IN 1995, DEICIDE FUCKING ROCKED. They were the catchiest, heaviest singsong death metal around; their sound could dent concrete, level cities. And then the four horsemen fell right out of the saddle. But maybe they kept one boot in the stirrup...

The timing was right for Deicide. They surfaced with a brutal self-titled release in 1990, while Florida was burning under the death metal insurrection. Tampa was a kingdom of metal, all the pleasures of bubonic-plague-era Europe, but with great bands. Ah, the burning was ecstasy.

Finding a voice and a following, Deicide maintained their standing in the metal elite, and in '92 released the diabolical Legion. Three years later they shattered the heaviness barometer with Once Upon the Cross, a monolithic release that drew Deicide into the ethereal, but still low-rent, halls of death metal glory. Kids shed their Raffi tapes for catchy sing-alongs such as "Kill the Christian" and "When Satan Rules His World." But that glory had to sustain us for nearly a decade. 1997 brought the unfortunate Serpents of the Light, followed by 2000's dismal Insineratehymn, and the absolutely shitty In Torment, in Hell in 2001.

But then came 2004 with Scars of the Crucifix. Virgin-tight riffs and an artillery-barrage approach to songwriting resurrected the classic Florida sound. Shortly after Crucifix, guitarists Brian and Eric Hoffman left the band over royalty issues. Freelance shredder Ralph Santolla and former Cannibal Corpse tap-master Jack Owen have settled into the vacancy and are finishing up the new Deicide album, The Stench of Redemption, to be released 6/6/06, of course.

Now, if your idea of a show is a bunch of pasty, underweight kids blowing around like a tornado and shouting incoherent love songs to each other, this is not for you. Deicide are veteran brutality, not hardcore histrionics. Listen to the music, close your eyes and let your brain create a landscape for the sound seething between scalp and skull; for $20 you can take a mind-expanding journey into the lower registers of your own creativity. The four horsemen ride on, brother, find out what the apocalypse sounds like.