Deicide - When Satan Lives

Has to be said from the offset I’m not a fan or listener of death metal, black metal, people wearing corpse painting on their mugs and trying to offend people metal or whatever classification you wish to place this one under. It’s just one of those genres that as my listening spectrum has widened slightly over the years, it never really appealed. I guess part of the change inherent within me, was a wish to hear lyrics that didn’t seem cliched, and really to listen to stuff which didn’t readily lend itself to ridicule by others. And honestly, death metal affords that. Oh yeah, and as few guitar, bass and drum solos as possible. Yes, you should be assured enough within yourself to be able to cope with what others think, say or do to or about you and your chosen paths in life. Maybe I’m not. But whatever, it just didn’t become my kettle of pot roast. Maybe I could understand why people would laugh at it. Then it’s kind of harder to defend. So that places some context on where I’ll be coming from with this review. Just to add another log to the fire, I will add that I like Slayer a hell (sorry) of a lot, and think Reign in Blood to be a classic. Therefore, my benchmark, whether fair or not to any of the parties involved, often involves comments like “Slayer clone”, or “not as good as Slayer” or “something something Slayer”. So if you disagree with these comments, well, console yourself in the acknowledgement that I’m not really qualified to judge this. But it was sent me free to review, so I feel smug, and I also feel I should write something. If I get sent something, the least I can do is try and review it.

And the something that is presented here is almost an hour of Deicide recorded live in Chicago, ripping through 17 tracks. I guess they span the entire length of their career. And now I get the chance to throw in the first of the Slayer phrases. Woarrrrgh. Oops, sorry, that one was due later. Nope it was, “Slayer speed and precision and guitar tone in the riffs”. Which gets me off to a pretty good start, because I have to admit, I do like the guitar tone. I guess it’s partly that it takes me back to the earlier days, and is such a change to all the downtuned style that everyone and his uncle seems to use these days. Just like everyone and his auntie used this style back then. But then the vocals hit in, and maybe this was why I just never progressed into the genre. It just makes me laugh a bit. Maybe I just got older, I dunno, but though Tom Araya claimed to never “sing”, at least not melodically, I could always tell there was something there. Just couldn’t always keep up with it. With this, I can figure if anything is being said. Bit like Napalm Death came across all those years ago. And I never became a big Napalm fan, so go figure. And the “speaking voice” between tracks, well, to introduce tracks is a bit cack really. Ok, it’s funny. In the end it gets a bit monotonous, but that initially is no doubt due to me not being familiar with the music more than anything. Whether I’ll decide to become familiar with it (steady!) is another thing. Probably not is the honest answer.

Still, if it means anything to you, amongst the tracks on offer here are Blame It On God, Children Of The Underworld .... But then, if those titles meant anything to you, you’d probably have already bought this album right?

The recording, well it’s live right. You have to make you’re own verdict on live recordings. Me, I still have Maiden’s Live After Death as the benchmark for any live album. This sounds ok, but you get little sense of there being a crowd present apart from the little cheer between songs. And it doesn’t measure up to Slayer’s Decade Of Aggression live set.

Just like to say though that I’m impressed that there’s music as diametrically opposed (wow, wanted to use that phrase for a loooong time. Do I now qualify as pretentious??) as this and Sunny Day Real Estate on this page. But why not. At the end of the day it’s about music. And if you limit yourselves to one particular style only, in my opinion you’re missing out on a hell of a lot of stuff and inspiration.

But hat’s off to Deicide. They are still the band that gave one of the greatest quotes I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Years ago, when they started, I can’t guarantee that this is word perfect, but it’s close. “We don’t like flying, because it takes us too close to God”. Absolutely priceless.