Vehemence

Vehemence

God Was Created

Metal Blade

Whoa. How about that God Was Created cover sleeve art? I mean, the dead baby cover of Disgorge’s last album didn’t make me bat an eye, but these paintings disturb me. Oh well, there are theories that it’s good to be confronted with what unsettles you, so I have to thank Vehemence for drawings that make Rudimentary Peni’s sleeve notes look as cheery as first-grade birthday cards. There’re full cover drawings of eviscerated women, eviscerated women eviscerating other women, an Escher-esque rendering of interlocking women with their heads stuck up each other’s… Yeah. My expectations were at a low ebb given the scatological glee with which some of these were figures were rendered.

But I’m proven wrong! So wrong! God Was Created is a concept album, about religion and death and madness. See, it’s about this teenage kid and he’s in love with this girl that no one else notices. He has to have her, and he’s a little disturbed. She, on the other hand, only has eyes for Jesus, and her father molests and abuses her, to boot. The kid, the lyrical protagonist, is watching her through her window one night, and the dad comes in and the kid snaps and breaks in and kills him. Then he fucks the girl. She dies. He goes insane. He vents all his anger on Jesus. He digs up the girl. He plots another murder spree and the album ends with more blood and piled up bodies than the end of Hamlet. This is the real dark shit.

But listen to the beautiful music? What’s going on here? God Was Created is fucking way different than the gross-out death metal far that the cover hinted at! It’s a stunning, advanced, experimental album — all of this and more. Unafraid to plumb more intimate visions of evil and inhumanity. Vehemence’s themes are not as easy to rally around as faceless zombie gore and demonic incantations. The music reminds me of Cynic, Atheist, Death — the last wave of Florida progressive death – along with some Swedish death influences.

“Made For Her Jesus” has some utterly sickening vocal work, but it’s contrasted with tight and melodic, often lush, ambient arrangements; it reminds me of And Justice…-era Metallica and Atheist. It’s a striking contrast. The masterstroke comes in Vehemence’s understanding of restraint and subtlety in the music, to let the lyrics tell the twisted story.

As if to prove my point, sicko “She Never Noticed Me” begins with an acoustic guitar flourish that dissipates into compressed thrashing guitars overlaid with beatific synths and piano that seem to pay the ensuing carnage no mind. Especially the lolling piano melody over the vocalist drooling, “I must kill her” and “I know where her bedroom is.” He sounds like the Incredible Hulk in places, like when he pants and grunts, “So beautiful.” The lyrical sickness game has been raised up a painful notch. This ain’t Satan. This is worse.

“Christ, I Fucking Hate You!” starts with some fluid soloing reminiscent of Queensryche and continues in that power metal vein with death growls and profane curses rudely intruding. It works! What could have been a monochrome mess in other hands is operatic and shape-shifting, but it makes sense, it’s not just a million riffs and time changes per song. The song builds in intensity slowly and surely, so that you don’t notice by the end that the songs mood has gone to blood-boiling, cresting and crashing.

By “Lusting For Affection,” any trace of compassion and gentleness (no matter how misplaced or perverted) is gone, replaced by a Suffocation meets Sacred Reich cauldron of homicidal impulses. And this is a potent one two punch with the contemptuous speed metal of “The Last Fantasy of Christ.” Rolling riffs and thinly-veiled disgust explode into a venomous “Fuck him!” and then surges out and exhausts itself over distinct song movements.

“I Didn’t Kill Her” shifts the pace to a more downbeat lament, an air of melancholy even hangs over the defiant, thrashier sections. The vocals go a long way in communicating a sort of misunderstood monster vibe. The music is a collaged sweep reflecting as many emotions as possible. By “I Must Not Live,” the album is winding down to its inevitable tortured conclusion. The song is jagged and nervous, reflecting taut nerve ends and an exhausted soul, amidst bloodied victims and carnage.

“The Lord’s Work” closes the journey by railing hatefully against the God Myth and the pain it’s wreaked on all around him, even as the narrator dies by his own hand. It was all just a vicious circle. Remarkably, even in this spiteful blast, melody still peeks out from between the blades and sharpened fingernails. There is no hiding from the impulses and emotions that will be stirred from listening closely to God Was Created.

Metal Blade Records: http://www.metalblade.com • Vehemence: http://vehemence.brutaldeath.net/

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