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Vital Remains, the bombastic and overly satanic duo(trio if you include Mr. Benton) come back with a monster effort in 2007 with Icons of Evil. The riffs are great, the vocals are brutal, the drums are insane, the song strctures... are long.
This record would have gotten a grade in the 90s should it not be for the fact that everything is overdone here. Minus the Yngwie cover, there is nothing clocking in at less than 6 minutes here, and the songs suffer dearly from it.
Many songs seem to have been doubled up in that you have a structure that lasts about 3-4 minutes, there's a bridge and then you play the same 3-4 minutes of music to finish it off. This proves to be rather repetitive, and, dare I say it, over-brutal? Yes, I love death metal as much as the next guy, but this record is ALWAYS on hyper blast mode, to a point where you just become numb to it all and stop paying close attention.
As for the the actual playing? I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dave Suzuki, this guy is a fantastic drummer, with blast beats and rolls galore not to mention his sweep arpeggios and tastefully crafted lead lines. Benton is up to par on this, his vocals keeping up from Dechristianize and even Stench of Redemption. And given that he didn't write a single thing on this release, he delivers just fine. As for Tony Lazaro, his rythm playing is just fine, however his song structures are way too over the top and at some points excruciatingly long to a point where the listener just stops caring.
All this being said, the title track has some great riffs as well as "Born to Rape the World" and "Hammer down the Nails". If you liked Dechristianize you might like this. However, if you've moved on, these guys haven't.
I appreciate what Vital Remains tried to do here, write the biggest and baddest record ever. In one way they succeeded, as very few records can match the insane brutality put on display here. There is a limit however, and they definitely went overboard.