"Helping the World to See" (Metal Blade; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

After my experience with Vehemence's "God Was Created" it was one of the few times that I could say that I was actually looking forward to hearing a death metal band's newest album. Although it took me a while to actually sit down with "Helping The World To See," I was well rewarded once I was able to give it a quality section of my time for the purposes of this review.

Technicality is a big help and while Vehemence do not approach the hyper-technicality of Nile or Cryptopsy the band has applied lessons learned from the supremely technical bands and added it to their efforts quite well. But what you should immediately recognize is the Vehemence's songwriting is just a step above most death metal bands that was true for "God Was Created" and it is especially true for "Helping The World To See." The songs don't seem overly forced and there is a natural flow from one riff to another, verses to choruses, and 

The vocals continue to be in the old-school death metal vein which might turn off some folks given the fact that the music is rather advanced comparatively speaking. Nathan Gearheart's deep growl still reminds me of the brutally deep growl advanced by Garden Of Shadows.

My favorite track is "To The Taste." For some reason this two-and-a-half minute track packs just the right amount of brutality, groove, and intensity into a short time frame for maximum impact. Another favorite track is "You Don't Have To Be Afraid Anymore" as it takes just the opposite tack and it starts off with a doomy-death feel not heard from the band in their young career before exploding into a heavy thrash laden death fest. Overall, "Helping The World To See" has eleven tracks that offer a fairly diverse set of tracks that makes it seem effortlessly longer than the actual 50-minute playing time. 

I don't think "Helping The World To See" is as intrinsically exciting as it was when I heard "God Was Created" the first time around. However, "Helping The World To See" delivers a tight set of performances that will go a long way to making death metal a palatable form of heavy music for a variety of fans. For a second full-length album it seems Vehemence have got their shit together and are likely in the music business for the long haul.

"Helping The World To See" was produced by Wil Solares and Vehemence. A better than average production job and a great mixing job go a long way on "Helping The World To See."

Vehemence: Nathan Gearheart on vocals, Bjorn Dannov on guitars and piano, John Chavez on guitars, Mark Kozuback on bass and backing vocals, and Andy Schroeder on drums.

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"God Was Created" (Metal Blade; 2002)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I usually do not seek out death metal to purchase or generally listen to for that matter. So it was with hesitance that I borrowed Vehemence's "God Was Created" from a friend who stated calmly and clearly "Vehemence is death metal, but you'll like it - just trust me."

I quickly discovered that Vehemence, hailing from the dry desert of Arizona, is more than just a death metal band. Vehemence manages to mix brutal death, melody, and songwriting chops into a blend of metal that reaches beyond the limitations of death metal.

Now most of you are reading this and asking yourselves how can I put the phrase 'brutal death' in the same sentence with 'melody' and I wouldn't even get upset if you questioned my sanity. Well, it's true. Vehemence's brand of brutal death contains epic elements that are strengthened by the style of melody employed by Garden Of Shadows and the cold chill recently exhibited by Finland's Insomnium. Obviously, Vehemence display the influence of both the New York City and Florida death metal scenes, but my references points are so weak that I won't bother embarrassing myself with a comparison. Vehemence, in addition to their brutal, grinding death metal assault, use acoustic guitars, keyboards, and synthesizers to round out their unique sound.

Death metal fans of any type will be intrigued by Vehemence's refreshing take on a tired and played-out style. Fans who want an atmospheric and innovative edge to their death metal would be wise to take note of Vehemence's "God Was Created" and add it to their collections. For a brutal death metal CD to clock in at nearly 60 minutes there had better be some variety and Vehemence deliver.

"God Was Created" was produced by Vehemence.

Vehemence: Nathan Gearhart on vocals, Bjorn Dannov and John Chavez on guitars, Mark Kozuback on bass, Jason Keesecker on synths, and Andy Schroeder on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.