NonExist - Deus Deceptor

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Century Media
Catalog Number: 8004-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 41:04:00

Spinning right now for the 7th or 8th time is NonExist's Deus Deceptor. Is that indicative of how much I like it? No. Just how many times (at least) a CD gets listened to before I sit down to write a review (not necessarily all in one day). This is that 8th spin as I type this, taking a break from rearranging the office. For what it's worth, my cat just left the room, but as he prefers jazz, I'm not surprised. So, back to the question, do I like this? Um, no. Not really. I like the energy it has, but I'm not really a fan of the harsh, growly vocals, though vocalist Johan Liiva (ex-Arch Enemy) isn't as growly as the growliest. If I were to describe how I hear the music - vocals aside - it is as cold and harsh as steel in the Arctic. At night. And you're naked. And there's a severe wind chill factor. It's like being raked with a million razor blades...rusty razor blades. Maybe I'm not enraged enough to find release in this, I don't know. But I just can't get into it. I mean, sure, my head is forced to bob back and forth, I've been air guitaring licks right along with Johan Reinholdz (Andromeda, played also bass), but, for me personally, unless I wanted to clear a room, I probably wouldn't listen to this. In fact, it made my ears hurt and I wasn't even listening to it too loud. Adequate volume for reviewing, but not cranked up.

Ah, but is this fair and objective review? I mean, my personal dislike of this particular sector of the genre (which I'd marginally call progressive) should give way to... something. Well, I have to say that I like Liiva much more as a lyricist than vocalist. I read through the lyrics before hearing it, and found them interesting. But, singing them...well, he could be singing nonsense words and one wouldn't really know the difference. In fact, they wouldn't even have to be words, just grunts. Topically, as you might expect, the songs are dark. I mean, the album's title alone would tell you that. Deus = god (or God) and deceptor... as I interpret the overarching message = God is evil. Take "Faith," for example. "In the name of God they maim and slay..." the first line reads. You might think at first, ah-ha! It's about militant Islamic Fundamentalists... but if you think about the Inquisition and other "highlights" of Christian and Catholic history... you can interpret that Liiva casting this net much wider. "'Love your neighbor, turn the other cheek' / or isn't global peace what you seek?" Ironic isn't, that to ensure global peace we (humans) must attack others (humans)?

Many years ago, when I was college, I took to poetry writing. While I didn't personally feel as dark and gloomy as my poetry got, it was fairly dark, perhaps disturbing to some. I read the same kind of feelings in Liiva's lyrics, especially in "Ebony Tower." Metaphorically speaking, the Ebony Tower is what's inside the protagonist - a mental break, insanity, whatever has him trapped. But in there, he's in control. I identify with that image not because I'm insane myself -- at least I don't think I am -- but I can understand how one can feel that way. Their world makes sense because they've brought some order to the chaos, even if that order is in itself chaotic.

So, by lyrics alone, I'm intrigued. I mean, I see a similar darkness here that Fish wrote in "He Knows You Know" and "The Web" -- oh, okay, this a little bit darker. My poetry, by the way, was inspired by images that came to me whilst listening to Script For A Jester's Tear sitting outside the Humanities building at the university, though the images themselves weren't specifically in the songs. So, I find myself wishing that the vocal presentation were a little less of the winds/beasts-of-hell variety. Gruff works, but growly... for me, not so much.

But, having said that, I think those that are into this harsh metal will like NonExist. Century Media feels that fans of Arch Enemy's Black Earth will like this and find it's better. I haven't rated it because it's hard for me to judge in this case. It is, at least, a 3, 3.5 since the music is quite solid. But... anything else would be more subjective than objective. Rounding out the trio is drummer Matte Modin (Defleshed/Dark Funeral).

Entrance (instrumental) (1:52) / The Devil Incarnate (4:01) / Faith (3:19) / Eaten Alive (5:14) / Ataraxia (instrumental) (1:43) / A Halo Askew (3:26) / Phantoms (3:00) / Ebony Tower (4:58) / Nowhere (instrumental) (2:20) / Delirious Tongues (2:52) / Idols & Fiends (4:24) / Divded We Fall (3:55)

Johan Liiva - vocals
Johan Reinholdz - guitar, bass
Matte Modin - drums

Deus Deceptor (2002)

Genre: Thrash Metal

Origin SE

Added: December 15th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 614
Language: english


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