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Vital Remains: Icons of Evil

All the fervor about the cover artwork for Icons Of Evil just added fuel to the fire and I couldn't wait to get my hands on this latest offering from Vital Remains. I sat intently listening to the intro track "Where Is Your God Now" thinking to myself how evil this is, and how happy I am about that. You have the legend Glen Benton once again providing vocals, and Tony Lazaro and Dave Suzuki taking care of the pounding and shredding; I expected nothing less than evil. The title track then starts the music off and the possession begins. Benton growls and the blast beats begin. Sitting all alone I instantly throw the devil horns in the air and give my own growl back. Just keeping it true here. More on the title track later. Moving on through the CD the tracks remained as brutal as I expected, but it wasn't just a full bore nonstop assault. The band really structured the songs well, at time showing off brilliant technical ability to go along with the brutality. Each song also seemed to have the right amount of "down time", so to speak. Whether it be way down, or just a notch, it was always right for that particular part of the song. Dave Suzuki's lead guitar playing on the CD simply burns. He and Lazaro once again show the Metal world what they are capable of. There is even some very well placed acoustic guitar in "Reborn….The Upheaval of Nihility", one of the CD's stronger tracks. Other standout tracks include "Scorned", "Born To Rape The World", "Hammer Down The Nails", and a cover of Yngwie Malmsteen's "Disciples Of Hell" that Benton makes his own demonic spawn. I've heard some complaints that the tracks are a too long for a Death Metal CD. While the songs may be a bit longer than some fans may be used to, there isn't much wasted space. Maybe a couple tracks could have had their ending shortened a bit, but would that make them better songs? It's irrelevant.

This brings me back to the title track, "Icons Of Evil", which is one epic Death Metal song. I believe that over time good songs come and go while great songs emerge for a reason. Whether it is social climate, political climate, general mood of a generation at that time, or any combination of the three, something spurns the metamorphosis into something special. Certain songs define a generation, or a genre, or both. It just came right to mind at this troublesome time in our country where certain elements are very hard at work trying to control the way we think, what we say, and what we believe in. Telling us what we "should" believe in, who we should love and when we should love them. What to say, what to listen to, who to pray to! If not you WILL go to hell. Southern Rock had "Freebird", good old Rock and Roll had "Stairway To Heaven", all the angst ridden teenagers who thought life was so bad in the 90's had "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Well, we're Death Metal, and we've got "Icons Of Evil" and I'll see you in Hell. Now excuse me while I go find my hammer.

1) Where Is Your God Now
2) Icons Of Evil
3) Scorned
4) Born To Rape The World
5) Reborn….The Upheaval of Nihility
6) Hammer Down The Nails
7) Shrapnel Embedded Flesh
8) 'Till Death
9) In Infamy
10) Disciples Of Hell

Added: May 8th 2007
Reviewer: Ken Sanford
Related Link: Vital Remains Website
Hits: 4137
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Vital Remains: Icons of Evil
Posted by Jedd Beaudoin, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-05-08 05:08:20
My Score:

Like the old Who song goes, "They say the Dechristrianized never lie." True to form, Vital Remains returns with its patented brand of blasphemy. (Inexplicably, vocalist Glen Benton appears in a leather mask on the back of this record. Did he get a
haircut?) The band bends toward the epic throughout via "Icons of Evil," "Scorned," and "Till Death." Among the most memorable moments are "Hammer Down The Nails," the aforementioned title cut and "Shrapnel Embedded Flesh." The group even throws in a fairly accurate cover of Yngwie's "Disciples Of Hell" for good measure and producer Erik Rutan's signature touches are in place, so fear not, dear reaper.

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