Review: A formative work of integration of theory into death metal, Deicide's self-titled album integrated the primitive musical atavism of early death metal with the ambient tendencies of atonal music, drifting more into self-defining structure than less abstract works based upon an arbitrary framework of musical value. With strips of chromatic chords thundering together in complex harmonic overlays, a lack of key centric composition, destructive atonal lightspeed guitar solos and roaring umbrage of vocal torment expressing the archest of blasphemies, Deicide created an aesthetic to match the structure of music reflecting a meta-ideology that emphasized the similarities between musical construction and philosophical exploration of the postmodern state of nihilism and misanthropic despair through composition fashioned from freely allocated and recombinated vector indicative note sequences, a statement of hopelessness to conventional composers.
1. Lunatic of god's Creation
2. Sacrificial Suicide
3. Oblivious to Evil
4. Dead by Dawn
7. Carnage in the Temple of the Damned
9. Day of Darkness
Vocals barked in the hoarse cough of Glen Benton, administerer of blasphemy, and highly metaphorical lyrics about the nature of self and will in an egoless and essentially unconcerned universe, chase and intensify the rhythms of each phrase and drive further energy into the endurance beating of the primal rhythm propelling each song. The crosscut of extreme guitar and thunder of barre chords sliding home rides over the changing and dissolving riffs of high speed tremelo, fluttering melodic within bassthrob with the subtlety of avalanche. Centering revolves around able percussion that mercurial stays in clipping encyclic beats or jumps through fractions to reach a threshing gallop; the subtleties of fill and complementary rhythms is well managed and inspirationally coherent with the motion at the essence of each song.
Seemingly almost idiotic for its roving simple riffing and the comedy of theatrical Satanic vocals, or for the drifting and schizophrenic guitar solos that strike tonelessness into the heart of tone, or even just for the relentlessness of verse and chorus vocal rhythms, the music of Deicide proves its beauty when its structure (as broadcast through the riff, point of all association in the tradition of metal bands) reveals the clarity of divergent elements unified in the conclusion of their precepts, often in nihilistic recursion: in moments of clarity one can see the diligent and artistic process of conception as a means of addressing an unsatisfying reality work as communication to liberate the entrapped minds of the human sheep of earth.
Review: After a promising debut in which an occultist theme in image and music unleashed its nascent potential upon a sleeping world, Deicide tackled the second album stopping point head on with their most ambitious statement yet of complexity and theory in opposition to the mindless, and it almost destroyed the band. The end product was under a half hour, and even a 44-second detour into a cinematic evil intro did not change this violation of form. Further, in a time when image was becoming recognized as important many felt the aesthetics did not live up to the abstracted lunacy of the first. While this dialogue occurred, Deicide created an enduring statement to the evolution of death metal technique with a Miltonian will to oppose all central control and morality through music which cannot accept stasis.
A rage of vocalist churlish hurls a howling sequential cadenced murmur topping volume of percussive guitars moving a tonal center in arpeggio around which undulation in rhythm encodes dialogue internal to placement at that space within a counterpoint warplan of colliding halves, complementary, founding a justified jihad within the place of motivic change and motion, wavelike curling and collisive, to which songs adhere in wisdom of pop music using melodic hook underneath the thrusting roar, an american trailer Mozart creating from the trash of dead empires a rhythmic delivery of larger vision (thus inconvenient; thus resurrective; thus immortal pyrrhic like the dead empires themselves).
1. Satan Spawn, The Caco-Demon - intro 0:44 (4:26)
2. Dead But Dreaming (3:14)
3. Repent to Die (3:59)
4. Trifixion (2:58)
5. Behead the Prophet (No Lord Shall Live) (3:45)
6. Holy Deception (3:19)
7. In Hell I Burn (4:37)
8. Revocate the Agitator (2:47)
Pompous, righteous, aggressive the guitar duality merges in constant interplay between harmonies and unified rhythm shifting subtle texture within constant iteration of theme in usefully changing avenue, pointing units at one another across a tonal divide of vast yet often chromatic advances; its arrogance is its elitism, and its elitism is to encode its masterview within the next intensity level of the technique used by Discharge, then Slayer, and then Sepultura in its evolution. Warring between two statements, if each self consistent justifies its melodic balance with rhythm and structural management of tonal division to resonate with conceptual position, naturally invokes the human cognitive apparatus toward perceptual tokenization and thus statement, in language as in natural resolution to gaps in data, of x-compare-y as the weapons of battle are unasheathed.
From this modal playing framing atonal song development is a dying Baroque gasp given ferocity by the gutter logicianship of death metal in a rising force of logic within the decaying realm, a negative truth within a larger existential conception which can never be reconciled with the forces of Judeo-Christian morality; its expression (cause and effect as self-inventing forms of calculation and change) brings to mind the ancients alongside the more recent philosophical efforts in Nietzsche and Heidegger to replace morality with a primal, natural valuation of a constantly changing aesthetic landscape with unaltering core values, as seen is the modern time.
Masterminds Asheim and Benton conspire on theme and motion but percussion commands instrumentalism by integrating constant foreshadowing or thematic recurrence in textures shifting externally while contemplating inward dialogue with accentuation resonant throughout three themes simultaneously. Herein is the seat of division which propels negativity against its opposite to reveal the similarity within, dissolving dualism through acidic degeneration of theme to uncover the opponent structure as natural and the free beast thus engaged warlike in adversarial strikes against the kingdom of goodness that is the justification for a post-modern industrial society. Jazz and rock theory are reduced to unabashed worship of linear simplicity overlaid with topological extensions recurrently integrated into conceptual points of emphasis to each phrase, resulting in a technicality and innovative scope few drummers are allowed to match. Bentonic bass: direct, adventurous often, too often a creative element hidden that needed a second bass track.
While slackers, none of these instrumentalists are shabby in the sense of rendering, although their riffs are elemental, drum patterns basic, and vocal cadences so essential to the pop nature of each composition that they are obvious to the listener and in retrospect may seem overdone. Yet composite this work expresses the an essential belief of death metal: there must be a way to escape the cloying public tendencies toward social compromise and vapid material values as symbolism obstructing the intricacy and necessity of the problem of negativity in modern spiritual and philosophical thought as inherent to any questing, querying, ambitious life, and this fantastic vision of mental clarity and exploration is one generation summarized as an introduction to the genre.
Review: After a frustrating response to their highly technical second album, Deicide resurrected the simple driving aspects of their music in a even sparser form which hammers home a violence of its own vengeance on the gelatin mentality of servitude. Their first album, Deicide, attracted people for its rhythmic vibrance and anger as well as its simplified speed/death metal structures and Satanic lyrics, and "Once Upon the Cross" continues this tradition with intricate song architectures that decrypt to relentless elemental phrases.
This album invents an almost-new style of music, with powerful rhythmic riffs made from simple components joined into the most violent record yet heard in death metal, in that it is more minimalist and more theatric than most metal of its age. On this album, Deicide is closer to mainstream music than ever before, yet within a technique and compositional attitude of ferocity and hatred.
1. Once Upon the Cross
2. Christ Denied
3. When Satan Rules His World
4. Kill the Christian
5. Trick or Betrayed
6. They Are The Children Of The Underworld
7. Behind The Light Thou Shall Rise
8. To Be Dead
9. Confessional Rape
Riffs are clean-cut and simple, heavy strumming with coherent response from the drumkit. Songs follow verse-chorus loops, which is at first disappointing, but eventually appreciated as the ambient effect of this much musical violence settles into the listener. As usual, lyrics are a series of finely articulated catch phrases strung together with casual words for rhythmic use; Benton shouts the vocals hoarsely over the roar of his band, not quite able to do a death vocal but perfectly able to throw emphasis into the phrases he wants heard.
The godly release that "Deicide" was (an eternal landmark) has not been matched, but a new direction brings new powers and some interesting lyrics, although the propagandistic stance of "Kill the Christian" ("Rip up their Bible before it's too late") shows how defensively angry Deicide have become. In cadence with muffled strumming to be followed by an unleashed blast of tremelo chords reducing to a central tone, Benton gutpukes his lyrics in a hoarse shout to incite counterrhythm in guitar and the exact but lightly playful drumming of mastermind Steve Asheim (who is credited for writing most of the album).
Lead guitars interweave atonally with the march of chords but exist as support and not augmentation; the rockstar solos of the first album are gone but so are the integral statements of each solo. As a construction of this new ideal, this album achieves an almost transcendental violent alienation, and for that adds a new style to the death metal lexicon, but for the listener its endurance will be lengthy for its tight rhythmic and structural songwriting.
Review: Extending their intense fusion of compelling rhythm and structurally hidden melody that inspired two generations of death and black metal, Deicide have infused modern black metal technique into resiliently self-violent death metal structuralist nihilism, bringing forth a monster of their characteristically hydraulic riffing and thunderously abrupt and seemingly random rhythmic changes that also speaks the fluid language of black metal melodic vectoring.
Riffs are now mostly composed of single notes played at vibrant tremelo speeds, incorporated into melody supporting the implied musical contortions of the main riff and the rhythm of its chorus, driving at various parts of each song the directions and harmonic tendencies of pieces to come. Drumming contains the music like a ribcage and propels it with a hydraulic bounceback beating of percussion that drives the music in a terrifying organic but abstract direction. Recombinations of the crucial connecting elements of each song lets them restate, in rephrase, the various convergences of ideas and their evolution. Music devolves from basic idea to sound crafted in deliberately bent and simplistic ways with a focus on a more facefront virus: the repeated mandate of a single-line chorus. This musical language has all of the uncertainty out of certainty that death metal carried, and all of the ambiguous fluctuation of tones that black metal has developed melodically.
While this makes for a very listenable work that is easier to follow than, say, their second album "Legion," the need for polemic clarity of communication has delimited the stylistic range of the band and constrained their creation: the thrill of discovery is gone and in its place is a fair amount of repetition of known ideas. Previous songs from this band have been modified and recombined to deliver the catchy and evocative chorus lines on top of proven sequences, leaving out the self-evidence and inspirational nonlinearity of earlier material. For example, the title track "Serpents of the Light" uses a modified verse rhythm of "Trick of Betrayed" and third track "Blame it on god" features a four-part counterpoint to "Dead by Dawn"'s chant of a phrase in two rhythms, and later songs on the album showcase quotations from the first three albums. The repetition in music echoes the repetition in lyrics, both of their own message and of an analogue to Christian proselytization.
1. Serpents of the Light
2. Bastard of Christ
3. Blame it on god
4. This is Hell We're In
5. I am No One
6. Slave to the Cross
7. Creature of Habit
8. Believe the Lie
9. The Truth Above
10. Father Baker's
Nevertheless these rhythms retain their charged power and are carried well into this format by the inventiveness of the two guitarists and drummer Asheim's relentless accuracy riding a rhythm into its derivations and restatement. Shock troop tempo changes, galloping interludes, song bridges that pummel through conflicting musical directions and unify in emulsified rhythm, and precision counterpoint song fragments that give voice to the convoluted structures are all pieces of the equation.
At its best this music is brilliant: engaging, rhythmic like the weight of a gun in the hand, melodic with an urgency and dissonance that encourages the listener to see an emptiness opening like hope, in its moments of convergence a focus of beauty and unfulfilled, yearning adventurousness. Riffs melt open in rippling melody. Guitar solos seem often more tongue in cheek versions of the rock-cliché bending atonal comedy masterpieces of earlier albums, with more attention paid to lucidity and rhythmic placement in each phrase for comprehensibility. The at-times heavily dogmatic lyrics underscore the forebearance of rhythm with simple meter to emphasize and counterpoint the dominant chorus rhythm, often a single phrase in early 80s speed metal style.
Theatrics and horror movie aspects of the band have been toned down and the music made even more ambient, reducing its hard stops and edged rhythms in favor of flowing tremelo patterns and metaphrase percussion. Caught between manipulation and response, Deicide react, while in the process of responding. This duality of art is shown in the contrast between the innovative and the dialectically illustrative; despite leaning toward the latter, "Serpents of the Light" pulls itself out by its teeth, delivering a rigorous work of compelling intensity wrought from simplistic assemblies of notes and arranged in precision detail in a network of rhythms.
Review: For a live album, this is a reasonable effort. Deicide showcases their rigorous technicality through songs spanning four albums with heavy emphasis on the most recent two, a failing perhaps to consider the importance of the more fundamental "Deicide" and its followup, the majestic and theatrical "Legion." All songs are showcased in the newer digital neo-Swedish distortion unveiled on the last album with excellent instrumental precision, to the point of being identical to the work on the albums except for instances where the live material is more accurate to technicality than the original.
1. When Satan Rules His World
2. Blame It On God
3. Bastard of Christ
4. Children Of The Underworld
5. Serpents of the Light
6. Dead But Dreaming
7. Slave To The Cross
8. Lunatic Of God's Creation
9. Oblivious To Evil
10. Once Upon The Cross
11. Believe The Lie
12. Trick Or Betrayed
13. Behind The Light Thou Shalt Rise
15. Father Baker's
16. Dead By Dawn
17. Sacrificial Suicide
Glen Benton's normally-deep voice ranges on this recording between a chanting shout, a deep growl and a shrieking black-metal-esque howl cast in the burlesque rather than strictly confrontational nature of his other vocals. The most phenomenal performer in the band, the versatile and prolific Steve Asheim, is heard somewhat in the background playing with exuberance and a form of prescient tightness. His rhythmic exactitude urges on the power riffing and cadenced vocal polemic of the band around him, providing a firm basis to one of the most demandingly scripted and yet energetic releases to come from a metal band live.