This album is a Death Metal classic in my mind. During the time Vital Remains was making this album, many of the Death Metal bands were singing about mutilating corpses and gore in general. Vital Remains instead powered their lyrics/vocals with a strong hate for Christianity. They wrote about Satanism, from a more mythological standpoint. Also, they refrain from having twenty songs entitled "Satan is Life", "*** Religion", "I Love Satan" and "Burn The Nearest Church". The vocals on the album are well delivered, and full of emotion. They're harsh, but they're far more understandable than lots of Death Metal.
The guitars on this album are raging, but they aren't concentrating soley on speed and the riffs flow well into eachother. The lead guitar work is great too. The solos jump out at me, and fit well with the songs. The riffs aren't just *chug* *chug* *chug* *chug* either. There is lots of variety, and some very cool melodies hidden within the assault.
The drums, while not as technical as say, Morbid Angel, are by no means extremely simple. They don't overpower the music, and keep rhythm very well. While not an extreme standout point, the drumming is still good.
I can't say the bass is spectacular on this album, but it doesn't really need excellent bass parts. It is driven by the feel behind it, and the bass does provide a good low end. It is playing the root most of the time, but it does stand out at certain points.
Another thing I like about this album is the song length. The songs are all between 4-8 minutes. I think this is a plus, because the songs aren't too short, or painfull long and boring. Lots of the songs have a good groove, and don't concentrate soley on going as fast as possible. Everything on the album flows well with everything else.
The cold guitar tone, and rawish production combined with the amazing vocal deliverance and lyrical themes makes for a full album of brutal onslaught, while still being listenable and highly enjoyable. This album makes me proud to be a Death Metal fan.
As far as recommended listening goes, really the whole album is worth hearing. This is for fans of Morbid Angel and similar old-school death metal bands. Anyone who likes these genres should definitly check out the amazing band that is Vital Remains.
4/5, an excellent album.