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Posted: Jan 15 2007, 05:18 PM
Member No.: 4
Joined: 28-October 05
‘How will Deicide cope with no Glen Benton, arguably the most famous death metal figurehead, and new guitarists?’ I wondered. Benton was still in America dealing with family issues, but the tour had not been cancelled, apparently the band thought that the show should go on. Replacement for both bass and vocals had been found, and the tour continued - all four UK dates of it… Even the venue, ULU, was an unusual choice for a band like Deicide, I would have expected that they’d play the Mean Fiddler, as before. Especially on the heels of The Stench Of Redemption, which has largely been received as a return to form. Deicide certainly had it all to prove, if the band could still be considered Deicide without Benton!
Psycroptic took the stage first, with an excellently balanced sound considering that they are a single guitar outfit. Their tight, technical-death-with-groove caught the slowly growing crowd, and saw plenty of headbanging. The Aussies mostly covered the newest album, with a couple of songs from their debut, although I could not discern any from Sceptors Of The Ancients, the last album to feature Chalky on vocals – admittedly I did miss the start of their set thanks to an ingeniously slow entry system. Psycroptic were an excellent support act, and they atleast re-ignited my interest.
Visceral Bleeding toured with Deicide a year ago, and I was disappointed to miss them then. This time ‘round they brought new material, although not new albums to buy. Despite having two axemen onstage, the guitars were overpowered by the drums with a very tinny snare, and as a friend succinctly surmised – it was all sounding a bit St Anger. Fortunately, the sound man got his act together and the guitars came through, eventually. The new songs easily caught the attention of the crowd, although it was evident that the Visceral lads had lost some of their technical edge to achieve this. Even so, the tunes were brutal, with a healthy amount of hell-for-leather blasting. The crowd finally burst into a large pit before the set ended, and Martin Pederson (now disappointingly without beard) looked well pleased.
The moment of truth came as Steve Asheim, Deicide sticksman, took the mic to confirm that Glen wouldn’t be on hand to parade his forehead for the evening. Garbaty Yaha of Dissenter was introduced to the fill both bass and vocal duties, once the crowd confirmed that they would indeed still like some satanic death metal to dance the night away to. From this point onwards, the only certainty I can offer about the setlist order is that ‘Once Upon The Cross’ was the opening number, everything after becomes a blur of whirling hair and flailing bodies. ‘Scars Of The Crucifux’ was the only number visited from the album of the same name, pleasingly, before newer and vastly improved material was offered to the fans. I’ve not seen Deicide before, so it is perhaps hard for me to judge, but I thought that Garbaty was doing a killer job, only slightly shaky on the newer material – but generally able to deliver near Benton style trademark death growls. As it stood, even the new songs sounded killer, Ralph and Jack bringing the full force of their skills to bear, particularly on ‘Desecration’ a personal favourite from the new album.
Early tunes were covered in the following hour an a half: ‘Kill The Chrisitans’, ‘Serpents Of The Light’, ‘They Are The Children Of The Underworld’ amongst a melee of new offerings. The band brought their set with Garbaty to a close with ‘Homage To Satan’, a true destroyer delivered with a venom that I’ve rarely seen. The Psycroptic frontman then joined the stage for a little Deicide karaoke, as well as Martin of Visceral Bleeding. Suffice to say that Deicide didn’t wuss-out on their set, they really pulled through after having their backs against the wall. For some people I’m sure that the experience didn’t match up to having Benton there to insult the crowd between the tunes, but I was sold on Deicide on the strength of the band, and how well the new album fitted with the classics. The Stench Of Redemption was over-powering.