Originally written by Tim Pigeon
God has really done it this time. I don’t know what he did, but whatever it was, it sure pissed off the guys in Vital Remains. In an act of revenge, they’ve returned the favor by releasing a blasphemous beast of an album, Dechristianize – sure to end up on at least a few top 10 lists.
It seems that whenever I buy a death metal album, there’s somebody in the group shot sporting a Vital Remains shirt (Vader – Revelations, Hate Eternal – King of All Kings, etc.). I was unfamiliar with VR, so naturally I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about. What I found was standout, brutal death metal with enough captivating twists and turns to keep me interested.
As most of you have already heard, Glen Benton (Deicide…duh) is handling the growling duties, and he does so in a vicious, guttural fashion. Even more impressive is the stellar guitar work by Tony Lazaro. While the speedy riffs are competent, Lazaro shines when he slows the pace, and breaks out unexpectedly intriguing leads. Dave Suzuki is a man possessed behind the kit with some of the fastest blasts I’ve ever heard.
The production is surprisingly clear for brutal death – crisp guitar tone, the drums aren’t overpowering, and Glen’s barking is right up front. In today’s metal world, every band feels the need to throw in silly little intros with no added value to the album as a whole. “Let the Killing Begin” is NOT one of those intros, in fact, it sets the anti-religious mood quite nicely, leading right into the outstanding title track. Clocking in at a stout 8:56, “Dechristianize” is an epic powerhouse. The slowed-up middle sections contain the most haunting and fitting leads this side of Nile. “Devoured Elysium” follows the same formula, mixing crushing brutality with demonic mid-paced breaks. This is actually the shortest song on the album, at 5:46, not counting the intro.
Not content with a hit-and-run, Vital Remains is backing up the truck a few times to make sure you’re crushed completely. “Entwined By Violence” pushes the epic bar up even higher over the course of its 10 full minutes. Powerful riffs, machine-gun blasts and fills, devilish grunts, and is that an acoustic guitar I hear?
Now I’m not a regular enthusiast of the brutal side of death metal, but if it were all this good, I’d be forced to reconsider. There’s nothing but solid metal to be found here, and I have a hard time believing that the death metallers of the world aren’t going to love this. Killer.