Released: 2004, Metal Blade
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
HELPING THE WORLD TO SEE is my first exposure to Vehemence and while they certainly didn’t blow me away with their death metal riffing and, at times, monotonous vocals, this is still a solid CD. Nathan Gearhart has all the grunts and growls down, but never really changes tone from one song to the next, which can induce boredom and show a lack of diversity. There is a good mix of mid-tempo/brutal death passages and the drumming of Andrew Schroeder is definitely a highlight. The guitars are also mixed very well for a death metal record with some atmospheric passages coming through rather than the usual wall of sound that befalls many CDs from this genre. Cool cover art, too! It look like one of those old Ray Harryhausen creatures from the Sinbad movies.
“By Your Bedside” has an interesting hospital intro that segues into the pummeling drums and well-mixed guitars. “Trinity Broadcasting (Know Your Enemy)” grabs televangelism by the throat and gives it a shake, but the chorus seems geared towards the moshing/meathead crowd a bit (“Know your enemy…Know your fucking enemy!!”). “To the Taste” is incredibly heavy and Schroeder’s drums are like a kick in the chest. From out of nowhere comes “You Don’t Have to Be Afraid Anymore,” with an acoustic intro and piano track. The song eventually becomes heavy, but WHOA! “Alone In Your Presence” takes things down a notch again as Gearhart’s vocals are buried way in the mix and the track is mostly instrumental. “Darkness is Comfort” has Meshuggah-like time changes, which is certainly different from the rest of the tracks. The excellent guitar sounds of John Chavez and Bjorn Dannov are never better than on the blistering solo of “What Could Go Wrong?” The muddy guitar sound of death metal recordings are thankfully absent from HELPING THE WORLD TO SEE, leaving the tones and solos to come out crisp and clear.
Death metal is a fickle beast and Vehemence seems to avoid at least some of the typical pitfalls. As a sophomore effort, HELPING THE WORLD TO SEE seems to be on the right track and should push Vehemence into one of the big names in American death metal if they continue to progress and grow as artists. Here’s to ya, fellas!
KILLER KUTS: “By Your Bedside,” “Trinity Broadcasting (Know Your Enemy),” “You Don’t Have to Be Afraid Anymore,” “Alone In Your Presence”