Helping the World to See

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Vehemence is a band loaded with contradictions -- they have decent intuition songwriting-wise, but get bogged down by their lust for cookie-cutter death metal brutality; the cover art for the awkwardly titled Helping the World to See is ludicrously frightening and stereotypical of the genre, although the lyrics on a few tracks are sensitive (!) and touch upon feelings of rejection and loneliness (!!), albeit delivered by way of typically ham-handed grunts and screeches. Solid riffs, guitar solos, and melodies are the band's strengths, but they're often buried in the brutal melee, no thanks to the album's dense production composed of a nigh-impenetrable wall of clich├ęs: guitars boiling over and staining the stove, affected death vocals, clickety-clack rapid-fire double bass, and a cheap snare sound. Thus, decent cuts such as "Spirit of the Soldier" and "By Your Bedside" exude promise via somewhat logical arrangements, if you want to exhume it from the mass of typical death metal sewage -- see also: embarrassingly obvious cuts "Kill for God" and a silly impalement of religious cable networks, "Trinity Broadcasting (Know Your Enemy)" (snicker). In a nutshell: Vehemence could be a contender if their self-imposed death metal shackles could be shed. On a good day, Helping the World to See is barely a hair's breadth above yet another dull exercise in death metal arglebargle.

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