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Now if that isn't a rally call to true, underground metal, I don't know what the fuck is. The title track alone could very well be THE death metal anthem; epic, raw, heavy, and evil as all hell. Kicking off with a rather grandiose riff, that builds into a heavy chug, before a furious barrage of double bass and flesh grinding riffs tear you apart, this song demonstrates Vital Remains' ability to build a song. And indeed, it passes through all sorts of moods, all of them being very, very pissed off.
FOREVER TRUE! FOREVER BLACK!
Well, I can't say that there's much black metal on here, but this is fucking true death metal, and not the "tr00" or "kvlt" kind, at that. "Battle Ground" starts off with a big kick to your face with a furious blast, before going to a half time grind. And you wouldn't think that any groove would find its way on here, but "I Am God" has quite a bouncy main riff to it. And by bouncy, I mean bouncing your head off the wall. Damn! That's catchy! Like every song on here, it goes through several tempo changes, and features a flamenco guitar solo in the middle. "Eastern Voyage" is the fastest track on here, with pummelling riffs and nasty drumming coming in at you from all angles.
"Farewell to the Messiah" sounds kind of like music for some fruity mideaval porn, so I skip it every time. "Divine In Flames" has some nice moments, but overall, it doesn't kick as much ass as the other monsterous songs on here.
Dave Suzuki makes his debut on drums and lead guitar here, and I think that the band grows in leaps on bounds with his addition. His drumming just sounds malevolent, as if he wants to punch you in the face with each beat. And he's no slouch on guitar, having a pretty clean, neo-classical style that almost sounds pretty.
Joe Lewis has my least favourite voice of all the Vital Remains frontmen, but when you're stacked against Jeff Gruslin, Thorns, and Glen Benton, you face very, very stiff competition. He's no slouch, but not the best these guys have had.
As for Mr. Lazaro...well, this guy just oozes excellent riffs. He's almost the Dave Mustaine of death metal, because nearly every riff he comes up with hits a nerve.
I think that after the last album, they went back to a rawer sound. The drums on here, especially, don't sound triggered. Hell, even the guitars have a ripping sound with a minimum of special effects. This gives the album a very badass sound. Very death metal, and very underground.