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Deicide Ten Times Devilish - 90%

Petrus_Steele, July 13th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2003, CD, Century Media Records

My personal perspective on the band: I've heard a lot of stuff on how brutal and very extreme and explosive Vital Remains are and that they can sing a lot about Satanism and occultism in over five minutes. Very underrated as well. Either they record long albums or long songs - or both. Just by looking at the last two records (before the Glen era that is): Forever Underground has five songs above six minutes and they accumulate to more than 40 minutes of play. And Dawn of the Apocalypse, while it's almost an hour long, it's got six tracks that are above 8 minutes. That's insane! So the band is pretty known to make long albums and songs that can be easily sang about the suggested lyrical themes. And, of course, they're very brutal for the traditional standards of death metal.

That being said, part of the reason I'm only tuned into Glen's albums is because while they're seemingly famous, I only care to try them out because of Glen and his partake on Vital Remains, during his work between Scars of the Crucifix and The Stench of Redemption when he's in Deicide. A disappointing factor in not being interested about the band is because of the MANY lineup changes over the years. You first had the original vocalist, Jeff Gruslin, who was with the band up until their sophomore album, Into Cold Darkness. Then you had the second bassist, Joseph Lewis, taking over the vocals on Forever Underground. Then you had a vocalist coming out of nowhere nicknamed 'Thorn', in Dawn of the Apocalypse. Finally in the studio presence, you had Glen Benton on the last two albums (which are this record and the 2007 record, Icons of Evil, which was the last album the band has ever released). There are also deaths of other vocalist which made matters worse. Even though the vocals is a crucial part, there's also the many more lineup changes of the drums, guitars, and bass duties. Musicians just come and go like it's an everyday basic job - and that also adds why I was only interested in Glen's work because the albums with him have had a stable lineup.

Probably the most unstable band I've ever encountered, yet the themes are stable since day 1... Although not exactly an original member but Tony Lazaro is technically the ONLY original member left. Today, paired with a bassist since 2008 and Glen's vocals replacement since 2012, this is the current lineup, and today with a teenager (around my age) who's behind the kit since last year and a new guitarist who performs with the band live for a few months now.

When it comes to the genre the band plays, I've read that they've been blackened death metal in the beginning and only with Glen they went full speed ahead into death metal, brutalizing the traditional standards with prominent melodies and blazing blast beats. And while it's considered that Glen's part in the band is the band's most acclaimed work I think it's important for people who're interested in the band to check the rest of the discography. I'm all in for the brutal stuff that Glen added in with his respective line of work with Vital Remains.

Vital Remains had pretty different album covers before the Glen era. The first album shows deaths and Satan, while the second album was probably the most unorthodox and simplistic, yet I guess the most beautiful one; a wolf in the night with an aurora above. Then going back to Satan again twice more. This time as Glen joined the band, it's more about Jesus and crucifixions and specifically in this album cover showing the Romans or maybe it's Satan's army crucifying Jesus on a pentagram, killing him and raping women - unleashing all hell.

The album's length of songs is evenly recorded, the way I see it. While you have the two-minute prelude, you're presented with eight more long tracks: two songs that are almost six minutes - which are the shortest tracks, MIND YOU, then you have two songs of six minutes, two songs of seven minutes, one song of eight minutes (which is the opening track) and the final track which is a perfect ten-minute song. Some songs vary more than others in their substance and offer more music, but at least there's balance.

Let the Killing Begin is a two-minute prelude that features the first half of Carl Orff's famous O Fortuna, including dialogue from the movie The Greatest Story Ever Told - which you guess what it's already about. As O Fortuna's first part chaotically ends (which again was the only part used for the purpose of the album's introduction), Glen growls the title and commence dechristianization. The title track features blast beats blazing into the song with multiple screams and growls. The music isn't as fast as the overall drums, and Glen sounds a lot different and menacing than he is in Deicide. As prominent as the drums are, their mix is quite overwhelming throughout the entire song. The other instruments sound like background music (other than the very melodic guitar solo). The songs gets more melodic after said guitar solo until we're back to the intro's blazing blast beats until the song eventually ends with more melodies. Overall, not the best track this album has to offer. Infidel mostly consists of that nasty snare sound, technical guitar solos and simplistic guitar riffs. Doesn't offer much more other than that... which there's nothing to really look forward. The outro was the best part but obviously not enough to render this song good, therefore being the worst song on the album. Not necessarily a bad track, but the longest track on the album, Entwined by Vengeance is substantially long and features pretty good rhythms and melodies, as well as acoustic guitars - but I think it was also too long. If it was eight minutes for the most part by cutting some parts that sounded repetitive, then it would've been a better track to listen and like.

From Devoured Elysium the album only gets better with each track. In its simplicity Devoured Elysium wasn't bad. The guitar riffs and melodies were much better than the first two tracks, the drums sounded more creative, and Glen didn't sound so bad himself. Savior to None... Failure for All features much more explosiveness and catchy music. It's more guitar-orientated at that and I liked the slick main riff outro. Vital Remains's best track (at least for the Glen era) would have to be Unleashed Hell for its unleashed brutality, and let's not forget that fucking awesome intro lyrics in Portuguese: "Vai pro diabo seu filho da puta!", which translates to "Go to hell you son of a bitch!". As for the actual song in regards to its brutality, it's got more complex riffing and engaging guitar solos and melodies, the snare is heavily consisted, and Glen sounds like a maniac. I believe Rush of Deliverance offers the most guitar melodies and the rhythm sounds way better. Glen's death growls were much more brutal as well. At War with God would have to be the most brutal track on the album and definitely the best track on the album. Sure it's got less guitar melodies, but offers a hell of a lot more brutality from Glen and the drums. This shows the gem of this album lies between the fourth and eight track.

Dave Suzuki for the most part perfected this album with his multi-instrumental work, which I think is why this album is acclaimed. I've read that he basically prioritized using more melodies and adding even keyboards and acoustic guitars since he joined; it's like he took control over this so-called project. But overall, well done, sir! Too bad the bass is barely even audible. It's as if there wasn't any bass recorded.

There's a reason why this album is acclaimed by the majority of fans. It delivered and was a change in the sound. The band went for fierce brutality and insanity, the music is sonic and challenging, and with Glen's presence in Vital Remains and although it's just two albums vs twelve or thirteen more from Deicide, and even when the lyrical themes are similar, Vital Remains sounds ten times better than Deicide. But as all things must come to an end, so as this very particular one-time record since the Glen's sophomore album with the band is blasphemy. Best tracks are Savior to None... Failure for All, Unleashed Hell, and At War with God.

Glen Benton has Arrived - 85%

Stained Glass Assassin, February 22nd, 2019

"Dechristianize" is Vital Remains' 5th studio album and the first with front man, Glen Benton of the legendary Deicide. Now, being a huge Deicide fan as well as a Vital Remains fan, this was a no brainier for me.

First, the vocals are what you would expect from Glenn Benton, so if you're expecting some sort of transition of sound or vocal style, you won't find it here. Secondly, the music on this release is straight evil. The speed at which the songs are played is insane. Machine gun drumming with riffs upon riffs and solos that would make Satan stop and head bang. The guitars on this release are killer. Speed aside, their sound is varied throughout the album. Yes, they can play the classic death chug riff well enough, but they are not limited to just plodding along with a single sound. At times their style is very melodic and even technical to a degree, making them, in my opinion the true highlight of this album. I suppose you can't have one without the other in that Benton's vocals, combined with insane drumming and fantastic guitars make for a very enjoyable release.

I can't in good conscious end without mentioning the most notable aspect of this album: the length. "Dechristianize" is 9 songs (one being an intro), 60 minutes. The biggest complaint this album has is that, the songs are simply too long. That the songs start strong, but they lose their luster because of the length. On one hand I agree. Many of these songs may have benefited from being two minutes shorter than they are, as a few tend to drag on a bit, but I don't think that makes them unlistenable. That being said, I am quick to point out Vital Remains' "Let Us Pray" and "Forever Underground". These two albums are held in high regards throughout death metal circles and yet, the songs on those albums (particularly "Forever Underground") are pretty lengthy as well. I enjoyed those albums, so I'm not going to complain about song length on any one of Vital Remains' albums. Is this a perfect album? Nope. Do the lengths of the songs take away from the overall sound? Yes and no, but it's not as though the songs are a constant rehash of the same riff for 7 minutes or are bloated with three minutes of samples or long drawn funeral doomesque guitar sections. I was a fan when I picked this up in college and I'm still a fan of this album today.

Highlights: "Dechristianize" "Rush of Deliverance" "Devoured Elysium"

Into the Abyss of Oblivion

This Should Convert Some People - 90%

DarknessShadows666, July 23rd, 2015

Vital Remains is an American death metal band that formed in 1988. I never listened to any of their albums that came before or after this one, but I heard they were a pretty good band. Since I am a fan of Deicide, it also convinced me to check them out when I saw that Glen Benton was in the band once. When I heard this, I was blown away and I could see why this gets praise. I don't enjoy this album as much as I enjoy Deicide but it's still pretty great and I recommend this to death metal fans and Deicide fans.

Glen Benton is an awesome vocalist in my opinion. His growls are low and brutal and his shrieks really pack a punch. He does growls more than shrieks but when he does do shrieks, they're amazing. It's hard to believe he is an actual human, because he sounds like a demon that came out of Hell. If you like Glen Benton's performance in Deicide, there's no doubt you will like him here.

The title of this album, as well as the artwork, kind of gives away the lyrical content. The lyrical content deals with anti-religious/Satanic topics, which shouldn't be a surprise either since it has Glen Benton from the aforementioned Deicide. I happen to enjoy the lyrics and this should please you if you like lyrics that bash Christianity. If you can at least tolerate those kinds of lyrics, these shouldn't bother you and if you hate Christianity-bashing lyrics, you'll hate these. Every song on the album has the same lyrical themes so this may get tiring for you, but if you don't mind repetition that much, this shouldn't bother you.

The instrumentation is pretty complex and fast and I really enjoy the guitar playing. While the guitar playing is melodic, it sounds very evil too, which is very fitting, considering the music they're playing. There are some great solos that are pretty melodic and they certainly take some skill to play. The guitars also have that distorted, dirty sound that pretty much most death metal has. The drumming is very fast with a lot of blast beats. The drums are also triggered, so you will hear some clicking but if you can get past that, then the triggers shouldn't bother you too much. They also have a tinny sound to them, which I'm not really a fan of that sound but I think it sounds okay sometimes. It's alright here, but it tends to get annoying sometimes. Sadly, this caused the album to lose some points but aside from that, I find the drumming to be pretty enjoyable. The bass is nowhere to be heard, so I'm not even going to talk about that. The production for this album is great, since it makes the album really heavy and it also adds some grit to the instruments. The mixing is good for the most part, since I can hear every instrument just fine except for the bass but I'm used to that anyway.

So overall, this is an awesome record with great vocals, blasphemous lyrics, solid instrumentation, heavy production and good mixing. I can see myself buying this if I come across a copy and I would recommend this to fans of death metal (more specifically, fans of bands in the genre like Deicide and Morbid Angel). If you hate death metal, I don't recommend this at all, since it's very unlikely to actually change your mind. A standout track for me is "Savior to None... Failure for All...."

Charles Dickens of death metal - 25%

hailmarduk666, April 15th, 2013

In the 19th century, Charles Dickens got paid by the word, which is how he made his living as a novelist. It's fair to say, that is why his novels are so excruciatingly long, and extremely verbose. Here we have the musical equivalent, a one hour long monster, over the course of 9 tracks (one being an intro). From the very beginning, there is a contrived feeling, and a sense of artificiality. This artificial epic-ness pervades the entire album, and coupled with the bloated nature of the songs, makes for a painfully overlong, and dull listening experience.

Right from the start, this album drips cheesy anti-Christian sentiment. While listening to the cliche Carl Orff "O, Fortuna" score coupled with an interrogation of Jesus by Pilate finishing with "Let the killing begin!!!!" I am disgusted. Every track is about the same thing, lyrically. Christians are the scourge of the earth, and must be eradicated... Blah, blah, blah. If you want to find a laughable album on the opposite end of the spectrum regarding cheesy lyrics, check out "Hammer of God" by Mortification. They are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but no less horrendous in lyrical content. It is evil for the sake of evil, just like Mortification is Jesus-freak Bible-thumping for the same damn purpose.

The music is no less laughable, and despite the fact that there are a few good riffs here and there, a gross conceptual error has occurred regarding layout of the tracks, and how many damn times the band can recycle riffs before it just gets annoying. This is brutally apparent on the first musical track, which could be chopped down by several minutes easily, but instead repeats over and over again. This is not epic in any shape or form. It's regurgitation to try to cover for lack of songwriting. Every track has the same general features: a melody-less set of stanzas, a semi-solo that sounds the exact same in every song, and lots of repetition.

The guitars on this album are good for the title track. Once you've heard "Dechristianize", you've heard them all. The riffs are extremely muddled, and drowned out by the incessant blasting of the drums, and Benton's voice. The solo portions are dueling guitars that sound pretty nice, but again, they are the exact same formula found on every track. They are good on "Dechristianize" but get boring as hell from track 3 onward. The drums are no less one-dimensional. It is blast beats a la Mortician... so fast you would think there's some studio magic going on. The bass drums are so fast, it sounds like a hum and the snare sounds like a woodpecker on meth. Throw in a cacophony of cymbal crashes and mind numbing fills, that's basically the drum work. Fast for the sake of it, and contrived as all get-out. Benton again, is par for the boring course. He just growls his standard deep croak, with a higher pitched scream overdubbed here and there, but otherwise just plain boring.

I'm not quite sure what people see in this album. I think it's basically a cookie-cutter, overbloated mass of over-produced shit. There is no thought put into any aspect of this album. From vocals, to musicianship, to lyrical content, this album is about as shallow as a kiddie pool. I'll give some points for the title track, because it's the first time I heard what was to be an endless cycle for the rest of the album, and somewhat held my attention. If you are some kind of masochist, who likes to put themselves through aural pain, here is your golden ticket. If you are looking for some quality death metal, look elsewhere. If Benton is the only reason you gave a shit about this band (the only reason I ever heard of them was due to Glen), then get your hands on some early '90s Deicide. Otherwise, avoid this.

only a few tricks here, but they go a long way - 86%

ben_parker, January 10th, 2009

Vital Remains has a weird lineup: the drummer also plays all the lead guitar parts. I wouldn't want to be the other guy, trying to explain to my friends what exactly it is I do in this metal band. Can you imagine being the guitarist in a two-man band and *still* not being the "lead" guitarist? Also, on this record, Glenn Benton from Deicide stepped in to provide vocals.

The three things to take away from this album: 1) the new sensation that maybe Glenn from Deicide should not be a punchline any more (after famously proclaiming he would commit suicide, and then living to ruin Deicide); 2) the drumming is outrageously fast and "clicky"--even by death metal expectations! 3) all the blasting death metal parts seem to exist only to provide a framework for some beautiful, flowery guitar passages (but no solos).

The first song, after the obligatory garbage spooky intro, is the title track, which puts all the album's strengths on the table: ridiculously fast drumming, ornate and memorable "pretty" guitar work, and some vicious slow mosh parts. The band basically juggles these elements for six to ten minutes on all their songs, occasionally (as in the title track) combining the swooning technical lead guitar with slower "breakdown" rhythms. This often feels like the goal of their songs, and the basic death metal stuff can seem like just a means for getting there. But just as often, the reverse is true: the incredibly brutal, unornamented death metal is very appealing, and stopping for sigh... another woozy lead break can seem a distraction. Especially since there are very few ripping solos (one is to be found in "Infidel")--and so these stand-out parts can start to sound very similar.

At an hour of music, with only three or so tricks in the bag, Dechristianize is far too long. Neither the songs nor the album build to anything--at best, it is a collection of "neat parts." But, it's always catchy, and sometimes it is very very catchy. It's neither a "grower" nor is it dumbed down.

Score: 86/100
Best songs: "Dechristianize," "Rush of Deliverance," "Devoured Elysium"

originally published on: http://payingattentiontometal.blogspot.com

A Flawed Classic - 80%

brocashelm, January 1st, 2009

Relentless.

This blasting, epic death metal is quite a style shift for Vital Remains, and reversed the process of much of their earlier work. While still featuring quite long and involved songs, a lot of time here is spent in heads down speed blasts, which takes away some of the flowing, dynamic qualities of their earlier work. That said, as with all VR releases this is nothing if not highest quality both in production and muscianship, and there are very memorable passages and melodic barbs within much of this material. But I gotta admit that more carefully composed oldies like "Malevolent Invocation," "Immortal Crusade" and "Flag Of Victory" are more meorable on a song for song basis thatn anything on Dechristianize.

And what about Benton, superstar death metal vocalist supreme? He adds little, excepting competence, to the VR canon. Much like the music itself, his sub-sonic growls blur the contents into homogenity fairly often.

As I mentioned before, there is still lots here to like, the Suzuki and Lazaro team being pretty much incapable of failure. But I totally understand the legitimate complaints this album, and moreso Icons Of Evil, have drawn.

Completely Dechristianized pt II - 100%

WilliamAcerfeltd, December 4th, 2008

When I got Dawn of the Apocalypse, I was expecting a solid dose of ass kickery. This was never delivered. Overall, I came away from the experience disappointed. For whatever reason, I decided I'd check out Vital Remain's next release. I haven't had this album for long but already I've spent more time with it than Dawn of the Apocalypse. Why? Because this album is much better than their previous release.

Dawn of the Apocalypse displayed the signs of a band that were just about to reach their prime. After listening to this album, it is obvious Dechristianize is the bands best release.

One of my main complaints about Dawn was that it simply wasn't heavy enough. This on the over hand is. This album is much more aggressive and heavier than Dawn.

Thorn was a pretty good vocalist but with him gone, Glen Benton has taken his place. Thorn set the bar pretty high vocally and I'm not a fan of Glen Benton's vocals personally. I'm not sure why the guy who does live vocals didn't do vocals on this album. Anyway, Glen releasing he'd have to give one of his best vocal performances to match Thorn's performance certainly stepped up to the challenge. Like Thorn, he has to ranges, high pitched and deep. His deep are OK here, unlike on the next release, his vocals really became irritating after awhile. The high pitched screams on this album are down right bad ass. I would even go as far too say he beats Thorn in the high pitched range.

The solos here are awesome on this album, where as on Dawn; I never really liked them that much. They are extremely complicated and show off Dave's skill as a guitarist. The drums are also played by Suzuki as was the case with the previous release. Again, the drums are extremely complicated and a pleasure to listen too. It certainly proves that Suzuki is the backbone of this band. I dare say without him, they'd suck. I am extremely jealous of Suzuki, mainly because he is mind-blowing at both guitar and drums. I am jealous that I will never be as good as him at guitar, let alone drums/bass.

As a side note, I really like the album artwork. This is just another reason why you should buy this album rather than just downloading it.

To conclude, this is an excellent death metal album and is the album where the band peaked. It is extremely aggressive and heavy and this makes up for the disappointment of the previous release. Glen Benton may be a retard, but it shouldn't stop you from listening to this.

Conclusion: The above is recommended for purchase only.

Awe-inspiring on the first listen, but grows dull. - 72%

bfte666, June 5th, 2007

Most of my friends (including myself) experienced a similar reaction upon first listen to Dechristianize, they were completely blown away. This album, upon the first play, is one of the most intense recordings to be beheld. The album is practically a hyperblast of brutality. But upon future listens, the awe withers away to boredom.

The album's main problem and biggest hindrance is the fact that the songs are just too long. The tracks average around 8-10 minutes in length. The band plays fast, brutal music, which by the end of 10 minutes, starts to make you feel sick to your stomach. The songs will break occasionally for epic melodic parts. These parts, while a nice touch, do little to alleviate the psychological strain of the other 6-8 minutes of brutal death metal.

The main cause of the monotony is the drumming. A majority of the album is composed of Dave Suzuki gravity-blasting (which is a combination of a blastbeat and a one-handed roll) and performing a continuous stream of ultra-fast double-bass rolls. Those who have not heard this type of drumming are likely to be floored, while those who are familiar with it are likely to note that his drums are triggered to hell and high water and that it sounds really clicky, detracting from what would otherwise be an intense drum sound. The drum beats are repetitive, and after an hour, can become rather boring (however kudos to Dave Suzuki for his stamina, he never lets up).

The guitar playing is well-executed. Dave Suzuki and Tony Lazaro play mostly standard death metal fare, though a few melodic breaks add a nice touch. There is some crazy shredding on Dave's part as well; but again, due to the lengthiness of the recordings, the riffs all start to sound similar after a while. The bass playing seems buried in the mix, so I can't really comment on it much.

Glen's vocals, like always, kill. His guttural growls are sinister, while his high shrieks are well delivered. However, the samey feel of the longs still prevails.

In short, Dechristianize is the kind of album that would be better as a single. While the album itself suffers from a lack of ideas and creativity, upon first listen, it's certainly impressive. A bit more creativity on behalf of the artist would make that satisfaction last longer.

Fucking Brutal! - 80%

invaded, November 8th, 2006

I actually bought this album when it first came out, but kind of disregarded it for some reason and eventually ended up losing it somehow. However I just picked it up lately and must say that this is one of the most brutal records I have ever heard. The riffs are heavy as shit, fthe drums are ridiculous, although I think there might have been some tampering in that area, looping pherhaps. There are constant blasts well exceeding 200bpm as they also shift gears at a frantic pace.

Glen Benton's vocals are just as ferocious here as they ever have. Deicide were going through a rough patch of albums at the time and this was a bit of a comeback for him, as it put his credibility back on the map. Benton pulls his old double tracking tricks again mixing the highs and lows to produce a satanic screech.The guitar work stands out easily as it is technical, yet this element of it doesn't overshadow the songs. The lead work is precise and melodic. Dave Suzuki is a well known shredder and he proves it once again on this release. If you mix all of these musical elements together, you get a crushing record.

The only thing that is reprochable here is that some of these songs are just too long. The shortest track here is "Devoured Elysium" which clocks in at a healthy 5:44. Thus being said, I also believe this to be the best song on the record. The breakdown riff at the midpoint is just jaw-dropping and induces intense headbanging.

Al lthe songs here are very good, they are simply a bit too long. definitely a worthy pickup for anyone who is looking to get their skull bashed by some brutal death metal.

Completely Dechristianized - 98%

Headbangingcorpse, November 19th, 2004

Wow. I didn’t realize how incredible “Dechristianize” was until I actually bought it. I’ve heard some good things about this band, particularly this album, but I never really looked into it that much. I barely heard any of Vital Remains’ old shit, so I cannot tell you anything about this band previously, but I can tell you about their newest release.

Basically, “Dechristianize” is very anti-Christian death metal with bits and pieces of harmony, which really make this album a whole. The brilliant musicianship is just astonishing.

I was in awe from the vocals. They are fucking brutal and shred every piece of innocence that comes their way. Glen Benton uses angry guttural screaming and also really satanic screeching which sound so evil you just want to beat someone mercilessly so they bleed profusely. I also found out that Benton really fucking hates Christianity, which is quite obvious when you read lines such as “God, you fucking whore”, or “Celebrate the annihilation of the Christian, his words are meaningless to me”. You get the point.

The guitar work is un-fuckin’-believable. The riffs are fast, brutal, and catchy, everything a metal head wants, right? (Well, almost). Though the majority of this CD is like that, there is some melody in basically every song. In my opinion it tops everything off perfectly. Sometimes it’s almost as if the melody is to give you a break from all the brutality. There are also some sweet solos that will make you want to cry like an overworked abused housewife, except in a happy way.

The drumming is insanely fast. Dave Suzuki actually used technology to speed up some of the blast beats, but he is still an incredible drummer. There are a lot of different beats and speeds, and some are quite catchy, when combined with the rhythmic vocals and riffs.

“Dechristianize” is really an amazing album, and I should’ve paid more attention to it earlier. The 3 members all did a fantastic job, especially Glen Benton, and I’m probably going to look into Deicide more because of his flawless job here. A score of 98 goes to Vital Remains’ latest album, for its awesomeness. Brutal and brilliant vocals, fast rhythmic drumming, and catchy riffs-and the intro is evil as fuck. Go out and buy this CD, even if you’re Christian!!!

Stand outs: Basically all of them, but the best are Devoured Elysium, Unleashed Hell, Rush of Deliverance, At War With God, and Entwined By Vengeance. \m/

Deserves the hype... Awesome - 97%

Dumdum, October 15th, 2004

This Vital Remains album is a breath of fresh air. It is a multitude of different concepts all familiar to death metal, but not usually all put onto one project.
There’s the high profile vocalist, the technical arrangements of both drums and guitars. The barrage of blasting and double bass frenzies. And (and this is the kicker) the melodious solos and fills that adorn each and every track.
It appears that some listeners don’t agree with the intermixing of melody and barrage blasting, but, for me, its that very blending of the two that makes this album stand out ! If it were say, Napalm Death circa 1990, then yes, to have a melody moment lasting 30 seconds to a minute would sound horrific (in the bad sense), but this blending of extreme speed and brutality, edged with a “catchy” and quite exhilarating passage of solo guitar work gives each track an epic and quite lofty feel. The tunes are all epic anyway (as most are around 6 minutes long, with some as long as 8 and 10 minutes).
Having Glen Benton as lead vocalist can’t have done V.R. any harm at all, and being a traditional underground band, they have elevated their status and audience, but without sacrificing any of their musical concepts or lyrical beliefs.
If you didn’t know, V.R. are not big fans of God! Think Deicide with knobs on as far the lyrical content goes. I’m not a big fan of the ultra blasphemous rhetoric, I find it a bit cheesy and childish, not really having an opinion on Christianity or Devil Worship.
What I do know is Benton is bawling out of his satanic skin on this disk. His growling is thunderous. In everyway, he puts more effort into this project than he has on recent Deicide albums. And that is only a good thing!
Dave Suzuki’s Drumming on this disk needs to be heard to be believed. It defies the ears to believe that a man can bash those skins so fast! My only problem is the drums are a little high in the mix, and sometime detract from the over all effect of the songs, but this is a very minor fault, and they don’t drown everything else out.
The guitar work is also of the highest calibre, Dave Suzuki providing the lead work and bass (he really gets around). The solos are masterful, and not what you would expect at all. They are wailing, well constructed pieces, that harmony with the rhythm and create a focal point of interest in the middle of some very turbulent music.
Every track on this album is a quality listen (unless you only listen to sub 2 minute grind, then you’ll hate it!).
I would recommend this to everyone and anyone. A brutal, ultra fast blast-fest, blended with almost serene guitar solos, and hacking hate filled growling.
Buy it!

The best Death-album of 2003...! - 97%

Herbstleyd, September 28th, 2004

With Deicide, most people tend to have a love/hate relationship, mostly thanks to the controversial nature of Glen Benton. Sadly, a lot of people have a tendency to carry their feelings towards Deicide with them in their opinion of Vital Remains, the other band (now) featuring Glen's insane vocals .

Which they really shouldn't. Because Vital Remains are great. This Century Media release is, In my humble opinion, easily the best Death-release of 2003, maybe only contended by Blood Red Throne's "Affiliated With the Suffering".

This album features Benton on insane growling propanganda, David Suzuki takes care of pretty much everything else; bass, the (occasionally very triggered) drums and lead guitar, while Tony Lazaro plays rhythm guitar.

The CD starts out with a small audio-segment depicting the crucifixion of Jesus, and rolls straight into the very aggresive and fast-pounding title-track "Dechristianize"; by now you have probably guessed the lyrical focalpoint of VR.

Like it or not, the songs all range from 6-10 minutes(except the intro), with an average of around 6½ minutes. This makes for a pretty untraditional Death Metal release, with very long solo passages allowing Lazaro and Zuzuki to display their supreme guitar-abilities.
While some might argue that this sometimes boarders on too long solos, I feel it is a delight to hear the musicians unfold all their skills.

One of my only problems with the album is the tendency to use some rather silly lyrics at times, but unlike most metal-people, I tend to believe that Benton really does hate this god-guy, making it acceptable.


As you've probably already figured out with my title, I think this is a very recommendable album; and if you have reservations about Benton, forget them for one hour and listen through Dechristianize. You might like it.

Get thee behind me, Yahweh! - 41%

Cheeses_Priced, August 31st, 2004

This is the first Vital Remains album I’ve heard in its entirety. This is probably the first Vital Remains album for a lot of people, due to their being picked up by Century Media and perhaps even more importantly, taking on Deicide’s Glen Benton as lead vocalist – cue the frantic hype.

So I guess I got suckered in along with everyone else checking out this band for the first time. Luckily, I downloaded instead of shelling out cash, but I still should have known better. I’m sure I would have been better served and more satisfied if I’d gone back and started with one of their older albums. It seems like they surely must have been better than this...

The album kicks off with a boring and overlong (1:59) intro, which sets the tone for the rest of the proceedings in more ways than one. After that, it jumps directly into the title track which is, incidently, probably the best song on the album, and a pretty good idea of what to expect for the remainder of the running time: fast, very straightforward riffing over martial blastbeats - nothing really fancy in the song structure - and it manages to drag out to an unjustifiable 8:56 running time. It actually reminds me of a domesticated version of Krisiun, although Krisiun command a great deal more power and violence in their music than this, at least on their better days. Glen Benton does well, as expected, although he's sort of rhythmically boring compared to the old Deicide... actually, what really sticks out to me is the insane drumming, which is easily the best thing about this album. It's just absolutely outstanding; you really have to hear it to believe. Anyhow, the Krisiun comparison fades away when the melody that starts at about 2:45 hits. Similar melodic segments appear all over the album, forming its trademark, and are apparently intended to set the music here apart from typical death metal.

“Melody”, for those of you unfamiliar with the word, is an important musical concept first invented by Iron Maiden some time in the early to mid eighties, and later perfected by Swedish bands in the late nineties. It mainly involves heavily-produced lead guitars playing sugary sequences of notes and simple harmonies, with special attention towards making sure that everyone in your potential audience, including anyone who might be afflicted with severe brain damage, will have no difficulty whatsoever following your music. That’s what I’ve managed to infer by reading the copy generated by other metal reviewers and label promo departments, anyway.

All sarcasm aside, any claims that the lead guitar work on this album is really adding any originality or emotion can be dismissed out of hand. Very few metal bands seem to have the capability to write very distinctive melodies, or they just don’t bother. To my ears, here on this album they’re as typical as anything one might hear on a metal album, although they might surprise people who expect all death metal albums to sound like the inside of a car engine (that is, they make the music more “accessible”, yay). Vital Remains aren’t even the first “real death metal” band to take a shot at incorporating this kind of guitar style, and they surely won’t be the last. My half-serious theory is that as “successful” NWOSDM bands move closer to nu-metal, brutal death metal bands are sliding into Gothenburg territory to pick up the slack. Who really knows.

But back to the title track: being the best song on the album, it gets the best flowery guitar melody. That’s not to say it’s actually particularly great, but it’s at least pretty catchy and helps to keep me entertained for the full nine minutes, and I guess that was the idea. I’ll probably keep that song after I delete the rest of the album (but then again, I have a few ABBA mp3s)... Century Media’s offering it for free, so make sure you download it out if you’re at all interested. The rest of the album is similar, as I said, but since they used up their best melody on the first song, it’s a bit of a challenge to sit through. In fact, you might say I told a minor fib when I said I’d heard the entire album in its entirety at the beginning of the review, because although I have listened to every single song a few times, I don’t think I’ve actually managed to sit straight through the entire thing even once. It's not exactly awful; I'm just not interested in what the band's doing. It's too streamlined for its own good.

In fact, this is about what pops into my mind whenever I think of Century Media: middle-of-the-road, very crowd-pleasing metal, with very clean production and probably a sticker on the case advertising its connection to another more popular band and tossing in a couple quotes from Kerrang or Terrorizer for good measure. I don’t know for sure about the sticker, as I haven’t made it into the local Sam Goody lately, but I can vouch for it being sort of... blah.

Yeeeaaahhhhh! - 95%

darkandfoul, August 22nd, 2004

I know what I like, and I like this. The first thing I noticed about the album was the drumming. Whoa, fast!?! Yes, insanely fast. There’s been some speculation as to the way the drumming was recorded. Some say it was recorded and then sped up, which accounts for the high pitch of the snare. Others claimed it was a drum machine (nonsense!). Some say the drums were recorded, then the blast beats evened out. But I say it doesn’t matter, coz the totally insane drumming on this album sounds great, no matter how it was done! The other stand out for me is the length of the songs. Each is an epic, the shortest song (other than the intro) still clocking in at over five minutes.

Yes, the songs are fast. Yes, the album as a whole is totally brutal. But that’s not what makes this a good album (nor should it be). What does make this a great album is the intensity, the anger, aggression and hatred that spews forth from each song. At the same time, the guitars are surprisingly melodic for such a brutal album. Glen Benton’s voice is perfect, and you can feel his passion for the words he sings. This is a great release, and puts to shame Glen Benton’s last few efforts with Deicide.

Overall, this album is a killer. There’s no relent to the onslaught of the fast, epic length songs… just don’t attempt any head banging while listening to this, coz you may throw your neck out, permanently.

Why in christ's name is this a legend. - 75%

AzzMan, June 10th, 2004

I love lots of DM. I still don't see why VR get so much hail, though. On this album, we see a metal "Classic," Glen Benton of Deicide on vox. We got Suzuki on the horribley unsuppressed blasting, and that other guy on the guitars.

Now the riffs are the only GOOD thing here. The vocals are meh, but alot better than seen on Deicide's ST at least. Personally I haven't heard enough of his materials to flat out say he sucks, but I didn't care for Deicide-- I can safely say that.

The riffs and solos are awesome. Straight from epic hell, coming into bust your skull to pieces, they do that well. Not a SINGLE problem to be seen here, but I guess in a few places they DO tend to drag on a bit...

Vocally the album has subpar vox, but in some points they do this dual vocal thing... adn it's just incredible. I cannot fathom how they made it that cool, but they did. Benton's lyrics are horrible, too, I might add. His inverted cross means nothing since he's probably not a satanist and it's fucking stupid anyway. The lyrics are just that- stupid. Everything revolves around the death of Christ, and destroying Christinaity, the same thing we hear every goddamn day. I gotta admit, they did give it a bit more flare here, though. Using more 'complex' words, so to speak, made it not the same "RORO SATAN" shit- an interesting twist that didn't quite save it anyway.

The drumming is horrible. It is shit. It is bad and bad incarinate. CLICKCLICKCLICKCLICK is all I hear. So much blasting... if they had kind of thrown it under a bit more, it woudl have really complemented everything but instead the blasting kind of makes everything sound... bad. That's why I deducted quite a few points. It makes this layer of clicking sounds that just make it hard to listen to without getting a headache.

Track by track, the opening is pretty meh IMO, the title track deserves its crown, the third and fourth are both pretty good, the fifth is really good.. the rest are meh.

I can withstand the lyrics of any band. But not drumming that fucking blasting. It's a shame, because everything else is too good. It's worth getting if you can withstand the goddamn clicking tha made it hard to listen to the whole album to review it... so I'd reccomend getting a few tracks to hear first.

Love hate relationship with this album. - 75%

Symphony_Of_Terror, March 16th, 2004

At times I absolutly love this album, and at times I absolutly hate it. To make my dilema even worse is that its not half the songs I love, half the songs I hate...its half a song I love, half of it I hate. That is, I love the first minute, hate the next, love the next 30 seconds, hate the rest and love the ending of this song. The albums moments of greatness are sparatic and unstable. I will totaly love the guitars at one point....then they will take a backseat to the drums which I totaly love, then there will be some great drumming totaly out of place.

My opinion on this album is sound from start to finish, my thoughts of love hate manifest themselves in the songs from the first song Dechristianize and the last song Entwined By Vengeance. The guitars on this album never get bad and are often amazing, the solo's, riffs, and rest of the guitar work have intensity and passion. I thoroughly enjoy them most of the time, the times I do not enjoy them is usually when they take a backseat to something else like vocals and drums, so I don't tend to notice them. The drums on this album provide amazing support at times adding to the portions of this album I love. The drums also do something that makes me want to stop listening to this album at times too. They seem to try to take precidence over the song, and in attempting to do so they put to much attention on themselves. The drumming is great, at times thought its way to overkill. There will be the guitars doing something amazing, then the damn drums trying to do something amazing. These instruments should try to be working togther, and half the time they do to make some great death metal. But the times they don't are just as often. They vocals, drums, guitars will all be doing their own amazing thing it takes away from the song. When there is a guitar solo, the drums work well with it. Then sometimes the drums just do their own thing at its distracting from the song.

The vocals don't provide this same distraction, or any distraction at all. I have never been a fan of Glenn Benton or his vocals. This album showcases Glen Bentons typical mediocre vocals. I just have a high standard for vocals since my favorite death metal bands being Amon Amarth and Behemoth do some amazing vocal work. Mr Benton's here are just plain average and I don't play Dechristianize for them.

What I do play Decrhistianize for is its amazing moments when the intense guitar and drumming come together and make some great music. Which is often on this album. What I stop playing it for is the inonsistency in this albums greatness. I am always going to be torn over this album and I will never absolutly love every minute of it. As Death metal its great, as Death metal it has it flaws, but I do keep coming back to listening to it because its moments (long moments) of greatness outweigh its horrid moments by much. These are my opinions and I have valid reasons for them Like I have explained. Overall its not a bad release, its rather good, but not how much its been hyped up to be. My score is derived from I love half of it, hate the other half....but the moments I love outwieght the shorter moments I hate, so I gave it added points.

Glen Benton's Pulp Fiction - 99%

the_MoRTiCiAN, February 8th, 2004

If Pulp Fiction will forever be known as the movie that “shot john Travolta’s struggling career “(and Uma Thurman’s chest) then Dechristianize will forever be known as the album that features Glen Benton’s return to serious brutality and unholy satanic death metal. Although Glen has never compromised his satanic beliefs and Deicide’s style, his last few releases (in Deicide) have been nothing more then average records. But in this release he shows the same kind of form he showed on Deicide’s s/t album. However, this is a Vital Remains review so let’s stop talking about Deicide and get back to Vital Remains….

This album fucking shreds. It is soo evil sounding. When I listen to it I feel like brutally raping a priest then nailing him to an inverted cross. Oh geeeze. It’s got some serious bottom end to it. Dave Suzuki is amazing behind the kit. He has conquered the drums with precision and offers some voracious blast beats and Gatlin gun sounding double bass work. Tony Lazaro delivers (as always) with some unholy guitar work and technical riffing. He even designed his own guitar shaped like an Inverted cross. (If u haven’t seen a pic of it yet, check out Yavcon’s website. It looks awesome.) And of course how can we forget Glen Benton on vocals. They are amazing. Definitely one of the highlights of the album. His voice sounds as good as it ever has, maybe even the best. Low growls and that patented Glen Benton satanic shriek, that no one can come close to matching. (For those who hate it when death metallers shriek, when Glen does it, it’s kool.)

As I usually do, I will not single out the best track on the album, because in reality they are all a potential 10 out of 10. Even the intro “Let the Killing Begin.” It is probably one of the best intros ever created. It fits in beautifully with the satanic theme of rest of the album. Sheer Class.

p.s. the cover artwork is also worth noting. Although it is a poor decision to judge a record by its cover. In Dechristianize’s case I would do just that. The cover is awesome. Extremely blasphemous and effective. Kudos to whoever drew it. (im not talking about the paper case it comes in, but the hard case cover. The one drawn in red)

A Great Album - 90%

Blade_Golem, December 3rd, 2003

This is the newest album by Vital Remains, being someone who hasn’t heard anything from their back catalogue I was in for a surprise when I heard this CD. I'd been hearing it hyped up as a great CD for a few months, so I ordered it (after a bit of research of course). It came in a few days ago, and I've been listening to it quite often since, to let it sink it so I can properly review it. Initially, after the first listen that exposed me to this CD I thought it was great. I still do to be honest, but now it seems better. This CD, if it can pass the test of time and repeated listens, will definitely be going on my top 10 CD's list which is a hard place to reach. In addition, it's already on my top 10 of the year list, I'll tell you why now: The album is great, it's straight-forward death metal injected with melody, and the album is consistent the whole way through.

From start to finish this CD is quality, with only a few flaws. The main flaw may be the intro "Let The Killing Begin" which I believe really sets the feel for the whole album, but some may see it as a waste of space. One other flaw is the lyrics, they are nothing extraordinary just standard death metal fare. Despite this, they are sure to make anyone who holds a grudge against Christianity, or religion in general happy. Personally I see no problem with them, but they are nothing stellar either.

Now that I’ve covered what I see as flaws I’ll get to the good things about this album. Glen Benton is on vocals on this album and his vocals are strong, they remain consistent throughout the whole album he uses two vocal styles, his well-known deep-throated growl, and a higher pitched shriek. (scream would be a better word, perhaps?) It should be noted that he uses this shriek more often than he does in Deicide so fans expecting a typical performance from him are in for a surprise. Another good thing about this album is the song writing, it has been done with some work put into it clearly, and doesn‘t allow for any over-simplified guitar riffs or anything of the like.

At this point, I think it’s time to move into the actual music itself on the album, and how it sounds, so here we go. To start off Tony Lazaro does his job on guitars well, putting out some heavy riffs, and damn good solos. One thing that definitely sticks out is the drumming, Dave Suzuki plays bass, drums, and lead guitar on this album, and his main strength is definitely drumming (as it should be). He is a very good drummer, the sound on some of the drums is a bit too thin at times (and that‘s a production problem) but aside from that he has no trouble keeping pace at all. Now, onto other details about the album.

Something interesting, that is definitely a plus in my eyes is the length of this album. Most of the songs have an "epic" feel to them due to their length, and the only song under 5 minutes long is the intro. The rest of the songs range from 5:44 (4. Devoured Elysium) to 10:00 (9. Entwined by Vengeance), and average at about 6 to 7 minutes per song. The whole album totals up to 60:42, a very long time for a death metal album, and it doesn't feel strained and full of filler material, because of the variations within songs it works. Now, onto the production.

Another good thing is the production, which has been done well, some people seem to think the guitars are mixed a bit too low so you can't hear them well under Glen Benton's vocals, but I hear them just fine when he is growling out his lines on the album. The production on the album is solid in general, with a few flaws. (much like the album itself) The drums are in the mid-ground where they are easily audible unlike some albums where they're too far in the background buried by everything else, but they don't overpower the guitars or vocals, they're right where they should be. The only problem is the drum sound being a bit thin at times. Overall, it’s a solid production job, like I said before.

I'm going to close this up now with a summary. Overall the whole album is solid, everything in it works well together. I highly recommend this album to fans of death metal, who also like some melody thrown into the mix, or just love death metal. This should set the bar for newer death metal albums coming out in the future. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 9.0(on a scale of 1 to 100 a 90 obviously...) simply because although it's great, no album is perfect.