Setting the bar for death metal at a posthuman, or at least steroid-enhanced, level, Dechristianize throttles from the getgo -- "Let The Killing Begin" makes an appropriate title for the first song! On this, their fourth album, Vital Remains gather force from founding member Tony Lazaro on guitar, Deicide's Glenn Benton on speaker-shaking baritone and Dave Suzuki on everything else.
Although grounded in death throttle and replete with the partial chord streaming and blast beats which have become standard moves in the genre, Dechristianize has a majestic feel to it that raises the epic nine-song disc beyond moshpit fodder.
Lazaro and Suzuki's guitars mate thrillingly; on songs like at "At War With God," they trace mighty treble signatures, like neon arabesques blazing across a pitch-black sky. Clocking in at an average 6 minutes, with "Entwined By Vengeance" closing the album at 10, the songs cover pretty traditional Satanic turf, but there's nothing remotely kitschy, secondhand, cliched or silly about the overall feel -- in fact, this would make a great soundtrack to the war in Heaven sequence from Milton's Paradise Lost , no fooling. "Entwined" far and away makes the standout track, its headlong thrust flared by harmonic arcs; there's even a delicate flamenco guitar break that sounds perfectly at home amidst the battering riffage.
A crisp, polished and disciplined effort, Dechristianize should win converts to Vital Remains' brand of baroque death metal. Highly recommended.