Deicide – When Satan Lives

One could say that this point here was the precise moment that Deicide should have released a live album like ‘When Satan Lives’. Just one year after the seminal ‘Serpents Of The Light’ release, Deicide cranked out a fifty-five minute live release with music taken from Chicago’s House Of Blues. Composed primarily of songs from the previously mentioned ‘Serpents’, ‘Once Upon The Cross’ (where the flaws of that album are invalidated by the power of the performance here), and the ‘Deicide’ debut, the Floridian legends somehow invert in a small way the quality of the albums’ respective songs in the live setting. While ‘Once Upon The Cross’ compositions are made dramatically more powerful due to the added sonic brutality of this live LP, tracks off the more developed ‘Serpents Of The Light’ seem to fall slightly flat when the aid of that album’s black metal-influenced production is absent.

Beginning with ‘When Satan Rules His World’, Deicide stuns with a stirring new rendition of a song that was merely average on ‘Once Upon The Cross’. Glen Benton’s vocals, ordinarily more high-pitched and intelligible, are reduced to an ultra-low, nearly brutal death growl, which combined with the greater bass presence and drum intensity, make this and other tracks many times more effective than they were before. The lyrics and riffs become numerous shades darker at the hand of the band on stage, turning generic songs into masterworks of Satanic assault. This track is a gem of the 17-song release, proving how much more effective Deicide can be when the sheen of professional production is taken off, leaving only the pure, hateful shell of the band to play.

Unfortunately, such a policy doesn’t fair quite as well for the tracks of ‘Serpents Of The Light’. That album’s emphasis on higher-pitched riffing, raw production, and distinct melody are obfuscated by the bass-heavy production and low growling which renders the LP’s unusually clever lyrics unintelligible. This results in songs such as the title track which, while still effective in a sense, are not nearly as powerful as they are on record. However, the riffs are certainly still distinct (despite sounding like they are tuned a step lower) and still as effective as they were before; just not quite as sharp as before.

With only an isolated track from ‘Legion’ and a few from ‘Deicide’, the vast majority of music here is taken from the third and fourth albums. While this may displease the crowd that believes that only Deicide’s first pair of records is relevant, it still functions in good form as a live representation of the band. While not essential, this is a release worth exploring by fans of Deicide as well as those who are looking for a ‘Best Of’ with which to explore their discography.


~ by noktorn on March 20, 2007.

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