For the first time on vinyl, the fourth full-length album by legendary American Death Metal band.
Caught exactly between the classic Deicide period of the early nineties, and the period at the start of the 00s that most fans are content to pretend doesn't exist, "Serpents Of The Light" leans far closer to the earlier than later period. The band certainly sound ferocious - the speed and bile is obvious from the first blastbeat of the opening title track, and there's something interestingly Blackened in nature to those tinny guitar riffs, helped out by an enjoyably raw yet crunchy and powerful production. Benton sounds like he's been possessed by a devil, as ever, the man about as vicious and hateful towards the poor, pure Christ child as it's possible to be. The instrument that suffers the most is actually Steve Asheim's drums, more than even the bass, reduced to a backing clatter and hard to hear when Glen and the guitarists are really going for it.
If you enjoy Deicide's base, basic Death Metal sound, then "Serpents Of The Light" is definitely a worthy purchase. In terms of song length, there are no surprises; the album is made up of plenty of short, powerful punches, nothing far over three minutes, yet the songwriting is simply excellent for this band. Every song has its own little hook or other individuality that makes it stand out - it's certainly one of the catchier Deicide albums, moments like the intro melody to the intense fury of "Blame It On God" and that repeated chorus are highly memorable, and make it much more fun than the yawn-inducing sameyness that some Deicide albums can be. "This Is Hell We're In", Benton roars on that track, yet it's a hell that Death Metal fans are sure to love!
It's interesting how far the much-abused Hoffman brothers have come along since Deicide's self-titled album, the solos ripping and intense and the riffing powerful and near-flawless. There's practically no filler at all on this album - "I Am No One" slowing things down ever-so-slightly, that killer technical riffing ahead of its time, or the multi-tracked screams of "Slave To The Cross", the effect as demonic as ever. Speaking of demonic, the lyrics are, as ever, either hilariously over the top or tiresome and dull depending on your viewpoint.
Of course, it is still inferior to the classic Deicide album, and were this not just over half an hour long it would become rather boring, but you simply can't be a fan of Death Metal without having a couple of Deicide albums in your collection. As popular as the debut and the guitar heroics of comeback extreme The Stench Of Redemption are, people forget that Deicide are generally a pretty solid band, a vital part of the USDM set-up, and Serpents Of The Light is one of their better albums, with the best cover art the band ever managed. There's nothing Proggy or Experimental, nothing that hasn't been done before - just good old Satanic Death Metal, hateful and full of bile, and sometimes that's all you need!!
180 gram black vinyl. Includes printed inner sleeve and poster.
Roadrunner Records/Cargo Records GmbH Germany, 1997/2007 (RRCAR 8811-1). Made in Germany. First press.
1. Serpents Of The Light 3:03
2. Bastard Of Christ 2:49
3. Blame It On God 2:45
4. This Is Hell We're In 2:51
5. I Am No One 3:38
6. Slave To The Cross 3:15
7. Creatures Of Habit 3:07
8. Believe The Lie 2:51
9. The Truth Above 2:46
10. Father Baker's 3:36
Total playing time: 30:41 min.