VITAL REMAINS – Icons of Evil

Since VITAL REMAINS apparently can’t resist any opportunity to create a death metal album filled with as much anti-Christian fervor as possible (simply look at the cover art for this release), it should come as no surprise that Glen Benton of DEICIDE fame returned to reprise his role performing vocal duties on the new VITAL REMAINS album titled Icons of Evil. The approach this time around is much more straightforward (think Into Cold Darkness), rather than the over-the-top, somewhat pretentious angle taken with the prior release of Dechristianize. The majority of songs on Icons of Evil are more reminiscent of the newest DEICIDE album, except with longer, more versatile sections. However, those who thoroughly enjoyed the constant melodic solos, guitar harmonies, and technical expertise of Dechristianize should have no fear. About half the album still uses a similar songwriting formula to that found on the previous release, and songs such as the title track, “Scorned,” “Hammer Down the Nails,” and “In Infamy” display this gloriously. Also, apparently the band took some prior criticism to heart concerning the drum production, thus gone is the background drum “clicking” now replaced by only thundering bass as expected from such high quality production. It is still refreshing to hear how tracks like “Born to Rape the World” and “Shrapnel Embedded Flesh” simply steamroll the listener without as much care for guitar dramatics, and Icons of Evil does an excellent job of melding the old with the new. Many songs are still over seven minutes in length, so the epic feel of the songwriting also still survives. The cover of Yngwie Malmsteen‘s “Disciples of Hell” is also very satisfying. With the unholy blessing of DEICIDE‘s frontman, VITAL REMAINS is poised to take the lead in the top metal albums of 2007 with Icons of Evil. (Century Media Records)

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