With the predecessor Dechristianize, Vital Remains finally achieved some much deserved success. Most fans, including myself have anticipated the follow-up from the Americans and probably speculated in whether or not the unit was able to surpass Dechristianize. The unit doesn't disappoint this time either, but I wouldn't say they quite surpass the previous effort.
The band has once again drafted in Deicide frontman Glen Benton to do the vocals. The music does in many ways stick to the formula of Dechristianize, but Icons of Evil holds a few minor surprises along the way. The songs appear to be a little catchier altogether this time. One of the issues on Dechristianize were Glen's growls. They had a tendency to get a bit monotonous after a while and the same is unfortunately the case on Icons of Evil. It's a shame as the music itself very diverse. It's nothing that spoils the overall impression in a major way though, but it does set its mark.
The band prove their flair for writing catchy music on tracks like "Scorned", "Reborn…The Upheaval of Nihility", "Hammer Down The Nails" and "Disciples of Hell", but this being said there's really not a bad or boring song on the CD. As I wrote before there's not much new under the sun here. A thing that constituted a minor problem on the predecessor was that some of the songs appeared a little too long and the band seemed to repeat themselves a little too much. The songs are still long, but they don't feel as drawn out this time. Altogether Icons of Evil appear a little more homogenous than Dechristianize or anything else the band has put out prior to that.
The production is fat and full. There's a good balance between clarity and heaviness. Dechristianize lacked a little in the production, but this sure have been fixed. Icons of Evil is no landmark release, but it cements Vital Remains' position among the crème de la crème of death metal.