Released: , Century Media
Reviewer: Arto Lehtinen
Vital Remains has carried the flag of the brutal death metal for almost 20 years. After putting out a great deal of albums and facing several line-up changes, they are still putting out excellent brutal death metal. As widely known, Deicide front-man Glen Benton was recruited to handle the vocals for the 2003 output DECHRISTIANIZE.
The same brutality continues on the three piece’s newest album ICONS OF EVIL. Christians are tortured to death and hell’s flames are burning high. The typical blasphemic issues seem to be the main topic of each song. Frankly the band hasn’t given an inch with their extreme brutal death metal as the 10 song opus offers a lesson of how extreme skilled and technical death metal should be played. The album starts off with the sounds of crucifying which has been from borrowed from Mel Gibson’s movie “Passion Of The Christ” - which was and still is quite the controversial movie. After the brutal sounding opening intro, the icons of evil are unleashed lasting for about one hour. The main men of Vital Remains, Lazaro and Suzuki, have taken the brutality of Death Metal to the next level and added more than enough technical solos to the songs. However, technical solos in each song has became more important as occasionally the solo playing may ruin the whole great song even though Benton growls his typical deep brutal vocals over the song. As for Benton’s work on the album, he definitely sounds evil, full of hatred as the man torments his throat without any mercy for sure.
Vital Remains definitely relies on old school death metal clichés, but I for one find it kind of hard to find these influences like Mercyful Fate etc listed in the biosheet. As a matter of fact, the band claims ICONS OF EVIL is their REIGN IN BLOOD. Hmm pretty brave comparison to be honest. Instead it could be said ICONS OF EVIL could be their own LEGION and other types of true classic death metal albums. Even though ICONS OF EVIL represents well played and brutal sounding death metal battle hymns, as death metal is supposed to sound, evil, brutal and nihilistic, but nowadays it is really hard to match to those classic elements. If ICONS OF EVIL had seen the light of day in the beginning of the 90’s or early 80’s, it would be an utter classic by now.
Eric Rutan has again been behind the desk creating nothing, but utter lethal and brutal sounds fitting to Vital Remains. He definitely knows what each death metal band is looking for in order to have the most merciless output ever. ICONS OF EVIL is an extreme brutal death metal output for anyone who digs high quality death metal with some old school death metal vibes on it.