Barbarian Princes: Live in Japan, 1999
Recorded live in Tokyo and Osaka during the Deviants' February 1999 Far Eastern assault, Barbarian Princes is essentially a showcase for new material, shot through with a smattering of worthy reprises. Yet a quick glimpse at the track listing is to sell it ruthlessly short; to barely even hint at the wall of power erected as a churning "Eating Jello With a Heated Fork" links with the foreboding "Aztec Calendar" and the stressed "Disgruntled Employee," to create one of the most relentlessly adrenalized openings any live album's ever had. The sound quality isn't as brutal as the band, a razorblade's reflection of the view from the mosh pit, so instruments scythe rather than mix through the monitors, and Farren's vocals stand way out front, to clash with the enthusiasm of the audience. But the Deviants were never about the hi-fi experience -- raw power pummels relentlessly out of the speakers, transforming Dylan's "It's All Right Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" into a sneering diatribe; drenching the sober "Lennon Song" blues with wasted, weary passion; and electrifying "Dogpoet" as the kind of ten-minute blues-metal boogie that the early Blue Öyster Cult might have come up with, if they'd not held the instruction booklet upside down. If you're looking for an easy entry into the Farren experience, pick up 1979's Vampires Stole My Lunch Money. But if you're hunting the mud-caked leviathans of lyrical delinquency and sonic destruction which are the Deviants' most beautiful ugliness, Barbarian Princes is aptly titled. It's that beauty which has ensured the Deviants remain relevant. It's the ugliness which should make you grateful for the fact.