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Vital Remains
Icons of Evil
April 2007
Released: 2007, Century Media Records
Rating: 5.0/5
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!
Track Listing

01. Where Is Your God Now
02. Icons of Evil
03. Scorned
04. Born to Rape the World
05. Reborn... The Upheal of Nihility
06. Hammer Down the Nails
07. Shrapnel Embedded Flesh
08. ´Till Death
09. In Infamy
10. Disciples of Hell

Lineup

Tony Lazaro - Rhythm guitars & bass
Dave Suzuki - Drums, lead guitar & backing vocals
Glen Benton - Vocals

Other reviews

» Dechristianize
by Anders Sandvall

» Icons of Evil
by Luxi Lahtinen

» Icons of Evil
by Arto Lehtinen

» Evil Death Live (DVD)
by Lord of the Wasteland


Next review: » Vital Remains - Icons of Evil
Previous review: » Vital Remains - Evil Death Live (DVD)

Vital Remains
Icons of Evil
May 2007
Released: , Century Media
Rating: 3.0/5
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.
Track Listing

1. Where Is Your God Now
2. Icons of Evil
3. Scorned
4. Born to Rape the World
5. Reborn…The Upheaval of Nihility
6. Hammer Down the Nails
7. Shrapnel Embedded Flesh
8. 'Til Death
9. In Infamy
10. Disciples of Hell

Lineup

Tony Lazaro - Rhythm Guitar
Dave Suzuki - Lead Guitar, Bass, Drums
Glen Benton – Vocals

Other reviews

» Dechristianize
by Anders Sandvall

» Icons of Evil
by Luxi Lahtinen

» Icons of Evil
by Arto Lehtinen

» Evil Death Live (DVD)
by Lord of the Wasteland


Next review: » VLE - Book of Illusions: Chapter 1
Previous review: » Vital Remains - Evil Death Live (DVD)





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