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On “Millennium” Fort Lauderdale underdogs Monstrosity manifested itself as a veritable force in the Florida death metal scene. Whereas its “Imperial Doom” debut was heavily redolent of Malevolent Creation, the band from whence Lee Harrison came, “Millennium” conclusively proved that Monstrosity was compositionally – and technically stronger than a good deal of its regional, more marketable peers. Despite its obvious merits Monstrosity remained only in the second-tier status as its frontman George Fisher would soon decamp to front the iconic Cannibal Corpse.

Disagreements concerning the distribution of royalties resulted in a split with Nuclear Blast Records. The termination of contract with Nuclear Blast Records led founder Lee Harrison to release future Monstrosity efforts through his own label imprint Conquest Music Group. Conquest Music handled distribution and marketing in North America, while Nuclear Blast and Hammerheart Records licensed it for European territories. A few changes in the personnel happened Death alumnus Kelly Conlon replacing Mark van Erp on bass guitar, and Jason Morgan substituting for Jon Rubin. Despite these changes former members Jon Rubin and Mark van Erp contributed to a few songs, while the majority of “Millennium” was written by Lee Harrison and Jason Morgan.

While its kinship with Malevolent Creation remains obvious through its writing Monstrosity offers everything you’d expect of a Florida death metal act. Lee Harrison is probably one of the best drummers in the region, and it's somewhat insulting that he’s still considered second-tier by many. “Millennium” is technical, and thrashy in equal measure while offering bouts of melody and groove simultaneously. Whereas on “Imperial Doom” Harrison’s drumming was mostly about speed on “Millennium” his playing truly becomes integral to each of the cuts. Some of his best work is to be found on tracks as ‘Devious Instinct’ and ‘Dream Messiah’. ‘Fragments Of Resolution’ is the sole dirge-tempo track of the album, and gives Morbid Angel a run for its money. On his swansong appearance with the band frontman George Fisher, who would soon decamp to join the much more marketable Cannibal Corpse, is in fine form. His ascending-descending vocal lines, much to Harrison’s credit as a songwriter, are legendary.

All music was written by Jason Morgan and Lee Harrison, except ‘Manic’ and ‘Stormwinds’ were written by Lee Harrison and Mark Van Erp, ‘Manipulation Strain’ and ‘Slaves and Masters’ was written by Jason Morgan, Lee Harrison and Mark Van Erp. The latter also has the only lyrical contributions from frontman George Fisher with this band. ‘Manic’, ‘Stormwinds’, and ‘Slaves and Masters’ were re-recorded from the self-distributed 1994 “Demo ‘94” tape. ‘Seize Of Change’ was written by Jon Rubin and Lee Harrison. The album features guest vocals by Jason Avery on ‘Devious Instinct’, ‘Dream Messiah’, ‘Fragments Of Resolution’ and ‘Slaves and Masters’. Avery, a veteran of local death metal unit Eulogy, would come to supersede Fisher who moved on to bigger opportunities with fellow genre specialists Cannibal Corpse.

“Millennium” was recorded and mixed at Morrisound Studio with Scott Burns handling the production. The Scott Burns mix was found unsatisfactory, and the album was remixed at Criteria Recording Studios by Keith Rose and Scott Kieklak. Compared to the gritty and lively “Imperial Doom”, “Millennium” sounds rather dry and sterile. Harrison’s drum tones have gained in range and textural depth but don’t possess the same amount of body as they did on the band’s debut. Monstrosity inadvertently became a victim of 1990s computer generated imagery with its Richard Dunn canvas. Unfortunate early digital art aside “Millennium” is a formidable genre exercise.

Despite cementing Monstrosity’s status as one of Florida’s most accomplished units “Millennium” never quite catched on as records of the time from the likes of Deicide, Malevolent Creation, or Morbid Angel. Widely regarded as one of the best Florida death metal acts the output from Monstrosity isn’t as profuse as some of its more popular and prolific brethren. Its outstanding and consistent level of high quality product has only been matched by Waldorf, Maryland icons Aurora Borealis or Poland’s Lost Soul. Reliability, despite the fluidity of its line-ups, aside Monstrosity is still considered a second-tier band despite its penchant for perfection, and aversion towards making artistic compromises. For that reason alone Lee Harrison and his cohorts deserve accolades for remaining true to their vision, and keeping their collective integrity intact where lesser bands would've fallen before similar hardships.

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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.