Deicide, live in London

Death metal made manifest in the heart of London

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Given the number of metal shows in London during the last month or so, the fact that this is a cold Monday night and there is only being one other band playing – not to mention some people’s limited faith in frontman Glen Benton actually showing up – means you might have expected this to be a fairly quiet showing.

That, however, would be to ignore Deicide’s enduring popularity; not the most consistent of death metal’s old guard, the band still command both a respect and an unusual air of celebrity (as underlined by the starstruck crowd surrounding the band’s bus) that is almost unparalleled.

And so the gig is rammed, with SVART CROWN [7] playing to a bigger crowd than most headliners get these days. With an aggressive enough assault to satisfy the death metal contingent, the French outfit’s muscular assault also brings a touch of black to the night, offering more earnest and epic riffing alongside their choppier, more precise assaults. By the time DEICIDE [9] take the stage the crowd is already beyond excited – and well they might be. While even the most ardent fan would have to admit that the band are not quite as vital a force on record as they were in their heyday, when they hit their stride they are still as exhilarating as ever. And this is arguably a much stronger show than many we’ve seen from the band in recent times. Benton seems to have mellowed out as a human being, but when he’s in full flow during Lunatic Of God’s Creation he comes across as just as possessed as he ever was. And while it helps that the sound is both powerful and relatively clear, there’s also the tightness and chemistry one would expect from such a well-honed unit – after all, it’s been a decade since the lineup shift that saw axeman Jack Owen join the group in place of the Hoffman brothers.