A little some over 28 minutes of death metal thickness, however, the music tends to be stale, showing no progression from "Legion" as I've previously stated. The Hoffman brothers leads were still wicked, but their riff-writing on this one was repetitive. The band's effort as a whole showed a lack of interest in making death metal furious and apocalyptic. I cannot see any truth about this album ranking their best, the 1st 2 releases are probably the most gutsy, original and entirely innovative. On "Once Upon the Cross", they've abdicated their capabilities in songwriting and put out a boring, unimaginative release.
The vocals were monotonous and less back-up screams exhibited. I thought that they just bored the hell out of me and Glen Benton's spewing forth of anti-Christianity filled lyrics were disenchanting. He lacked the rage that filled Deicide's 1st 2 releases and just left me shaking my head in sheer disbelief, like they've just given up. This album began the downfall in Deicide's songwriting, when they should've been progressing as they were, they decided to get lazy which started my dislike for the band. I don't think that the Hoffman brothers totally abdicated their skills in the lead department, mainly the rhythms went along with Benton's boring vocals.
Don't get me wrong, there were definitely some good riffs on this one, but it was as though you could tell that their abilities kind of shied away from their potential and it was hard to say that they totally just began declining in their creativity. I'll speak for myself on the matter, but I think that anyone who has heard their 1st 2 albums would agree that musically Deicide gave in a stunning upset to their predecessor and did not deserve a whole lot of credit for this output. The focus here is the music, is it brilliant, or just average? From a musical perspective, I've concluded that it was just average. They really didn't work hard enough in creating such innovative riffs that the 1st 2 albums displayed.
A lot of their songs kept repeating the same riffs over and over and didn't last much more than 3 minutes in length on really any of them. Yes they were brutal sounding, but the energy was less and the vibe that you got from this album was that it is just less possessive. Glen seemed to lose guts on his vocal spews and thus began Deicide's downward spiral that once had potential was now on their own nailed cross. A band needs progression in all aspects of music and Deicide had it, then just cashed in. Sorry to say that this one is nothing more than an average death metal release that lacks adequate work from every standpoint. YouTube any song and form your own opinion.