The Wave of Death
Deicide at The Wave in Staten Island, April 14, 1996
with Fallen Christ, Incantation and Immolation

by: Vishwanand Singh
On Sunday night, April 14th, Deicide invaded The Wave in Staten Island, NY. The club was filled to overflowing, the air was gray with smoke, and the crowd lay in wait like hungry wolves for a feast of brutality and death.

A huge screen dominated the area above the stage while the bands readied (forever) to play. The crowd was held in thrall to bloody images from Traces of Death (a must-get, for the music alone) and ear-quaking clips from Much Music's Power 30. From the start, everyone knew this was going to be a night to remember. People travelled from as far away as Westchester and New Jersey to witness Deicide in action. They were not disappointed.

The doors to The Wave opened at 6 o'clock, but the show didn't start until after eight. The first band up was Fallen Christ, who played a decent show but were mistaken for Rotting Christ by many in the crowd until midway into their act. Their set was pretty tight, their playing (esp. drummer) was fast, and the crowd largely hated them. "Get off the stage! You suck!" and other niceties were flung at the band to let them know how much they were loved. Heedless, they played on, much to the chagrin of half of the crowd. The rest actually got into their music and even began moshing (especially at the foot of the stage).

The next act was Incantation. Garbled vocals accompanied what was otherwise a great set. The frontman (who looked like a biker) mostly stood still with one of his legs propped up comfortably on a bar and blew into the microphone for a while before Incantation was dispelled (and none too soon). The BAND was excellent, the vocalist seemed more interested in his drink than in putting on a good show. He actually looked SLEEPY during some of his songs. Nonetheless, some in the crowd were able to get past the horrible vocals and bang away. They should seriously consider getting a REAL vocalist. Preferably someone more AWAKE during shows... who can SING.

Immolation was the third act, and directly preceded Deicide. They came close to killing the headlining act with their intense display of brutality. Until them, NO ONE at the show was truly heavy and worth bleeding for. Indisputably the best band of the show aside from Deicide itself, they blasted the somewhat sedated crowd out of their Incantation-inflicted swoon and into a frenzy of madness. If not for security, blood would have slicked the floor then and there. As it was, only one person (a green-haired punker) was smashed. He'll need stitches for sure. The Staten Island crowd is pretty tame.

Immolation left the crowd in the perfect state for Deicide to take over, but of course, Deicide took their own sweet time getting around to it. Most of the bands took about 10-15 minutes to set up before playing. Not Deicide. Steve Asheim's drums alone took about 15-20 minutes to ready. Eric and Brian Hoffman were tuning their guitars for roughly the same time (namely, forever) and then went on to adjust their amps. Finally, Glen Benton himself came onstage (he'd wandered the crowd before. Nice trench, too.) to the adoring crowd's cheers. He set up his bass in about five minutes and immediately opened into "Suicide Sacrifice". The effect on the crowd was amazing. People began to shake. The deathheads and metalheads banged away like Glen had brought on Armageddon. The rest of the crowd could FEEL the energy and KNEW there was something powerful happening. They reacted maniacally, slam dancing, screaming, moving any and all movable body parts. Deicide had the crowd in its unholy grip and did not seem to want to let it loose.

After "Suicide Sacrifice" the band fell into "When Satan Rules His World" off of _Once Upon The Cross_ and then roared into the title-track off of that album. The crowd was enthralled by "Once Upon the Cross". People were screaming it along with Glen. They did some older songs off of _Legion_ and before, and then did more from the last album. The crowd was mostly unhinged by newer material like "Trick Or Betrayed", "They Are the Children of the Underworld", and "Kill the Christian". The people from Fallen Christ and their girlfriends seemed a bit taken aback at the show of insanity that Deicide somehow conjured.

Throughout the show, people did their best to liven things up a bit. One person managed to work the glories of pretzels into every band's act by shouting out praises to pretzels at every available opportunity. A HUGE man who looked to be in his 40's terrorized the hapless denizens of the pit until he got tired and went to the bar to rest in the sidelines. The members of Thanatopsis thought they found members of Suffocation roaming the crowd, and one of their friends at the bar almost joined a drunk man in stripping off his clothes and stagediving. The majority of the crowd vanished at around 1:30am.

Although the show was very good, I have my own gripes with it. Glen Benton decided sometime that there were too many bands at the show, so he axed half of them. Mortician, Deathrune, and Candiria did not get to play. I talked to a member of Deathrune about it and he said he expected it. "Glen's a stuck-up bastard," was his reasoning, and I believe him. Glen also did not show much interest with the crowd. Deicide went up, played, and left, one-two-three. They didn't interact at all with anyone. They didn't play anything from the new album [ed: 5 new songs in a 1-hour set is a lot! - AMG] or announce a single song. Someone let slip that at the last show, Glen was caught complaining that he had to play "for a whole hour!" It looks like shows are more of a chore to Deicide than anything else.

Finally, the church came to the show and went around outside handing out flyers which detailed (somewhat erroneously) the history of death metal from someone who was once "a part of the scene." Our music is evil and they know it. They want to SAVE us from forces we do not understand! Heh. Repent. I picked up an extra flyer for my girlfriend. She's the antichrist.

Regardless of my nitpickings, the Deicide show was amazing. It was NY/NJ's only area appearance of what many have dubbed "the Green Day of death metal." That may or may not be a compliment. As an aside, Glen seems to have gained about 20 pounds of table-muscle. He is definitely much rounder than he was when they shot the picture on the back of _Once Upon The Cross_.

(article submitted 10/5/1996)

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