Welcome to Throwback Thursday! This is the place where we get to indulge in nostalgia and wax poetic about excellent metal of years past. Today's 85th TBT features a down-to-earth band who also happen to be one of the hungriest and hard-working bands in the metalverse – Vital Remains. For Vital Remains and their march through deathy madness, it took more than extremism in extreme death metal territory to be notable – and their 2003 release Dechristianize has just the right magic mix of heaviness, melody, and intensity to break through as a genre staple.
VITAL REMAIN'S DECHRISTIANIZE
Release Date: August 2003
Record Label: Century Media Records
Vital Remains is currently embarking on their 30th anniversary tour and you can check out a list of tour dates and and news on their line-up changes here. The fact that any metal band can say that they're celebrating 30 active years is impressive, but to do what Vital Remains does takes the vitality of at least a lesser god. The irony there, is that Vital Remains fear no god and would tell anyone "fuck your idols" – and mean every godsbedamned word of it.
Taking brutal death metal to energetic extremes, Vital Remains married their blazing sweeps and exhaustive blast beats with unambiguous anti-christian rhetoric, thus creating the hallmark of Vital Remains' legacy. That legacy is embodied in Dechristianize. Opening with the vocal choir selection from "O Fortuna", the drama of the iconic operatic piece is capped at the 2ish-minute mark with a layered, grunting, throaty "LET THE KILLING BEGIN":
If this dual-track pairing of "Let the Killing Begin" and "Dechristianzie" doesn't melt your face off, then metal just isn't for you. Check out this epic footage of a cop getting into trouble for singing the "Let the Killing Begin" onstage with the band. What I find so impressive about Vital Remains isn't just that their gravity beats could break a metronome, but that behind all the unabashed occultism and anti-theist lyrics are solidly written song structures that are interesting to listen to. That strong backbone carries the band to notable heights as much as the anti-Christ shock-factor. Death metal in general is a bastion for darkly dwelling demons who love to wrap their knobby fingers around the sensible perimeters of metal and push it farther and farther with every pop-culture smear, grotesque image, sexual deviancy, and offensive idea possible. To stand out among the bands who push fantasy to the limits by ranting and raving about how Jesus sucked, or how to exactly eviscerate flesh isn't as easy as feat as one might think. Check out the song "Savior to None.. Failure for All":
This song is 6:37 long, and is interesting the entire time. Gravity beats aside, the main riff at the beginning is sick, and the solos and cadence change-ups towards the end are incredibly entertaining and well-played.
Sporting an violate line-up throughout the years, Tony Lazaro is the only original member of the band still left and touring. For recording Dechristianize, Vital Remains saw Dave Suzuki, Glen Benton (Deicide), and Tim Yeung (ex-Morbid Angel) take their turns in the studio and for touring.