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Death Metal Review


God Was Created

2002 Metal Blade Records
Produced by Vehemence

Nathan Gearhart � Vocals
Bjorn Dannov � Guitars
John Chavez � Guitars
Mark Kozuback � Bass, Screams
Andy Schroeder � Drums
Jason Keesecker � Piano, Keyboards

Influenced by several sources, to include Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, and a touch of black metal, Arizona�s Vehemence has brought a death metal symphony to the table in �God Was Created.� Incorporating several techniques that death metal bands nowadays have a habit of disregarding (to include acoustic guitars and a pianist, no less), Vehemence taps into a new concept: Christ as a state of mind, able to enrage, possess and control humanity on an individual level. Don�t think for a moment that this is a happy, pleasant album. Nathan Gearhart brings a violent timbre to his vocals as he tells the story of the murderous tirade caused by a mental domination of Christ. It may seem a little confusing at first, but there�s no mistake: Vehemence shows no love for the god within us all.

Vehemence pulses back and forth with drastic contrasts, dynamic transitions, and ultra-violent lyrics comparable to Exhumed or Cannibal Corpse. Compensation for soft, piano-heavy moments is created by throbbing drum and guitar parts, austere growls, and shrill screams, twisting out a dark, teeming environment. The album opens with two tracks that exemplify this side of Vehemence, �Made for Her Jesus,� an autoerotic love fantasy between the Christ and a confused girl, and �She Never Noticed Me,� a narrative about the thought processes of a young man who obsesses about said confused girl. Opening both tracks with acoustic guitars paves the way for the guitar melodies to follow in electric formats, and where the acoustic guitars fall out, pianist Jason Keesecker leads in with a similar tune.

The following tracks are inspired by the concept of killing the girl through possession of Christ in �Fantasy From Pain� and �Christ, I Fucking Hate You!� Where �Fantasy� plays through the idea of killing the father (who apparently molests her) and the girl, �Christ, I Fucking Hate You� explores the aftermath, when god has left the man�s body and all that is left is a girl, strangled dead in the heat of passion, a father, bleeding profusely on the bedroom floor, and the man, confused by the effects of the godly domination that took place. Guitars are swift and contrasting as events shift from our protagonist clutching his genitals outside in the bushes, stepping inside and killing the father, and strangling the daughter as he has his way with her. The bass is especially heavy on the latter of the two tracks, and Mark Kozuback�s secondary screaming vocals are well-heard in the closing lines of �Christ, I Fucking Hate You� (appropriately screaming alongside Gearhart the track's title, 'Christ, I fucking hate you!').

�Lusting for Affection� deviates from the events in the first four songs and focus on the protagonist�s home life, isolated by the lack of true family life and desensitized into believing physical pleasure is emotional satisfaction. Through obsession, stalking, and ultimately rape, the young man experiences what he believes to be love and affection. The song is fairly standard style death metal, what with a hard-hitting opening guitar riff and relentless drums. All in all, �Lusting for Affection� is a good track in and of itself, but not necessarily running in an original format musically. Expect nothing more than death metal; expect nothing less than death metal.

�The Last Fantasy of Christ� comes off as a supplement to �She Never Noticed Me� in that both are about similar events, but where �She Never Noticed Me� is about the girl obsessed with Christ, �The Last Fantasy of Christ� is about the final display to Christ of ignorant witness to god�s works. Eventually bored of the savior routine, Christ fades into apathy and depression, the final straw being this girl who fondles herself for his love. Transitions in this song are quick and powerful, unexpected yet strangely appropriate, especially the short �even if you did exist� monologue roughly 2/3 through the song (coupled with the peaceful acoustic guitar, this proves to be a nice intermission between two powerful musical moments).

�I Didn�t Kill Her� opens with some wicked screeching guitars that play to the album�s longest track (running just short of 9 minutes). The girl has long been buried, and now our protagonist has gone to grave-digging and necrophilia (explicitly describing her cold body warmed by his sexual promiscuousness). There is a true insight to the main character in this story, as he doesn�t find himself responsible for the girl�s death. Rather, he blames Christ for killing her, and lauds himself for giving her the greatest love of her life through physical manipulation. The guitars and bass play off each other extremely well on this track, offering a nice death metal composition, epic in its own right. The highlight here is the drums, as Andy Schroeder drives the set like a tornado. It�s peaceful one moment, pulsing and pounding the next, supplementary following, and relentless once more.

The title track �God Was Created� is perhaps the catchiest song on the album, what with intense bass and drum tracks coupled with a confined guitar track. Despite the track�s musical limits, this proves to be the song I listen to the most from this album, if only because this is vocalist Nathan Gearhart�s swansong. The growling vocals ring out in near-perfect clarity (well, as clear as a cookie monster could be) while the screams during the choral moments aren�t excessively high-pitched. Gearhart�s got just the right ratio for rasp to roar ratio, and it works right on the money. Perhaps the only song with a clear message to boot (that is to say god exists within ourselves), it�s one of a select few death metal songs that make me feel �happy� upon the closing notes (played on an acoustic guitar, no less).

A bathroom suicide in �I Must Not Live� is a torrid example of the thrash inspired guitar playing by Bjorn Dannov and John Chavez. This song is fast to the bitter end, reminiscent of early Testament or Metallica, and coupled with Gearhart�s vocals filled with revenge against god for taking his love from him, this proves to be one hell of ride. By killing his flock (to include the savage gutting of a schoolgirl in the bathroom stall) he exposes himself to god as a dissenter, and decides to kill himself to prove his hatred for the deity. His final thoughts are explored in the closing track, �The Lord�s Work,� which comes off as a brief summary of the story�s events coupled with a bass heavy riff to boot (in the same vein as �God Was Created�). The song ends with a haunting message to those who blindly follow: �Don�t believe all their lies�the lord�s work.�

Unexpectedly uncompromised, Vehemence has sent forth their first major label debut not soon to be forgotten. It is certain that this band packs quite a punch and will not let up anytime in the near future.

Final Score: 9.5
By: Kris 'Nemesis' Yancey
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