Vital Remains - Dechristianize


Heat in 7
Apr 17, 2001
Southern California
Olympic Recordings - 2003

By Rodrigo Escandon


After four years since their last studio album and with Glen Benton now in the mix, Vital Remains is posed to become one of the leaders of death metal if not THE leader. Dechristianize is the latest blasphemous offering of Tony Lazaro, Dave Suzuki and the aforementioned Glen and it is easily ranks not only as one the best death metal album of the year but simply the best in the last two or three years. Yes, these are bold statements being thrown around but this album is seriously that good.

Forsaking the death metal "formula" of constant blast beats and a lot of musical noise Vital Remains instead makes the perfect mixture of brutality, musicality and melody. Yes, there are plenty of blast beats to be found but they don't sound annoying or crappy. The songs are fast, they are brutal but there are excellent melodious breaks in between that add creativity, technicality and above all just simply kick ass! Examples would be the acoustic interludes that jump in during "Entwined by Vengeance", the melodic solo at about 2:10 of "Rush of Deliverance" or the twin guitar melodies found in the awesome title track "Dechristianize" (a song that should become a future classic) that drive the middle and last parts. Finally, the addition of Glen (someone who needs no introduction) definitely enhances the band and his performance is truly phenomenal and should send shivers down your spine. He does such a pheonmenal job that at times you begin to forget about the music and vice versa.

Vital Remains has seriously enhanced the genre (much like I thought Vehemence did last year with their awesome album) with Dechristianize. They have shown that death metal can still be brutal and fast but have added enough wrinkles that basically nobody else seems to do. This is death metal at its finest and any person that dares to call himself a death metal fan must own Dechristianize.

Olympic Recordings Website
Vital Remains Official Website
This album would be enjoyable if every song had the power of the title track...the rest just represents a formulaic exploitation of a melodic lead/rhythm dichotomy already pioneered by "melodic death" bands, although admittingly nowhere near the level of brutality displayed on this album (which is a bit generous, considering said brutality would be nonexistant without the drumming and the downtuning). It's a massively unoriginal album, with most of the rhythm section being that of typical 90s american death metal--a more unrelenting approach to the thrash riffing repitoire (machine gun riffing and chug). The vocals tend to dominate the songs far too much, and, while he would like to claim otherwise about his abilities, I think the fact that Benton has to double or triple track his vocals is despicable. The album manages to show some worth in the title track, but ultimately, it's a lackluster effort in the vein of every rap artist out there--maybe one worthwhile track, and then a bunch of scenery.

As far as worthy death metal goes, Myrkskog and Nile, particularly the former, have been innovating the genre to unthought of levels of violence and lethality...none of which this contently archaic album seem to bother to touch on.

Dechristianize shows promise, but not suprisingly, fails to deliver on that promise. Typical.