Vital Remains Icons of Evil

Vital Remains Icons of Evil
Almost 20 years after Vital Remains first unleashed their fury upon the unsuspecting metal masses, founder Tony Lazaro and his late-addition counterpart Dave Suzuki have somehow managed to retain their relevance. Unlike many who began around the same time, they refuse to slip into the obscurity of unimaginative, uninspired remakes of past efforts by continuing to release persuasive albums geared towards galvanising the newest generation. Progressing in the same direction as 2003’s Dechristianize, the title track following gruesome introduction "Where is Your God Now” sets the tone, foreshadowing exactly how the nefarious character of VR will be developed throughout Icons of Evil. Lazaro and Suzuki continue to construct epic, scathing musical attacks on Christianity, consolidating jarring blasts and traditional abrasive death metal riffage with their signature groove-laden interludes, slowed harmonies and massive hooks. The tension between these grandiose, syrupy guitar melodies and the vitriolic attacks of both tremolo and kick drum emphasise and complement each component excellently. Suzuki’s leads drive each song home, constituting the moments that make VR stand out. His hooks are simply superior to that of the majority of Vital Remains’ contemporaries and the songwriting has been taken up a notch, even though it can still become somewhat redundant. They’re once again joined by one of the genre’s vocal bests, Glen Benton, while the new addition of Erik Rutan as producer intensifies every aspect that has made this band a stalwart. Dabblers beware; this isn’t for the faint of heart. (Century Media)