Tuesday, 26 June 2012

VITAL REMAINS - Let Us Pray (1992)

01. War In Paradise
02. Of Pure Unholyness
03. Ceremony Of The Seventh Circle
04. Uncultivated Grave
05. Malevolent Invocation
06. Isolated Magick
07. Cult Of The Dead
08. Frozen Terror
09. Amulet of the Conqueror

'Let Us Pray' is the debut album by the American death metal band Vital Remains. It was released by Deaf Records/Peaceville Records on August 21st, 1992. Created in 1988 by guitarist Paul Flynn, Vital Remains' first line-up consisted of guitarist Butch Machado, vocalist Mike Flynn, bassist Tom Supkow, and drummer Chris Dupont. Searching for better musicians, they added guitarist Tony Lazaro and vocalist Jeff Gruslin to the band. From there the band became a driving force in the local death metal scene.

Right from the nearly eight minute towering “War In Paradise,” these highly composed and carefully paced tracks put the band right alongside Morbid Angel as being among the genre’s most capable composers. Key is guitarist Tony Lazaro, who’s rock solid, chugging rhythm guitars underpin the entire sound, as well as providing eerie melodies throughout. Not content to merely blast like maniacs, Vital choose to use grinding speed as a tool to accentuate their songs, not make it their end all and be all. Jeff Gruslin's vocals are easily some of my favourite in the whole world of death metal. I know that everyone loves Glen Benton, but Jeff has a very unique growl. It's obscure, sounding like some cacodemon speaking through a person possessed. Almost processed, but it's not, which makes him sound even more sinister. He will throw in the occasional scream, which then comes across very organic and even unexpected. He's got a new band, Godless Rising, so luckily he's still out doing something with his killer vocals.

There are several interludes present throughout the album (albeit not presented in the form of a separate track), and they do a fine job at furthering the ambience of 'Let Us Pray' without overwhelming the listener, as opposed to say, the first Acheron album, where there were so many interludes they just became distracting. While many of the songs may be quite long, clocking in a six to seven minutes, the riffs and structure are interesting enough to hold the listener’s attention, which is no small task. Many of the riffs have a sinister air about them, which is perfect for this type of evil death metal, and all the elements of composition on "Let Us Pray" only enhance the intended atmosphere, which seems to be lacking in a good deal of newer death metal bands. As well as the truly epic first track, stand-outs include; "Malevolent Invocation" and Frozen Terror".

When it comes right down to it, if you're looking for Death Metal as heavy and as brutal as it comes, and the thought of an album going almost an hour doesn't turn you off, then by all means you need to get your hands on a copy of 'Let Us Pray'. You won't be sorry.

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