Better Late Than Never
Deceased with Black Army Jacket and DeathKids
at CBGB's in New York City, July 23, 1997

by: Drew Snow
Driving up to New York City with my friend Marc, we both knew the bad news: Hypocrisy, the headlining band, was not playing tonight. For whatever reason, the Swedes were still in Florida with labelmates Brutality, so they wouldn't be showing up for their date with the CBGB crowd. We also knew that Deceased, the other big draw for the night, had not left their hometown in Virginia until 4 PM that afternoon, and would be lucky to even play at all. With this in mind, when Marc and I got to the venue, we checked the playlist to see who the promoters thought would show up, and lo and behold, Deceased were listed in the 10:15 slot. No way. The trip from Virginia to New York City is a long one, and the band weren't to arrive until quarter after midnight. But more on that later. In the meantime, the sparse crowd at CBGB's was "treated" to pre-pubescent novelty act, DeathKids. For those not in the know, allow me to fill you in. DeathKids is a trio, with DeathKid1 on drums, DeathKid2 on vocals, and DeathFather (yes, their father) on bass. What the hell? Needless to say, DeathKids need a DeathMusicLesson, because the talent they possess on their instruments is so little as to be pathetic. Even their dad can hardly play bass without missing notes. If the band had shown some originality, a lack of skill at their age could be forgiven, but forget it; the band is so derivative of virtually all American death metal bands, it is not even funny, and their musical feebleness is only downplayed by the fact that the kid vocalist can actually do a decent death vocal. But, really, who -can't- scream their guts out for a 20-minute set? OK, sure they can't play their instruments worth a damned, and maybe they have no creativity whatsoever, but they at least jumped around on stage a bit, right? Forget it. Standing like statues, DeathKids and DeathDad played through their set hardly moving an inch and showing no stage presence at all. But who can blame them? I mean, when you're an eleven-year old singing at a metal show full of older people, some of whom are probably drunk, what are you going to say, "Don't beat me up?" Next up was Black Army Jacket, a rather lame hardcore band whose only claim to fame is that they have Dave Witte, ex-drummer of Human Remains, and a spectacular skinsman. Other than that, BAJ are nothing special. Never into hardcore, anyway, I took little interest in their set, except to note that it was weird that a band whose music style I wasn't into at all still thrashed all over DeathKids. Then the wait began. Black Army Jacket finished their set at around ten o'clock, and as mentioned, the promoters had Deceased scheduled for a 10:15 appearance, and there waking at the photos either, since now they've rid themselves of that cumbersome corpsepaint and have an affinity for showing the single-finger peace sign. Mind you, this isn't the "I will rape your dog and desecrate your soul" middle finger we saw on the MCD, it's more of a "Heavy Metal rules and we're pretty mean!" salute this time around. The music, obviously, shows this change of attitude as well. Songs like "Past Redemption", "Crush to Dust", and the title track prove that the band has a great talent for writing malicious cuts of blackened thrash that never pause for an acoustic interlude or female vocals (though one or two of the cool explosions from the MCD would've been kind of nice), and certainly show that the band took much inspiration from 80s elders such as Slayer, Sodom, and Kreator. All of this thrash riffing and song structure is nice, but the songs tend to get a bit samey after awhile, and for the most part all follow the same formula. This caveat can be overlooked, however, because what the songs lack in diversity they make up for in sheer attitude and conviction, in addition to the fact that the formula is -good-. If modern 90s thrash if what you're after, look no further.

(article submitted 12/8/1997)


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