. The Hoffman brothers, usually no slouches in the lead department, barely get by. The soloing does what it is supposed to do, but possess none of the zest and color of the band’s earlier work. ‘Standing in the Flames’, ‘Remnant Of A Hopeless Path’, ‘Worst Enemy’, and ‘Refusal Of Penance’ have decent solos but they can’t hold a candle to the early lead work of the brothers. ‘Standing In the Flames’ forms the blueprint for the last Hoffman album “Scars Of the Crucifix” albeit in a much slower form. Only ‘Biblebasher’ remains a regular live staple, the remainder of the record is, understandably, ignored. The songs on the album aren’t bad in and of themselves given the circumstances wherein they were conceived. They are mere shells of what could have been better, more engrossing songs had the band been giving the opportunity and time to let them gestate and develop the ideas and motifs properly. “Insineratehymn” has the makings of a crude pre-production demo where the structures still needed to be fleshed out in a more meaningful way.

At this point Benton hadn’t yet completely given up, and as such the record isn’t entirely without merit as far as lyrics is concerned. The album title is the most intelligent and creative aspect of the record, as it is a phonetic approximation of “incinerate him”. ‘Bible Basher’ is a far from subtle protest against the Christian minister and the greater subject of organized religion. Sadly Glen Benton still isn’t making any compelling arguments to drive any of his increasingly aggressive rhetoric forward. The Genesis hit single ‘Jesus He Knows Me’ in fact made a stronger case against organized religion and its adherents within a single song than Deicide ever managed in its entire career. ‘Forever Hate You’ is a stylistic precursor to the second post-Hoffman album “Till Death Do Us Part”. ‘Halls Of Warship’ is more than just clever wordplay, and chronicles Christianity’s bloody history of armed global conquest. Likewise is ‘Apocalyptic Fear’ more of an observation on religious fundamentalism than an indictment of Christianity in particular. ‘The Gift That Keeps On Giving’ featured on the hit TV series “The Sopranos” helping boost the band’s profile considerably.

“Insineratehymn”, a record significantly marred by a troublesome conception, was further dealt a second considerable blow by having a troubled recording session that saw the band, much to its chagrin, working with two different producers. The band once again convened at Morrisound Studio to track the rhythm guitars and drums under the aegis of long-time producer Jim Morris. Due to circumstances beyond its control the vocal production along with the recordings for the lead – and bass guitar tracks were done by a different producer. Given the problematic circumstances wherein it was recorded and produced it is nothing short of a miracle that “Insineratehymn” ended up sounding as tolerable as it did.

Cognizant of having been forced into delivering an incomplete and unfinished product no logo or title can be found on the cover artwork. Said cover artwork remains one of Deicide’s better and more enigmatic pieces. The rotational 666 numeric design was rendered by Glenn Orenstein was far more subtle than the artwork of the prior records. It is infinitely more evil and surprisingly profound on an abstract and theoretical level considering Benton’s penchant for rather one-dimensional Satanic rhetoric.

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The deterioriation that surfaced on “Once Upon the Cross” is allowed to fester on “Serpents Of the Light”. It is but a whitewash of the preceding “Once Upon the Cross”. Indifferent and uninterested in bettering themselves Deicide persevered with its simplified formula. Even though slightly more eerie melodies are sprinkled through out none of comes even within the proximity of what the band did on the seminal “Legion”. “Serpents Of the Light” is famous for no other reason than that it marked the beginning of Deicide’s darkest era. Soon the band would be consumed by interpersonal conflict resulting in a string of forgettable albums.

Described by the band at the time as a record about the flaws of modern Christianity. On "Serpents Of the Light" Benton identifies the hypocrisies and problems of organized religion, but fails to make a compelling and lasting argument against them. From “Serpents Of the Light” onward the lyrics almost exclusively focused on Benton’s hatred for organized religion, especially Christianity, and its many institutional hypocrisies. Growing increasingly more confrontational, direct and hostile the few subtleties and nuances of “Once Upon the Cross” were abandoned.

Allegedly the Benton-Asheim axis wrote the majority of the record. At this point Deicide’s songwriting had become so streamlined, formulaic, and bland that it makes you wonder why they even bothered. According to Benton tutor Ralph Santolla allegedly wrote all of Eric Hoffman’s leads. The whole endeavour exudes a sense of apathy and disinterest from all involved. While still superior to any of its immediate successors “Serpents Of the Light” is vastly inferior to “Once Upon the Cross”, which itself was a step down from this band’s prime material. Instead “Serpents Of the Light” is the sound of a band slowly imploding. Everything is purely functional, methodical to the point of excess – and completely bereft of any lifesblood and inspiration. A compelling experience this record is not.

‘Serpents Of the Light’, ‘Blame It On God’ and 'Creatures Of Habit’ are essentially three iterations of the same song. ‘This Is Hell We’re In’ seems to be almost autobiographical in the way Benton describes the deteriorating personal – and professional relations with those around him. It has one of the better solos of the record, along with the trio of ‘Slave to the Cross’, ‘The Truth Above’ and ‘Father Baker’s’. ‘The Truth Above’ is, uncharacteristically for this band, about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Everything that made “Once Upon the Cross” the album that it was has been toned down. Benton’s vocals are more intelligible, and there’s a great focus on his lower register vocals and almost complete lack of his characteristic shrieks. The bass playing, much like Benton’s vocals, is non-descript. Where “Once Upon the Cross” at least sounded marginally inspired, everything about “Serpents Of the Light” is formulaic.

Nizin R. Lopez, a fan who had met Deicide at a Fort Lauderdale show, had brought a painting with him and met all the members of the band. The painting depicted a demonic, serpent-like Christ in a thoroughly diseased fashion. Frontman Glen Benton took a liking to Lopez’ work and a few months later that very same painting would be commissioned to serve as artwork for the planned “Serpents Of the Light”. In an interesting turn of events Deicide had adopted the name of Lopez’ original work as album title for its upcoming then-untitled record. Lopez would later paint the cover to the divisive Morbid Angel album “Formulas Fatal to Flesh”, but would curiously remain a low-key artist despite working with two of Tampa's most popular death metal bands released on major labels for the genre.

There’s a case to be made that Deicide, never a band concerned with nuance, or subtlety, received the kind of production befitting of its primal style. Even though the band once again recorded at Morrisound Studio with Scott Burns behind the console the production is decidedly more low-key and down to basics. The guitar tone is crunchier, and there’s a greater bass guitar presence than on the preceding album, but on the whole the production is rougher all around. As one of the earliest instances of unfair budgeting “Serpents Of the Light” lacks the visual and sonoric gloss of “Once Upon the Cross”. It was the last of the Roadrunner era to have the luxury of a band picture, and a promotion campaign worthy of the name.