without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
The title of this review says it all. Vital Remains' third album, Forever Underground, is truly their best work and their peak in their musical career. Dechristianize and Icons of Evil have NOTHING on this album. Forever Underground captures such a memorable atmosphere with its natural, uncontrived mixture of black/death metal riffs, amazing drumming, and powerful guitar solos. Though it is Vital's best work, or at least one of their best, it remains a hidden, overlooked gem just like every other Vital album that doesn't have Glen Benton on it.
Every single song on this album sounds dark, evil, and aggressive in its own unique way. Each song tells its own story and there is not one filler track on the whole album. Forever Underground's songs contain such a huge amount of variety and different elements. The song structures for each song are flawless, going from slow, doomy, heavy riffs to fast, thrash metal-like riffs with blast-beats to beautiful melodies, which is what I like better about this album than the latest two Vital albums. On Dechristianize and Icons Of Evil, most of the songs sound very similar to each other, each having the exact same song structures and same amount of fast, merciless riffs and brutality. On Forever Underground, the variety in the song structures are much different, letting some wicked, dark atmospheres to seep through along with the heaviness. The album is not just about brutality but it has a perfect mixture of black metal and death metal styles. Again, the riffs, melodies, and solos sound completely natural and uncontrived like on their previous albums.
The musicianship on Forever Underground is, by far, the best I've ever heard from Vital Remains. Tony Lazaro perfectly mixed black metal riffing with the style of American death metal riffing, and the guitar tone is perfect. It is unfortunate that Jeff Gruslin quit the band before the making of this album, but Joe Lewis sounded just as monstrous on vocals, and was an excellent replacement, but his vocals aren't as memorable as Jeff's vocals. Dave's tin-sounding drums fit amazingly with this musical sound and his guitar solos and melodies are perfect and so enjoyable to listen to, as if his guitar can actually sing! These shredding solos and melodies he performs have a strong neoclassical influence. Dave Suzuki really proves to us here how talented he is on both drums and guitar. Tony and Dave really defined a new and very superior sound.
The album has really low, raw, cheap production quality, but then again, it didn't need such excellent production quality like any death metal album today. The music sounds so primitive and "old-school" with its low production. After listening to some songs off the album for a while, you realize that the production quality really doesn't matter at all.
Overall, I view this album as Vital Remains' best work. I highly recommend it to any fan of black/death metal and to any new Vital fan who thinks Dechristianize is the best death metal album they've ever heard. This album is truly one fantastic, dark, satanic, heavy masterpiece!