Deicide - Serpents Of The Light
Roadrunner Records
Death Metal
10 songs (30:42)
Release year: 1997
Deicide, Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

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 - not quite as good as the first two or three, but certainly not down in the depths of awfulness with the dull Insineratehymn and In Torment In Hell. 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 (He came to heal the world, godammit, can't they give a guy a break?) 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, 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 (not to mention that great bit of soloing). Speaking of demonic, the lyrics are, as ever, either hilariously over the top or tiresome and dull depending on your viewpoint - I tend towards the former, given gems like 'you'll die for your religion - holy shit, pacifist!' on Bastard Of Christ, or the amusing self-help advice of Creatures Of Habit.

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.

Killing Songs :
Serpents Of The Light, Blame It On God, This Is Hell We're In, Slave To The Cross, Creatures Of Habit, Father Baker's
Goat quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Deicide that we have reviewed:
Deicide - Legion reviewed by Tony and quoted 94 / 100
Deicide - To Hell With God reviewed by Tony and quoted 90 / 100
Deicide - Deicide reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Deicide - Till Death Do Us Part reviewed by Dylan and quoted 62 / 100
Deicide - The Stench Of Redemption reviewed by Crims and quoted 88 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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