I have been seeing so many friends posting online about how badass this album was and decided to give it a spin for myself and I am very glad that I did. VEHEMENCE are a force to be reckoned with. Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona they deliver some of the finest melodic death metal that I’ve ever heard and their newest album, Forward Without Motion, shows why they’ve been able to dominate the genre for nearly twenty years. This 56-minute masterpiece starts off with the seven-minute opus “I Don’t Want to Look Inside” which starts off with a beautiful guitar-driven interlude that really makes you want to bang your head the entire time.
Guitarists Bjorn Dannov and Kyle Moeller are so technically driven that when the solo hits at the three minute mark it makes you want to just give up and sell your gear because it is so amazingly written. Drummer Andy Schroeder really takes the lead on the second track “Imagining the Loss”, with the insane blast beats that show off his exceptional footwork. The song ends with a beautiful instrumental jam featuring everyone but vocalist Nathan Gearhart.
The song transitions on this album are so flawless and show how well the band meshes together which is especially nice considering the fact that guitarist Kyle Moeller has only been playing with the band since 2007 while the other four members have been in the band since day one. “Murdered By the Earth” showcases Nathan’s vocal range as it features a combination of slightly higher almost black metal vocal approach with a very low death growl mixed in throughout the song. Combine the amazing vocals with the fantastic solos that flow in the song and the song just slays. This entire disc has some of the most amazing lead work that I’ve ever heard.
The album takes a turn to the slower side of the metal spectrum with “Jim the Prophet” which shows the band’s writing skill as they deliver a ton of song in only five and a half minutes and features a nice chuggy breakdown that transitions into yet another face melting guitar solo extravaganza. The guys love to speed up and slow down within the same song which is noticeable on “In the Dark Shadows We Dwell” and the eight-minute mammoth of a track “A Dark Figure in the Distance”. They also switch gears on “It’s All My Fault” and turn themselves into damn near a death-thrash band. The whole song sounds like it was written by a thrash guitarist and then turned into a death metal song at the same time with a very natural feel that’s as if it just flowed through without being forced out.
Album closers “She Fucks Like She’s Alive” really reminds me of fellow U.S death metal band THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER while “There Are So Many Reasons to Give Up On Religion” is a pure aural assault of melodic death metal with its face paced guitars and drums and features some amazing bass work by Mark Kozuback. Both of the songs provide an excellent end to a purely exceptional album. Forward Without Motion is out now via Battleground Records. Ask for it wherever extreme metal is sold in your city.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “I Don’t Want to Be Alive”, “Murdered By the Earth”, “In the Shadows We Dwell”, “She Fucks Like She’s Alive”