Released: 1997, Roadrunner Records
Editors Note: Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of Master Of Puppets, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.
Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any website were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!
I have an odd, non-musical association with this album. It was one of the last releases I bought on cassette. Yes, I was buying cassettes as late as 1997. For the way my library/collection is designed it just makes sense. I own the first five Deicide releases on cassette and the natural break-point in their catalogue is the live album from 1998. It has a nice symmetry; the bands 10th anniversary, five releases, all with the same line-up, all on Roadrunner Records, all on cassette, it just works in my twisted little OCD brain. They look pretty lined up on my shelf too. And speaking of natural break-points, Deicide fans know what happened in 2000 with the release of INSINERATEHYMN!
As you can presume from my preamble, not much had changed in the land of Deicide since Once Upon The Cross back in 1995. The band still recorded a ten song album that runs half an hour. Things could not be more reliable, consistent or predictable at this point. I wish all bands could get their shit together and be as consistent as Deicide in terms of presentation. While several of the first Deicide album covers were a simple symbol or sort of ambiguous, SERPENTS OF THE LIGHT goes for the throat with a fork-tongued Jesus in the foreground and some odd disembodied hands, floating rather magically in the background, as a floating bible sews out cockroaches. It’s weird and it’s different for Deicide. Did I hear someone say they were predictable earlier? As always Scott Burns produces the hell out of this thing, he could do these Florida Death Metal albums in his sleep by this point.
The album is a brutal and hate-filled as ever. Benton hatred knows no bounds and it is reflected in the music, which is pure US Death Metal. Everything grinds along, pounding riffs, relentless drums, shredding guitars, if anything it is a bit faster than usual. Like most Deicide albums they strike hard and fast and get out in half an hour, leaving little or no breathing room, just wave upon wave of unforgiving Death Metal.
After SERPENTS OF THE LIGHT the band slid into a bit of a decline with a pair of lackluster albums until a new record label, line-up changes and new producer re-invigorated the band. As it stands, many people, myself included feel SERPENTS OF THE LIGHT was the last great Deicide album from the original era.