The Scott Burns Project III – Deicide: Deicide, Legion, Once Upon The Cross & Serpents Of The Light

D4I thought I’d do a little Deicide, mainly because Deicide comes up on my shuffle and annoys the hell out of me a LOT. Why have you got music that annoys the hell out of you (a LOT) on your iPod, Paul, you fucking jerk? You big big jerk? Why? TELL US! Well, it’s like this, see. Like a lot of people my age, I was 16 once.

That’s it. I liked Deicide for a while. I don’t think I do any more. Anyway, I’ve decided to do the whole Deicide run in the one go, so I can clear out the clutter once and for all. I know of a few tracks I might keep, but I don’t think there’ll be many.

First album, Deicide (which is one of those select few albums by a band that is called the band and also has a song called the band), kicks off with what sounds like a prison gate opening/ closing. The track boasts a lot of weird blasting that’s just like semi-speedy alternating on the hats and snare that’s miles away from what Steve would do on later albums. There’s also a prevalence of Glen Benton’s distinct double-tracked vocals, and also a lot of that triple-pitching thing they do for Deadites in the Evil Dead movies, which’ll become more pertinent later. Now, unlike this site’s most esteemed host, I like blasting. I like refined blasting, but I also like messy, try-hard blasting like on early Napalm Death records. The blasting on Deicide, though, is my least favourite type of blasting – “why not” blasting. Also see many of Cannibal Corpse’s slower songs for unnecessary instances of this happening. Not enough variety = Get blasting! Ruins things.

The second track, though, has a cool buildup and a great double bass drum pattern that switches naturally into this really cool groove, before some more WNB (Why Not Blasting). The song then switches between the two while my brain switches between the On and Off positions, presumably Off because this musical is intellectually malnourishing and On to, you know, make sure my body keeps running and that sort of thing. It’s a crap song, overall, with a good part, so let’s talk about the production. The bass may as well not be there, but the guitars are good and clear and you can hear everything. The drums are tinnier than I’d like, but that’s probably Deicide’s fault for some reason and not Mighty Scott’s. Besides, later Burns/’Cide albums sound noticeably better.

Ah, “Oblivious To Evil”, and a quote from Evil Dead. This one has an archetypal US DM riff and a slow beat and I love the shit out of it. But, it’s doomed for slappy shitty shit shit blasting in a minute. Who has the PATIENCE for Deicide? Jesus, the way these weird slow blasts are played with the hat closed robs the flow out of them and make it sound SO amateur. It’s awful. Listen to the blasting on Terrorizer’s World Downfall. That hat sound, I swear, that MAKES the album. This is just crap. Fucking CRAPOLA.

At least the songs are short.

Then “Dead By Dawn” happens and it’s like “Ah, THIS is where they were heading with all that”. It’s an Evil Dead concept song. Pretty cool, though it’s place on an album of satanic death metal seems unjustified. And again, I’m sorry, but what sounded life-affirming at 16 just sounds like fucking tarmac to me now. There’s something anthemic in that final “Dawn…Dead by Dawn”, but it takes a lot of work to get there. The best thing on this ALBUM is the little call and response “we are” sections that actually sound like the meandering tosspot zomboids from what is unquestionably my favourite movie (this week), Evil Dead 2.

Seeing as “Blaspherion” is like the self-aware album’s equivalent of realising what I’ve said about it and proto-teenager rebelling against me by just doing more of the same louder and for longer, let’s discuss that album cover. Who settled on that? It’s nothing. It’s not a thing at all. Here is a gold, fucking, bit of circle and some red eyes. Buy me!

“Blaspherion” kinda sounds like that song, you know the one, the first track you write as a band that you feel deserves a place on the debut album out of nostalgia or some sense of honour, but really it’s far below your current playing level. Yes, we’ve ALL released studio albums and can benefit from this analogy, fuck yoUUUUUUUU.

Up next, Deicide with “Deicide” from the album Deicide, from the year 1991. Inconsiderate fucks. They could at least have released it in the year Deicide. It sounds like it might have something going for it with the weird timing of the opening cymbal catches, but the band’s attitude to song structure and playing style soon collude to rob any potential it might have of appealing to me.  I’d like to compensate for not being able to talk about the songs by talking about how I got into Deicide but I can’t for the life of me recall. It must have been a teen assimilation thing. I can remember familiarising with The Stench Of Redemption during summer factory work, and Till Death Do Us Part in the halls of Coleraine University. And that’s it. Hmm.

So then there’s loads more of the same, with no variation or notable increase in quality, for about ten minutes.

Then the last song happens and I pay literally no attention beyond the opening riff (which is one of my favourite ‘types’ of riff) because I just CAN’T.

So fuck that fucking album, anyway. Every track, gone. Let’s move right ahead. I’m sure there’s positivity to come, still.

AH! This is the one with the Scorsese sample to open. From that Jesus film. With Armor-King-Stage-In-Tekken-and-Tekken-2 spooky wind and distorted sheep chatting. No, I’m wrong. It isn’t. Yeah, it has that, but that’s next-album stuff. Wow. The production on this is really weird. The bass is CRAZY loud, but not that defined.  It mixes with the guitar so well, though. And Glen sounds a lot deeper. They’re trying hard at playing more complicated material and it’s doing wonders for my enjoyment levels. The song has no real respect for the traditional verse-chorus-bridges-etc. structure, and Steve’s drumming is really interesting. This is hard as shit to air drum along to. But, because Im Am Coole, I do anyway (emoticon of sunglasses smiley face).

Interestingly, this album is shorter than their already noticeably brief debut by some three minutes. It’s less than half an hour, actually. Interesting. I respect that with Deicide, there’s a no-filler attitude. Despite, you know, that entire first disc of filler. The one that came out in nineteen ninety-DEICIDE on ROADDEICIDE RECORDS.

SO yeah, “Satan-Spawn The Caco-Demon”. I liked that alright. The next track, “Dead But Dreaming” has similarly complex drumming and riffing, but sadly confirms this album as another one trick-pony. Sure, this pony’s trick is like, well, it’s all “Holy FUCK pony, that is aMAZing”, but it’s still “jesus, EVERY night? Come off it ya brown bastard”.

This album’s cover looks to me like just another circular thing on some black with some red at first, but on closer inspection it’s either a kinda 3D pentagram seen from a silly angle or a shot of Power Rangers Villain Lord Zedd…from a silly angle. Either way it’s a dung sandwich.

The song ends like it forgot how to keep being.

In fact, so much like it forgot how to keep being that the next track just sounds like a breakdown thereof. It’s no good either though. God, Deicide are kinda awful. It’s the sorta deal where one track in isolation is pretty impressive but a big bunch of them is like, I dunno, like TEN Sausage McMuffins. Sure who’d want that? Not even the fattest fatty of all (Courtney Turnbuckle of Seamus Creek, Salisbury, New New New York York).

The next track (or maybe it’s later on, I can track this like I can track minutes spent sleeping) has some God-bashing and I think it seems a little unfair. Look at it this way, right, if God wasn’t about, Decide would have literally NO hook to sell albums on other than their “this is mediocre but it has Satanism for bonus lulz so buy, kids” shtick.

God, these songs are like bullies. Leave me ALONE!

I’m having a shit time here. Roll on that third album, whatever it’s called. The Jesus cover one.

You know they used Deicide music to torture prisoners? The yanks, I mean. I swear, I can’t think logically at the minute. Shit works.

So yes, Scott Burns. This album has a lot more personality in the mix. I know there’s a few other Burns albums that sound like this, I just can’t remember which because DEICIDE. Now, there’s REALLLLY cool section in the middle of “In Hell I Burn”, and I’ll consider keeping it just for that. Sorry, where was I? Yes, so it sounds interesting, but so far Burns hasn’t nailed anything on the wall for Deicide that’ll stick in my craw. Maybe it’s because of the way the instruments are played, but for sure the guitar tone isn’t as BEST EVER like it is on other Burns albums. Frankly, I’m on two albums in a row here I couldn’t wait to finish.

Also uncool is the last track, just on naming aesthetics alone. “Revocate The Agitator”. Oh fuck OFF, Deicide. You know what ‘revocate’ has underneath it in Microsoft Word, Deicide? A FUCKING JAGGED RED LINE. We all know what that means. We all know exactly what that means, you torturous fuck sandwich of a band.

So onto Once Upon The Cross, (yah, it’s called Once Upon The Cross, I just couldn’t remember, ‘member, because Deicide). I KNOW I like a few tracks on this one. Right? Read on, gentle spuck…

Oh shit, this sounds AWESOME. The good bass/guitar thing from the previous album, a nice sonic pierce (yeah, I don’t know how to describe music…) to the hi-hats, nice ringy ride cymbal, punch in the bass drum, Glen finding his perfect mid range. Good arrangement. “Once Upon The Cross” has such great dynamics (the song, that is). Can this keep up for another half hour (wait…yeah, less, this is ANOTHER minute shorter. It’s like a self-imposed challenge. That said, though, if a band can get better with increasingly short albums, they are striving for a totality of efficiency I can really get behind). So this song is totally awesome. Even the barely-audible solo is cool.

Oh, and I fucking love “Christ Denied” as well, with it’s lovely chuggy intro it’s really hard to get used to. It’s not super technical but the timing is really knotty nonetheless. They’ve really learned something between the first two albums and this, though. When it gets to the CHRIST DENIIIIIIIIIIIIIIED that closes the chorus it really has weight, like it means something (Christ was all “can a brother get a bagel?”, and we were just straight up “bagel THIS God boy” – two middle fingers, Christ DENIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIED”). I also love the last little stretch, that sprint to the finish line. Cool song.

“When Satan Rules This World” is like a quasi-redo, fuck, no, A DO-OVER (!) for “Oblivious To Evil”, with the same type of riff and drum beat (think “Rape Me” to “Smells Like Teen Spirit”) but the drums sound so cool with the ride bell. Also, Steve knows what he’s doing, so well. It took them a while, but Deicide sound like a professional band on this one. Very impressive. Well done lads! The post-chorus is total death metal heaven – nasty riff, weird timing, killer production. And not one of these tracks, so far, has had any Why Not Blasting, filler flapping, or outlasted its welcome in general. Deicide found their formula, here, and well done for it.

“Kill The Christian” is aesthetically like a bridge between this and the first album, but because the first three tracks were so good I’ll let them off with it…THIS time.

“Trick Or Betrayed” has that awesome “Are you the Messiah?” “Norr – werr are Not” sample before some excellent SURPRISE MUSIC – there’s a lead section that sounds like Deicide’s Egyptian cousin (Egyptian Deicide, oh my god man, they’re awe-sommmme). Super cool. Burns deserves a lot of praise here but the real heroes are Deicide. Yes. Talk about puling your thumb out.

(Of your fuckin’ ASSHOLE).

“They Are The Children of The Underworld” has so much going for it. A few really great riffs (that are either more or way less complicated than they sound) and a really cheesy little hi-hat swishy thing. I am glee incarnate with this track. It’s great. Altogether. I think one of the lines Glen barks is “THEY HAVE NO NECK”. I love that, even if I’m wrong. Also, the way the Slayer beat is broken up with those little china trash smashes. It’s a great, great song. Did I mention I dig its balls hard yo? Here is it:

“Behind The Light Thou Shall Rise” sounds like it should be the big single. It’s got that “this is the one” feel that a lot of big metal tracks have. It’s not even in the album’s top five tracks, no way, but it has…star quality? Mmm.


“To Be Dead” (the FANTASTICALLY titled “To Be Dead”!) has such a menacing quality to it but it’s a little superfluous. I could maybe do without it. It’s total mid-90s maxi-single fodder.

SHUT UP PAUL. Its solo sounds like a drunk ghost falling down a spiral staircase. He’s already dead, so it doesn’t hurt, so all his friends are cheering. Yay ghost!

“Confessional Rape” (and seeing as I can do without song titles with rape in ‘em, let alone subject matters, I’ve rechristened this one “Confessional Rap”, and imaged it’s a portrait of one Father Maxi Allcool and his attempts to get ghetto youths off the streets with inspirational thematic rapping at mass, and how Deicide bust in and kick his ASS!)

It’s not a great closer, but overall it’s a solid 7/10 album. Pleasantly re-surprised. Now…Serpents Of The Light, and the last stand of Burns and the ‘Cide.

Shit! I remember now! I had a copy of an old Roadrunner compilation called Attitude (or it was Download 1, the same Download which ended becoming the same-named festival) and it had “Serpents…” on it, and I loved it, and hence Deicide interest. Velly intelesting. So yes, first thing apparent on this album should be that there is NO bass and the guitar sounds like bonus demo tracks for the whole record. Also, a lot of the tracks seem to follow a strict structure, like they’re alternative versions of each other. As I remember it. Let’s see if that holds up.

Also, “Serpents Of The Light” is perfectly refined mid-‘90s metal. Death metal it may be, but this is a ‘90s anthem, ask me.

“Bastard of Christ” has a cool opening and some really straightforward ridey blasting, and it hits me I recall this as a considerably less complicated Deicide album. I bet they got labelled sellouts over it. Personally, I’d label them idiots just for including the line “hang the bitch on the cross”. I hate any use of the word ‘bitch’, for the record, with the sole exception of the brief Will Ferrell Bitch Hunter sketches fro 30 Rock. It just makes me fucking squirm. It also sounds like he says “holy shit! Pacifist!” at one stage, would more than make up for it.

Yeah, no doubt though, these songs definitely sound like different riffs laid over the same structure. Three tracks in and twice I’ve thought “oh, there’s the same track again”. Count ‘em. Makes sense. I am smart.

“This is Hell We’re In”. More of the same. Bland. “I Am No One”. Ugh. This is going RIGHT in the bin. “Slave To The Cross” tries to throw a little newness in the mix with a weird spiralling guitar thing and slowness but it’s still super fastness. It’s crap though. This is so incredibly phoned in.

Seeing as every track between here and “Father Baker’s” is awful, let’s chat about…no, well, OK, do me a favour. Just look at that album cover. Look at it. Digest it. Drink it in. If you don’t mind, analyse it. SEE it. Everything you see, someone THOUGHT about that. Made a decision. WITH WHAT LOGIC? No logic. Very silly. Here it is, but massive.

Click and it gets bigger STILL

Click and it gets bigger STILL

So that’s me done with Deicide. Four albums down, and two hours later I feel very angry and exhausted and corrupted and… just off. Still, at least I salvaged a few tracks. Who’ll be next? Who knows?!


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