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When I first discovered this album, the first thing that grabbed my attention was the extremely violent and blasphemous cover artwork, which I think looks really interesting and very detailed. It's definitely the perfect album cover for the incredibly sacrilegious album that it is. At that time, I never did get interested in listening to this album, or this band. Later, when I became a fan of Vital Remains after listening to their older records, I rediscovered this album, and thought it would be a total masterpiece like all the previous albums Vital Remains created. It isn't!
Icons Of Evil is really similar to the previous release, Dechristianize, and I consider Icons Of Evil a part two to it. Dave and Tony carried their revolutionized style from Dechristianize, which consists of extremely heavy, brutal riffs, fast and very technical blast-beats, and beautiful guitar solos, into the music of this album. The guitars sound much heavier, the drums have a much more powerful sound to them (no more blasting away on drums that sound like tin cans, Dave!) and the album's production quality is much superior. Vital Remains created some incredible instrumentation, but it's definitely not an album that anyone could listen to for a long period of time because the songs are stuffed with such fast and heavy intensity and occasional melodic guitar solos. The songs sound so powerful and definitely forces you to bang your head, but after several minutes, the whole album just gets so boring because of how much heaviness and brutality Tony and Dave loaded into this album.
The lyrics are very detailed and are so unbelievably hateful, and again, they talk about one of the two lyrical themes Vital Remains have always specialized in: satanism and anti-christianity. But for this album, the lyrics are just straightforward anti-christian, and the great thing is that they're not written in an immature fashion like most extreme metal bands who think they can be so blasphemous and evil. Vital Remains have always pulled off the anti-christian style very well!
Not everything about this album is amazing though. Sure, the instrumentation, album cover, and lyrics are promising, but the vocals, done again by Glen Benton, sound horrendous.
Let me explain how awful Glen's vocals sound. First of all, I have no clue what Glen Benton was doing in the studio where they recorded Icons Of Evil, but judging by his vocal duties, I don't think he put any effort into the vocals on this album. He sounded like he drank 20 bottles of vodka, stumbled up to the mic, and started to endlessly burp into it about how he hates Christianity so much. If you want to hear extremely terrible vocals, listen to this album! Glen Benton sounds like a drunk, fat, dying pig suffering from some kind of throat infection. His vocals didn't even have the same rhythm as the music, because his vocals and the music almost don't match up at all. On Dechristianize, Glen Benton sounded powerful, like a demon full of endless rage. I have no clue what happened to him here. Maybe he's getting too old for this kind of vocal style. Surprisingly, he did an excellent vocal job on the songs Hammer Down The Nails and 'Til Death. At least there are a couple songs he did well on.
The second bad quality about this album is most of the songs are way too long. Almost every song is seven or eight minutes long, which is part of the reason why barely anyone could stay interested in this album for more than ten minutes. The shortest songs are a little over six minutes long. The reason why all the songs are so long is because the songs are supposed to be three or four minutes but each song is doubled so they become really long, which is rediculous!
Overall, this album was definitely not the best Vital Remains album, and could've been written much better, but it was alright. The album has its excellent qualities, but at the same time, there are the bad qualities that really brought it down, like Glen's awful vocals and the rediculous song lengths. Icons of Evil is decent enough to buy or listen to since the intense instrumentation makes up for its large flaws. Song highlights: Icons Of Evil, Scorned, Born To Rape The World, Hammer Down The Nails, and 'Til Death.