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The ideas had yet to fully form - 60%

Pathological_Frolic, April 2nd, 2008

Vehemence shall likely be remembered best as the band that crafted "God Was Created", a milestone in melodic death metal (Read: death metal with overt melodic elements; Not melodeath a la At The Gates). And it probably should remain this away, given how poorly their latest record is rated (I've not heard it) and how, well, mediocre this one is. It isn't horrible, but given expectations, I would expect far better from Vehemence.

For most bands, a first album can either be imbued with the same youthful spirit that permeated the musicians that drafted and recorded it, or it can be a clumsy assortment of misplaced or half-formed ideas, with songs that don't quite seem together. Albums that fall into the former include gems such as Slayer's Show No Mercy, Death's Scream Bloody Gore, or for a more modern example, Decapitated's Winds of Creation. Albums that fall into the latter are likely too numerous to name, but suffice to say, this one is among them.

In regard to specific criticisms of this album's elements, I would first draw attention to the production job. Strangely, I've no complaints concerning an inability to make audible the bass, as I'm able to hear it with no effort at all. In fact, it would seem the drums and the bass are quite high in the mix, whereas the guitar tone is quite subdued and difficult to hear. The vocals, however, are at the top of everything, and appear to exist on a separate sonic plane away from everything else, not actually fitting in with the music by the mere matter of it's placement.

Aside from production, the band is somewhat near what they would be doing on the next album, but not quite. One can easily descry that the same band that manufactured "God Was Created" is playing here, but as stated before, the ideas are not fully formed yet. The riffs, while still having a melodic feel, are still somewhat based in traditional/brutal death metal, not yet near the complete focus in an overt melody as it would soon be. And I think that was part of the problem. Either they had not quite shaken off such influences enough to attain that unique sound, or they were just trying to play something deliberately extreme. It reminds me of Cannibal Corpse, and that is not a good thing. Vocally, this album has less variation, mostly staying with the very guttural tone with some higher growls, and maybe screams, popping up every once in a while during a song.

The only other issue musically is that the songs come to feel very long, even though most do not exceed seven minutes. Unusually, the longest track is the most bearable, with it's odd delve into the progressive territory they would soon go into more fully. They might have been more tolerable condensed into about half the length they come up as, but then they'd only be quarter-formed ideas instead of half-formed ideas. Should one be expecting a concept album, you will be disappointed, as the lyrics available on this very site indicate. They read as typical gore lyrics with the perpetrator somewhat humanized in an odd fashion, an interesting idea, but the writing leaves something to be desired. This was my feeling on the concept of God Was Created as well: A great concept, but writing that did not quite fulfill it’s potential.

You may wonder why my scoring is not as low as it perhaps should be given my disposition thus far in this review. Essentially, I feel this album, while having many faults, was not entirely horrendous, and a stepping stone (A rough draft, perhaps) towards a great album. Would I advise buying this? Not really, even if you already have their other two works. If you're an absolute fanatic for this band and you MUST have everything they've ever done, well, I don't see how my review could sway you in any direction anyway, so just go get it!