Deicide @ Club Vegas

Posted February 19, 2009 in
Club Vegas
With Vital Remains, Order of Ennead, Cave of Roses

Getting to go see the legendary Deicide was a surprise to me, as I didn’t find out I could get into the show until the afternoon of the day of the show. Feeling a little groggy and knowing in full that this might be my one and only chance to ever see Decide or Vital Remains in Utah, I popped some Ibuprofen had a quick dinner and geared myself for a night of five bands though one, Adrift, dropped out of the gig due to their vocalist loosing his voice.


Also on a whim’s notice was Salt Lake City’s Cave of Roses opening up the show replacing another SLC band, Devour the Sky, with only a short amount of prep time. I arrived in time to avoid having to pay for parking and much to my surprise a line outside awaited me. I’m not implying that Club Vegas doesn’t draw crowds, I had just never seen a line early on for a concert at the club. Even though I interviewed Cave of Roses for a localized feature in SLUG a few months ago, this was the first time I had seen the local veterans play. The guys put on a tight show instrumentally and held a firm and heavy stage persona. The sound for COR was actually one of the better set-ups for the night; all of the instruments elements seemed to come off well. Maybe it sounded the best since my hearing hadn’t been destroyed yet, personally I think it was a little of both.

Adrift was supposed to play next and the notice that they would not be playing came from the Order of Ennead vocalist right before they started playing. Not being entirely familiar with the band I had no real expectations, but held hopes of being wowed. They were just hopes. I’m not saying that the band didn’t perform well, but the songs I had heard on CD seemed to be more dimensional than what was coming forth live. The set featured instruments with a wall of sound sort of effect, but it mostly seemed muddled. The only thing that came out clearly was the vocals, which were a basic black metal bark. Overall, the sound I pulled from the set was a black metal vocalist with death metal playing and watching a guy play guitar solos that I could not hear regardless of where I was positioned in the club. I don’t think the band gained many new fans from their set judging by small crowd responses and the noticeable fact of many patrons actually trying to have conversations while the band played.

Rhode Island based Vital Remains has undergone line-up change after line-up change since they began purveying Satanic death metal in 1989, so I didn’t know who I was going to see in the live package. Current touring vocalist Scott Wily, who I actually recognized, was one big package of satanic fueled energy adorned with spiked gauntlets and constantly interacting with the crowd, starting crowd rants and doing the cookie monster growl to his evil heart’s content. He did introduce the other band members towards the end of the pummeling and loud set, but only member I recognized was the only constant in the Vital Remains line-up: rhythm guitarist Tony Lazaro, armed with one fancy axe complete with red LED lights glowing from inside the ornate black body. The band’s sound may not have been the tightest or cleanest but they appeased the death metal thirsty crowd inspiring an on-and-off mosh pit, which I stood at the edge and smugly chuckled to myself as mosher after mosher slipped to the super slick drink and sweat drenched Club Vegas floor.

If it were suddenly seven or eight years ago I would have been stoked out of my mind to be seeing Deicide. Inverted cross-burned in forehead frontman Glen Benton has always been a stirrer of controversy. When the band formed in the late ‘80s, they helped bring Satanic Death metal to the forefront of the underground metal scene. I only had one tune in my head I wished the guys had played which was “Once Upon the Cross,” but I was disappointed to find it missing from the set list. It was that record I purchased as a 14-year old not knowing what the band was about and just becoming a confirmed Catholic. I was a believer back then, so when I saw what the album was about, I promptly smashed it to pieces and threw it out. So I guess with my age and life experiences those Catholic ideals instilled in me are all but gone because a few years later I bought the record again along with some other Deicide classics, but Once Upon the Cross is the only album still in my regular death metal rotation.

Now that I’ve completely gone off topic about the show, I’ll get back on it. The current line-up curiously included Order of Ennead’s drummer and guitarist as well as former Cannibal Corpse vet Jack Owen. There was no question that the guys know how to play death metal and it was nice to see and hear the songs come out in the classic way. But there was just a lacking feeling of the energy that Vital Remains had brought forth. I just sat back and sipped on the last of my beverages before preparing to sober it up for the drive home and watched the show unfold. Maybe I was tired, my ears were ringing, the stuffiness of the club getting to me, because the music itself was tight and sounded like it ought to sound but by the end of the set I was happy to get on home.