Released: 2007, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
"We thought DECHRISTIANIZE was a tough album to record, but this effort proved us wrong. This album, hands down, sets the bar for Death Metal. We think our fans will soon agree without question that this is our REIGN IN BLOOD", said Tony Lazaro from the Christians-slaying, evil Death Metal warriors Vital Remains. Huh, so actually how much does Tony´s brave lines hold unholy water? In fact, a lot - LOTSA water indeed because even if DECHRISTIANIZE was already a fantastic album, I sincerely claim that ICONS OF EVIL is a true bull’s-eye achievement from this 3-headed satanic horde. All of us already foresaw it after their excellent previous release.
The album starts off with a really evil and nasty intro, titled “Where Is Your God Now”, in which obviously the son of God gets what he deserves (have you seen “Passion of the Christ”; a movie directed by Mel Gibson? Good, I thought so...). Right after that, the title track of the album, “Icons of Evil” is thrown onto the altar of sacrifice. It displays why there has been so much fuss going on in advance about Vital Remains´ forth-coming album, ICONS OF EVIL. Honestly, this is the kind of Death Metal that I want to hear nowadays. That is – sophisticated, brutal, extremely thought-out, savage and evil, epic, punishing, catchy harmonies all over the place, very well-produced (Rutan is the production God!) and even occasional melodic whenever melodies. As for how the leads in the title track go... uh, could they possibly be more perfect than they are presented in this song? Simply impossible... or in fact, not for Vital Remains! Dave Suzuki, who´s churned out most of the leads (as I assume?) for ICONS OF EVIL, his lead work is simply sensational! It’s beyond any words really. What he has accomplished with all the lead work for this album, places him instantly to the first league with other high-class lead shredders of Death Metal. I just cannot adore and admire more of his totally nailing leads than what I’m doing right now. The leads in “Scorned” pierce through your mind and ears like the 1st lethal shot from an assassin, killing you instantly. What about Tony Lazaro then? It´s commonly known that he’s been known as a guy who has a sense for sensationally churned out riff-fests. This time, with his absolutely excellent input for the songs in the riff department, it’s really fair to state he has truly outdone himself on ICONS OF EVIL. The guy seems to release murderously lethal riffs one after another. He could be that infamous bastard at the Colosseum in ancient Rome who lets the beasts loose after for poor Christians when the Romans wanted to be entertained by some circus-games some decades ago Anno Bastardi. Dave Suzuki´s drumming on ICONS OF EVIL, is overall phenomenal. No doubt, he’s definitely one of the most talented drummers out there today. When he does the blast-beating stuff (just check out “Scorned” or “Born to Rape the World” for the storms he unleashes in these two particular songs), he sounds like he´s ready to slaughter God´s blessed lambs with a 7.62 mm GAU-17 Gatling gun. The faster kills, the better. Mr. Benton, on the other hand, hasn’t sounded this good for a long time. Glen’s vocals fit the songs as well as 6.66 inch nails through the wrists of God´s bastard child, making you grin with a twisted look in your face. I don´t know why his vocal performance with Deicide hasn’t impressed me THAT much on the band’s previous, let’s say, 3-4 albums or so, but with Vital Remains Glen seems somehow much more motivated and inspired to spit more quality venom into Christ´s face. What evil Glen can do…
Having listened to Vital Remains´ most updated Christ-slandering epos several times now in the last 5-6 days, superlatives have really started escaping from me when I have desperately tried to put my flying thoughts into some reasonable words. However, let me say that ICONS OF EVIL did hit me as hard and as convincing like such classic albums as REIGN IN BLOOD, SEVEN CHURCHES, DARKNESS DESCENDS, LEPROSY, LEGION and the likes did back in the day. Those aforementioned albums became instant cult classics amongst metalheads in no time, and you don´t have to be any Nostradamus to predict the same will undoubtedly happen for ICONS OF EVIL as well.
To conclude this review somehow, I want to say that there isn´t enough holy water available to wash away this ungodliness. I hope that it’ll never be cleansed, because Vital Remains´ unholy water tastes far better than any holy water. ICONS OF EVIL is a flawlessly perfect Death Metal album. It´s really damn hard for me to believe this album can be topped for a very long time… perhaps until this satanic threesome will record their next album, of course! ;o) Anyway, devil´s red horns up for Vital Remains for this fabulous achievement. Just simply a fuckin´ awesome album… A timeless classic album has born!