Vehemence - _Helping the World to See_
(Metal Blade, 2004)
by: Brian Meloon (
Arizona's Vehemence have returned with the follow-up to their excellent
2002 release _God Was Created_. Unfortunately, this release fails
to connect with me the way that album did. I was somewhat surprised
by this, as the two albums share many of the same characteristics.
Both are melodic death metal with brutal and precise guitar riffs,
growled/screamed vocals, and a tight rhythm section, all played with
considerable aplomb. Their riffs are generally melodic without being
hook-based and are often harmonized. They seem to be fond of individual
note lines -- especially arpeggiated ones -- but they do use chord-based
riffs from time to time to add some diversity. And although none of
these elements is particularly original, they've managed to define
their own unique sound. Yet there are three elements that make this
album less appealing to me than its predecessor. The first is that
many of the riffs are too similar to those on their previous album.
Thus, while they might have been novel before, this time they've lost
some of their impact. The second is that the music is less diverse
and more repetitive. The songs have a more internally consistent feel,
which might also be because each of the songs is credited to a single band
member, as opposed to their last album, which had several tracks that were
collaboratively written. The last is the production, which certainly
isn't bad by any means, but gives the music a sterile feeling. That's
not to say that this isn't an extreme album, because it definitely is.
However, the production makes the music sound compressed or constrained,
and that limits its effectiveness. Overall, I think this is a pretty
good release. I certainly got my money's worth from it, and I wouldn't
expect that too many death metal fans would be disappointed by it; yet
it doesn't really show much progression over their previous release,
and thus I don't expect much from their next release.
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