Vital Remains
Icons of Evil


4.0
excellent

Review

by Kalle J. USER (37 Reviews)
April 19th, 2007 | 98 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Vital Remains’ 7th release again puts religion’s father figure in effigy. But don’t get me wrong, this is no puppet show.

If Jesus turned out a fake, than splitting a loaf of bread among an entire company at The Last Supper was no easy feat. Notably, this last sentence on it's own has no sense of stability. It's contradictory; severing the ties between what is fact and what is theory, open for influence of the adaptable mind. Lengthy speculations over our existence have been suppressed through what we now know as the teachings of religion, but conflicting views from those who hadn’t been mislead by the disclosures of the church (basically anyone who wasn’t mentally unstable or a peasant) allowed for development of alternative scenarios. Among those, uncorroborated theories which had the potential to make Jesus look like nothing but a bad Copperfield knock-off. Different beliefs are something that has entered in our way of life, but indubitably, it makes up the fine line that divides many of us as adherent humans.

Take John Lennon’s “Imagine” of 1971, dissecting the line “…there was no religion”. Envision taking a similar notion even further, and when I say further, I mean around 7 albums packed with nothing but an unimaginably brutal undertake of anti-Christianity, throwing in an obtrusive guitar riff, a monstrous growl, and some battering drums to make up your deadly arsenal. Saying there is anything similar in the way it comes across would be a severe understatement. But there still can’t possibly be anyone to save the earth from evil destruction, now can there?

Enter Vital Remains; long contenders in the bringing down of religious icons. In short, these Death Metal titans make John Lennon look like a little girl who keeps a diary of her cushion soaked sob-fests.

Yes, Vital Remains are about much more than just the why's and the wherefore's of society. Formed 1989 in Providence, Rhode Islands, set up camp early on in an underground Death Metal scene. Currently signed to Century Media, 3 members undertake the task of upkeeping the band's name, with “Deicide’s” Glen Benton on vocals, Tony Lazaro on Guitars and Dave Suzuki playing the drums and guitars. A prospering career spurred the band to start work on their 2003 opus, “Dechristianize”, which once again proved that the bands ability to play brutally never held back. Many have gotten the picture, but these titans leave no lulls for interruption; if Vital Remains haven’t yet confirmed a very prominent blasphemy through out their anything but modest discography, then this 2007 release, Icons of Evil, should hit the nail on the head.

The titular track summarizes nihilism through means of a rhetorical question. "Where Is Your God now?" is a question depicted in the scarring introduction track, and spoken to kick off the first single. Glen Benton’s viciously gouging and unrelenting vocals leave no breath among any divine epitome. That said, the grunts are relatively over-the-top. After hearing around half the song, I start to question my own tolerance, especially let down by the fact that a chunk of the album is still to come. Benton’s vocals are considerably repetitive and muddy, in spite of the occasional higher-pitched shrieks that top off the ground work.


Icons of Evil blasts in with an agitato riff scheme, which is then layered with a gradual up-tempo from the drums. Harmonic lead fills show remnants from predecessor “Dechristianize”, having now been scattered to produce an accompaniment in various tracks. Vital Remains portrayal is literally puked out through Glen Benton’s satanic lyrics, making the idea of any sort of conformism appear remotely far. Seemingly, scorning apocalyptic tales in the bible is an uncanny way to refute, but it’s a concept accessible to few. In theology, it all boils down to a guiding light, the veracity of which can only be accepted through the devotion of willing minds. Yet, the band belligerently contest the guidance of fake prophets. All complacences aside, it’s safe to say that religion would be up for a very anticlimactic end if it was all laden on the band’s die hard mindset, but, because of their blatant musical virtuosity, I’m compelled to turn a blind eye to what would otherwise be an almost laughable experience.

The group shows that they are more than just ballsy. Another take on proficient song writing is featured in Scorned, the third track on the album. I’m left to believe that Vital Remains are reluctant to slowing down the pace, just when you thought the drumming couldn’t get any faster. Alternative picking calls for a spark of intrigue, and left is to indulge in a poignant and practically flawless delivery from Tony Lazaro’s end. Sure, the album may be very hard to digest in one sitting, but letting time work its magic will surely pay off. For one, the album has proven to be very reciprocal, and the more you let it batter against your tympanum, the higher you will subsequently regard familiar touches to the songs. What many may deem as just a bunch of irrational noise is gradually unlocked into a harmony, an intricate brutality.

As the album progresses, the riffs begin to shadow more the bands ideology. An early Reborn…Upheaval of Nihility and a torchbearer of the technical Shrapnel Embedded Flesh restrain the album from becoming one big hubbub. With very catchy picks, and a refreshing acoustic piece, Reborn is rendered epic thanks to transitional contrasts. In turn, the latter of the two hails an overwhelming lead complex, and manages to retain a superlative hook and tempo.

“The trust is broken, between the one you call divine. Has left you screaming… you Lied… you Lied… you Lied”

Yes he lied, heaven doesn’t have wireless internet connection, but either way, I’m sure any counterpart on the verge of death or your run-of-the-mill suicide bomber would be a bit more informed before he decided to get locked in a death-grip. As for me, I’m all set. Whether it dates back to the unfaithfulness of Jesus to his people, or whether I apparently have not been up to speed that dead people are aware that they’ve been lied to, I must say, I don’t care too much for the rather pinpointing lyrics. On the contrary, Vital Remains are using biblical facts to oppose the existence of Jesus, plausibly done by contradicting religion per se, but if that’s still completely denying religion to the most minute facet, than David Hasselhoff was never found drunk, almost choking on a hamburger in a Las Vegas hotel room. Almost, apparently, it was somewhat of a struggle between Hoff and the burger.

Apart from the occasional coalition of instruments to create a massive speed, I get the impression that Vital Remains play aggressively just for the sake of playing aggressively. What with all the songs clocking in at over 8 minutes, room is given for the actual song to play over more than once, hence leading me to pick out instances among spreads. Consequently the troupe drops the ball somewhat when it comes to keeping the listener hooked for an extensive time frame. Regardless of some bland passages, there are some extremely piquant leads here and there, which unfortunately come and go into the songs. As it all comes down, Vital Remains falls a few initiatives short of being an experimental clash, remedied by masterful touches in song composing, and ultimately, going about it as innovatively has led to the birth of yet another crackerjack compilation for appreciative fans to dig their teeth into. But somehow, a stubborn rigidity in song writing is what fences this album off to but the most absorbent of auditors.


Recommended Tracks:

- Icons of Evil
- Scorned
- Reborn...The Upheaval of Nihility
- Shrapnel Embedded Flesh




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user ratings (164)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Jack Boaden (2)
I'll stick with Dechristianize, thank you very much....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Epilogue
April 19th 2007


1591 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sweet review, I might check these guys out

RandyfromPennywise
April 19th 2007


752 Comments


I can't understand how anyone can like death metal. Not for the life of me, I just can't understand it.

It's short and to-the-point, and I think you did a very, very good job of describing some elements of this album, like the second paragraph, that's great.

LifeInABox
April 19th 2007


3709 Comments


dude c'mon gove it a chance!

RandyfromPennywise
April 19th 2007


752 Comments


You give The John Butler Trio, Pete Murray and Xavier Rudd a chance and then we'll talk.

LifeInABox
April 19th 2007


3709 Comments


hokay

Thor
April 19th 2007


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Xavier Rudd is amazing, I must say.

But I didn't think much of the songs I heard from this album. I just don't care much for Benton's vocals.

CoRpSeSlAyEr
April 19th 2007


855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is a great album. It is even better than Dechristianize.

LifeInABox
April 19th 2007


3709 Comments


i didn't even know he was in this band, what with Deicide touring and recording and whatnot

Cravinov13
April 19th 2007


3854 Comments


I can't understand how anyone can like death metal. Not for the life of me, I just
can't understand it.


I can't see how anyone can like punk, but they do.

I have yet to hear this but I'm much intrested,This Message Edited On 04.19.07

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2007


6099 Comments


I can't understand how anyone can like death metal. Not for the life of me, I just can't understand it.


learn to be open-minded like me tbh and you'll realize why anyone could like anything. death metal and all.

iarescientists
April 19th 2007


5863 Comments


Yeah be open-minded like lewis.

Are you completely done with your trust count, btw. iareconfused :confused:

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2007


6099 Comments


/over complicated explanation that i hope iare has read that i'm now editing out

erm, yeah. something like that.This Message Edited On 04.19.07

Pluh
April 19th 2007


579 Comments


Ahhh... I love Benton's vocals, and i really need this album. If it plays out to be as good as Dechristianize, then i'll love it.

RandyfromPennywise
April 20th 2007


752 Comments


[QUOTE=Cravinov13]
I can't see how anyone can like punk, but they do.[/QUOTE]

I'm sure your definition of 'Punk' is probably quite bad music. Punk isn't even my favourite music, but the Punk I do listen to, that's good music. Listen to NOFX song The Decline, that's my definition of Punk. Basically what I am saying about Death Metal is I don't think I could ever like it. I mean I can't stand screaming at the best of times. It's just way too full on, and yeah, I don't understand it so I'm not bagging it or anyone for liking it.

kalkal50
April 20th 2007


2386 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I dunno how ppl like death metal but its just good. The psat-me would not even believe I would end up listening, even liking death metal, but here I am today. Seems my taste is just developing and picking out things more and more. Guess this is the end of the road for me. :PThis Message Edited On 04.20.07This Message Edited On 04.20.07

Confessed2005
April 20th 2007


3314 Comments


I think it's just the overall brutality and aggression of it all; it is a great release, listening to death metal, especially bands like Cannibal Corpse and such.

I have heard some stuff from Dechristianize and I thought it was technically very impressive. Didn't leave that much of an impression, but intriguing to say the least...

Good review, I might check this out.

kalkal50
April 20th 2007


2386 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks... I've heard a little of Dechristianize, will check out more.This Message Edited On 04.21.07

kalkal50
April 24th 2007


2386 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

will probably add some recommended tracks as well now that ive gotten into the album

chimera908
April 27th 2007


713 Comments


I'm thinking about buying a vital remains CD and I just curious which most find to be better Icons of Evil or Dechristianize? I've heard some Decristianize and what I really liked about that was the melodic lead guitar lines so I guess I'm wondering if this album still has a lot of those?This Message Edited On 04.27.07

kalkal50
April 28th 2007


2386 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"Dechristianize" is way better than this album. This Message Edited On 02.28.08



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