Review Summary: Wow.
Album opener "War In Paradise" cements Vital Remains as being one of the genre's best bands, along with Morbid Angel and Death. The key to this collection of beautifully composed and carefully paced tracks is, without a doubt, guitarist Tony Lazaro. His skill on his instrument is absolutely undeniable, and his eerie melodies and riffs act as the basis for Vital Remains to construct the rest of their sound around. The band choose to utilize longer song lengths, with most tracks falling around the six minute mark, which alone seperate the band from most of their contemporaries.
The phrase "half-arsed job" isn't in the band's dictionary, as everything on Let Us Pray is as tight and as good as it can be. Vital Remains have a strong focus on song structure and the flow of the album, which puts them leagues above most bands in the scene. The band also play to their strengths and use their influences without coming across as a rip-off. "Uncultivated Grave," for example, has influences of Mercyful Fate and Candlemass, which allows Vital Remains to craft their own unique sound. "Frozen Terror" has a more doom-influenced feeling, and everything works better than it sounds on paper. At times as well, vocalist Jeff Gruslin sounds as though he is influenced heavily by Morbid Angel, without coming off as a carbon copy. He is also far more understandable than most other vocalists in the genre.
Let Us Pray takes the best parts of the best bands around at the same time, including Possessed, early Slayer, early Death and Morbid Angel to create a unique sound, and the album is incredibly strong, especially for a debut. Always uncompromising and never forgiving, it is a necessity for every death metal fan.