"Doomsday L.A."


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RATING: 8/10

I can really get used to these compact DVD packages that make the live performance the focal point and keep the extras to a minimum. When the live performance comes courtesy of a revamped and recharged DECIDE, it is even better. If the band's excellent 2006 work, "The Stench of Redemption", did not convince you that the Hoffman brothers' replacement with Jack Owen (ex-CANNIBAL CORPSE) and Ralph Santolla (ex-DEATH/ICED EARTH) resulted in an improved DEICIDE, then for goat's sake this performance from Los Angeles' Knitting Factory surely should. And if it does not, then you'll probably forever be blinded by nostalgia.

The 18-song set covers a lot of ground, the mixing of the old and the new sequenced for maximum effect. Yes, it is great to hear classics like "Dead by Dawn", "Once Upon the Cross", and "Lunatic of God's Creation" performed with such renewed vigor and given the Owen/Santolla treatment, but every time I hear "The Stench of Redemption" material (especially "Desecration") I become a believer all over again. This unit is on fire! Drummer Steve Asheim can blast with the best of them and is arguably stronger now than he's ever been, while the Owen/Santolla tandem is incredibly powerful. The leads, the interplay, and the overall sound created by the axe men are far more impressive than I would have expected from a DEICIDE guitar duo. It is the kick in the ass that DEICIDE needed to prove the critics wrong. And Benton? He's the same old, burly and jaded Benton he's always been, although I detect some genuine happiness in his demeanor, based on the way things have turned out.

The sound mix is strong too. The four-camera visuals will not win any awards for daringness, but still succeed from a quality standpoint and the up-close-and-personal vibe to which the viewer is treated. Quite frankly, there is no need for anything more than what is presented.

The extras consist of two entertaining videos for "Desecration" and "Homage for Satan", as well as a nuts-and-bolts interview with the four members. The interview segment is actually quite entertaining because the foursome look truly pleased to be working together. Santolla and Owen both offer some interesting insights into the work of DEICIDE.

As long as this lineup remains intact, you will always be treated to an entertaining and first-rate death metal experience. But there is something special about seeing the unit touring together after recording its first album together. "Doomsday L.A." feels good and makes me proud to be a death metal fan.


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