Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Deicide, those Floridian death-metal maniacs led by controversy-courting frontman Glen Benton, he of the upside-down cross burnt into his forehead. The group has many blasphemous blasterpieces to its name, but in our opinion, these classic cuts are Deicide’s most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.
“DEAD BY DAWN”
While the band’s 1990 debut became one of death metal’s best-selling albums of all time, frontman Glen Benton’s nod to campy horror flick Evil Dead II became one of the genre’s first classic songs.
Sample lyrics: “Dead by dawn/Blaspherate me/We are what wars, and shall rule again.”
“ONCE UPON THE CROSS”
ALBUM: ONCE UPON THE CROSS
Is this song about the cross that Jesus died on — or the one Benton seared into his own forehead 10 times with a red-hot coat hanger? Probably both.
Sample lyrics: “Jesus, you’ve been deceived/Struggling on the cross/Gagging to breathe.”
“BEHEAD THE PROPHET (NO LORD SHALL LIVE)”
Benton sends a shout-out to his main man Lucifer, and a bunch of spazzcore dorks from Olympia, Washington, name their band after it.
Sample lyrics: “Thou who has imprisoned, suffer by your own demise/Execrate the revelation, Master Satan, rise!”
“SERPENTS OF THE LIGHT”
ALBUM: SERPENTS OF THE LIGHT
Many a hapless shredder caught a nasty case of the carpal tunnel trying to cop the Hoffman brothers’ superhuman guitar acrobatics on the opening track from Deicide’s 1997 album.
Sample lyrics: “Serpents of the light, expelled from human life/Free of Jesus Christ!”
Fed up with the Jehovah’s Witnesses trolling his Florida subdivision for converts, Benton threatens to take up proctology.
Sample lyrics: “Ram your religion so far up your ass/Till it becomes just a thing of the past.”
“FUCK YOUR GOD”
ALBUM: SCARS OF THE CRUCIFIX
Back in 2004, Glen couldn’t decide if he was “Mad at God,” as track two suggests, or if he wanted to “Fuck Your God.” (But, Glen, tell us how you really feel …)
Sample lyrics: “Fuck your god/Where the Christmas are I will not go/Fuck your god! Fuck you!”