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Largely overlooked before Glen Benton of Deicide joined their ranks, which is unfortunate because I believe this album to be the embodiment of Vital Remains. Each song is an epic journey of audio violence with variety being the key point, so even though the songs are all very long they remain interesting. Keyboards and acoustic guitars are used in strategic places to increase the epic nature, never over done. As a whole, Forever Underground (FU) has more of a live feel in both the production and the performance, as opposed to their current slick and processed material. I think this suits them better and wish they stuck with it.
Raw and aggressive guitars are the driving force here. Lots of riffs, frequent tempo changes and unique song structures are what this album is about. Every song contains solos, which is a good thing even though they're of average quality. The bass doesn't have a real presence, it's used mostly to fill out the sound and follows the guitars.
Dave Suzuki makes his debut here and does a precise and varied job on the drums. He pays more attention to the song's dynamics on FU than his triggered blast obsession of the Benton-era.
Vocals are mid-range growls timed well with the music and convincingly delivered. Musically Vital Remains have their own voice but they're spewing forth, as always, standard Satanic/anti-religious lyrics.
The keyboard instrumental in the middle of the album is the only low point, bringing to mind images of a Middle Eastern circus (though I've never seen one). On the positive side it's short but I still find myself skipping over it.
At the time of this review Icons of Evil is out and I would have to say FU is still the highlight of their discography.
6 tracks: 5 songs, 1 keyboard instrumental.