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Once Upon The Cross

Deicide - Once Upon The Cross ©1995 Roadrunner
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

Watch out! Deicide's back! Heavier - though not necessarily more interesting - than before, this is Deicide's third release and they haven't mellowed one bit. Steve Asheim continues the pounding and the Hoffman brothers are tight as crap on the tremolo riffs and wailing solos. This time, though, it's considerably less technical than their previous outings and the sound has a fuller, catchier side that was absent on the purely rhythmic and speedy Legion or the eponymous debut, making it the easiest of their albums to listen to. This is the ideal production for a band like Deicide: clear, crushing and bass heavy - but not heavy enough to ruin your speakers. Songwriting is generic to the fullest, but well done so nothing to complain about. Riffs are mainly Slayer's Reign in Blood era like songs put into a death metal framework; it's not entirely as straightforward as the straight out thrash-riffs prevalent in RiB nor is it intricate enough to be called "technical death metal". The title track has some great riffs and vocals, "When Satan Rules His World" is one of Deicide's best tracks, and "Kill The Christian" has a passing resemblance to Legion-era Deicide.

Glen Benton has been ridiculed by the underground metal community for being a goofball and writing bland death metal, but I really think Decide are pretty good at what they do. Sure the anti-christianity presentation is at time ludicrously overblown, with pictures of an eviscerated and bleeding christ inside and every song containing allusions to atrocities of christianity as well as a rather poorly developed idea of satanism. However, this guy is an excellent vocalist and a decent bassist and has to be respected for that. Never mind the hilarious from Benton: "I'm going to burst with hate and kill someone" or "I predict my own death" press statements: this is a band that has spawned more clones than any other death metal band, and has undoubtedly influnced the scene not just musically but also (mostly) lyrically and conceptually. Not as good as Legion, this album, but decent nevertheless.

Review by Rahul Joshi

Review date: 04/1999

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Serpents Of The Light

Deicide - Serpents Of The Light ©1997 Roadrunner
1. Serpents Of The Light
2. Bastards 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. Creatures Of Habit
8. Believe The Lie
9. The Truth Above

Deicide are without a doubt one of death metals biggest bands, and this is unfortunately my only real acquaintance with them. I suppose I should give them another chance, but this album gave me such a sour taste. This is nothing short of a lesson in uninspired songwriting. Sure, a lot of people think Deicide are nifty with Benton's crazy "Jesus is rather unkeen" antics. But is that a reason to pick up this album? No, I can't say it is. There are lots of other bible-bashing bands out there who are a lot more talented, if you're interested in tapping into that whole scene. But, I digress. Let's just stick with the important issue here: namely the music.

First off, Deicide are without a doubt an angry bunch of individuals, playing fairly speedy deathmetal with no relent. There are no majestic synths, female vocals, or slow sections in this album. In a way it can be likened with Slayer's Reign in Blood, except it isn't that good. The main downfall of this album is the songwriting. Sure, a neat riff pops up here and there, but all of the songs are constructed in almost the same exact way. They pretty much stick with the tried-and-true pop ABCABB formula the whole way through (C being a guitarsolo.) Now, this can be effective for good songwriters who know how to build momentum. But with a riff-oriented band like this, it just gets tedious. The choruses are quite often just repeating the song title over and over as well, such as the following from "Blame it on God":

"Blame it on God. Blame it on God. Blame it on God. LIAR!"

Oh boy. I feel spiritually fulfilled when I hear such poetry.

"This is hell we're in," Benton exclaims in the song of the same title. My sentiments exactly. This album is hell to get through. Luckily it's barely thirty minutes long.

As with most metal-related albums, there's a solo or two in all the songs, and they're equally uninspired, dull plodding. They don't seem to actually give anything to the song; they're merely "okay, I have to do a solo now. Uhm, uhh, yeah, I'll hit these strings then." Now, I don't necessarily need a melody-filled solo as that would certainly be out of place. But they could've at least tried to come up with something that projects the angriness the band are trying to summon.

Basically, if you listen to only two songs on the CD, you've probably heard all you'll need of it. A couple of riffs of varying quality, some badly-written "Jesus sucks!" lyrics, and some one-tempo-fits-all drumming. Probably great if you want some mindless "moshing," but not a good idea if you want to sit down and have an active listening-session. The production is fairly thin and lacks any sort of power, which certainly withdraws from the album's punch. I will say that Benton's vocals are pretty cool, though. Particularly when he does his trademark double-tracked vocals, where he growls the lyrics in both his typical deep deathmetal growl, and in a, well, somewhat different growl. Now, these guys all play their instruments quite well, but that isn't enough to save this album. I'll just stick with my far supreme Morbid Angel Blessed are the sick and Cynic Focus CDs, and I suggest you do the same. There are a lot of more deserving Death Metal bands out there.

It should be noted that the general opinion is that Legion is Deicide's real classic, so if you do want to check them out, you might be better off starting there.

Review by Řystein H-O

Review date: 10/2000

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