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After loving Dechristianize, I decided I'd give Icons of Evil a listen. I have a few complaints and praises for this album. First, for the complaints: shocking album art and Benton. Praises: the music itself.
The album art here is pretty bad. Not because "it OMG shows our Lord Jesus Christ" in such a demeaning manner, but because it simply looks clichéd and just downright stupid. The back is much better, but the photos of the band members are pretty lame. Benton, being the moron he is has dressed up in a suit of armour, similar to what we find in black metal. Lazaro is making a stupid facial expression at the camera and Suzuki looks stoned. So forget the awesome artwork that we have on Dawn and Dechristianize.
Benton puts in a pretty horrible vocal performance here. OK, so he did a decent job on the last album and probably friendships have developed so giving him the flick for a better vocalist probably wasn't really an option. I have never been a fan of his growls (or Benton for that manner), he has a pretty horrible growl and his high pitched vocals aren't anywhere as bad ass as they were on the last album, here they are simply average. His vocal performance on this album is dull, as with Araya from Slayer, maybe he is getting too old for this sort of thing? Oh well, at least his better than Chris Barnes.
The album isn't as aggressive as the last album but it's not far off. Suzuki again puts in an awesome performance as a guitarist, drummer and bass player. I have a lot of respect for this man because he is such a masterful musician and it certainly shows here. The solos and drumming is intricate and again, it’s a sheer pleasure to listen to. However, unlike the previous release, the songs simply aren't as interesting and when you have songs about 7 minutes long this can become a problem. Thankfully, the songs never became unbearably boring.
This is definitely a step backwards, I'm not too sure what to expect from subsequent release. I'm guessing it will either be a step backwards or the band may just stagnant and release Icons of Evil pt II. I think expecting another Dechristianize is wishful thinking because that was when the band was at their prime and those days are irretrievably behind them. If Dechristianze has left you hungry for more, I recommend you get this but know this; it is nowhere near as good as what Dechristianize had to offer.
Conclusion: The above is recommended for download or purchase.