Review Summary: Continuing the band's bible-bashing hobbies and ridiculing the 'Victims of God', Deicide do nothing at all to change their sound with 'Serpents of the Light', and as a result, widen the divide between devoted fans and critics of the band.
Glen Benton said of Deicide's fourth album 'Serpents of the Light' that he “wrote the title track about a friend of mine that died”. Well, not to sound cold here Mr.Benton, but plenty of musicans have done exactly the same. Besides, coming from a musician that is well known for constantly branding an inverted cross into his forehead and having falsely predicted his suicide at the age of 33 (which has been a lie for twelve years now), fans of Deicide probably don't even care what any of their songs are about. Apart from the fact that given the choice, Satan himself (if he even exists) would certainly choose any Deicide album to take to a desert island and listen to until his ears would pop, Deicide songs very rarely ever changed, particularly in regards to the band's first four albums.
'Serpents of the Light' is apparently based on flaws in modern Christian culture, yet it's lyrical content begs to differ. Literally every song refers to those who have been taken in by any form of Christianity, and ultimately made a U-turn in their lives to seek some form of false hope or perfection. On the insane 'Bastards of Christ' Benton growls that “He ***ed himself to save you” and on the equally as blasphemous 'Creatures of Habit' he ridicules every Christian alive by asking them “What in the world do you wish to achieve?”. These are but two examples of a whole range of blasphemous lyrics and unholy themes, but the point still stands that instead of taking the unholy p*** out of God himself, Benton has decided to laugh at the 'victims'. Of course, no Deicide song would be complete without a joke worthy “BASTARDS OF CHRIST!!!!DIEEEE!!!” or very simple words in the form of “BLAME IT ON GOD!!!!LIAR!!!!”, and whilst this is to be expected, one can't help but wonder if the band had by now, in a Nu-Metal ridden year such as 1997, lost all hope and originality.
Not to worry though, for those who concerned about the true stature of 'Serpents of the Light', because the guitar work still rips through all things Christian, the drums keep battering the holy souls of unwilling listeners, and the excellent lead solos from by Eric and Brian Hoffman are so face melting you'd probably feel as if you were in Hell yourself. The first three songs, as on any other Deicide album, are perhaps three of the catchiest Death Metal songs ever. The stunning title track, with its malicious sounding guitar leads and rumbling bass lines, opens up the album in particularly exemplary fashion. The nature of the song isn't all that important, because, as said before, no-one ever really seems to bother with the lyrical content. This excellent standard is continued on the blasphemous 'Blame it on God' and it's interesting yet similar successor 'Blame it on God', as lead solos weave their way and disrupt the flow at every passing chance. In fact, and this isn't to say that Glen Benton and Steve Asheim are to be ignored by the way, the lead solos from the Hoffman brothers seem to be the only things that stand out. It's also interesting to note that the solos don't necessarily appear in the same place on every song. On the monotonous yet brilliantly introduced 'Slave to the Cross' Eric leads in with one of his spiralling guitar solos, and if it wasn't for the boring, formulaic, stereotypical classic DM style that the remainder of the song takes up, it would prove to be even better.
Depending on what your opinion of Deicide is, that will either be a major problem or a great advantage. No song bar the exemplary title track actually stands out or sticks to the listener's mind as a memorable tune, and even if this is to be expected, it certainly doesn't do any favours for a band as repetitive as Deicide. It all starts from simplistic, uninspired nature of 'This is Hell we're in', and although the title may satiate one's thirst for unholy Death Metal, musically it doesn't go anywhere at all. Now, on an album as short as 'Serpents of the Light'(which ironically,at just over thirty minutes' running time, is one of the longest Deicide albums of the 90's) people would expect there to be absolutely no filler material included. This is a common misconception when listening to Deicide's albums. On 'Serpents of the Light', the structure of each song is virtually indistinguishable from one another, and it proves to be quite a weakpoint for a band that have always defied the critics and perpetuated the controversy of their music.
That said, 'Serpents of the Light' still serves as quite a good album for its genre, and more so perhaps, for its place in the 90's, as few Death metal bands had managed to resonate with their fans as well as Deicide did. Its plainly obvious that if you don't like Deicide at all, then this album isn't for you. If you loved the band's first three albums, why are you even reading this review? 'Serpents of the Light' should already be in your collection.