Vital Remains
Icons of Evil

I could be forgiven for almost summing up Vital Remains’ new album as Dechristianize part 2. I mean, dramatic intro (painful sample from “The Passion of the Christ”) followed by Glen Benton bellowing “WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?” as opposed to “LET THE KILLING BEGIN”, then a lengthy 8 minute track consisting of a furious blastbeat then a wondrously melodic solo filled mid section, then more climactic blasting. Then you get another 8 epic songs of Christ hating, fervent death metal that splits time between hyperspeed blasting and supine harmonies. Sound familiar?

However, to simply leave this review at Dechristianizepart 2, though admittedly would either perturb or encourage readers to purchase this anticipated release, would be a great disservice. So here’s a little more detail;

How about Deicide’s more epic big brother?

Honestly-those two opinions are how I feel about Icons of Evil. Aside from the fact this simply a damn fine death metal record, arguably one of the tightest, brutal and epic you’ll hear all year, I can’t help shake the feeling of Déjà vu. The fact Benton sings in his trademark dual bellows and the fact Deicide now have Ralph Santolla plying similar solos and harmonies after Benton performed on Dechristianize, sort of makes the bands a little too similar in my opinions. However, with longer songs and a little even more use of Suzuki’s impressive licks (as well as drums on this recording), Icons of Evil remains a quality is slightly familiar album.

The tracks are basically the same formula; a vicious few minutes of blasphemy filled savagery than a lengthy melodic, occasionally flamenco inspired (“Reborn, the Upheaval of Nihility”) solo filled segue, then some more furious blasting and maybe a closing solo for good measure. Tracks like “Born to Rape the World”, “Hammer Down the Nails” and this album’s “Entwined by Vengeance”, the 10 minute “’Til Death” are sure to please fans of Dechristianize, and rightly so, as they basically cover identical ground. However, to their credit, the short (under 5-minutes) closer “Disciples of Hell” shows some restraint with a sturdy, blastless, mid paced tempo throughout, and production wise, the switch to Erik Rutan seems to have reduced some of the rigidity and clicky-ness of Dechristianze.

Ultimately, there’s no way around it, Icons of Evil is in fact, Dechristianize part 2 with a few minor tweaks. Take that as you will. If you loved Dechristianize, run out and get this now. If you were a little bored by Dechristianize, as I was, you might not be as enamored, however it’s again hard to ignore to frequent moment of brutal yet epic solo work that litter the album, making it a pretty solid must have for that alone

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 30th, 2007


  1. Commented by: Gumby123

    This review was an ejoyable read, so i’m Looking forward to reading more of your reviews. (F.Y.I.) i Own this album on vinyl and it still slays my record player.

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