The Smooth Mint!
*special introductory paragraph!
*God Was Created
*Helping The World To See

Vehemence is neither a book nor a truck driver. It is neither a drink made from pigs nor a top-selling black market headache remedy. This is unfortunate because I have a headache. That's not the fault of the band, however. That is the fault of my friend Al. And no I don't mean "aluminum," though I do very much approve of the periodic table of the elements, and feel it's doing a good job in its position. My friend Al is nonexistent. It's simply a cute nickname I just made up for "Whiskey." My initial thought was that it was a small liquidy human being named "Al Cohol," but after ingesting about four tons of it in an attempt to help him escape from his bottle so he would grant me three wishes when I freed him into the aisle at Dairy Queen, I found myself in hot water indeed. Because urine is hot when it comes out of your 98.6-degree Skin Flute. Another success for the Demons of Metaphor, as I thought for sure I'd be able to play more songs on it if it just had a few more holes. I'm not blaming Philips for designing the gasoline-powered hole puncher; I just wish I hadn't used up all the Band-Aids trying to cover up that huge gash in Britney Spears.

More to the point, Vehemence is a band from Phoenix, Arizona who have spent their entire career trying to get that Steve Miller song out of their heads. They do so by playing black metal and/or speed metal.

God Was Created - Metal Blade 2002
Rating = 5

For their debut, Vehemence designed an absolutely UNrocking and UNrolling brand of black metal filled with dark, sad, depressing, gothlike riffs and drums that blast along and roll around while hardly EVER actually playing any sort of backbeat. As a result, it's nearly impossible to bang your head or mosh a skank pit to anything on here (aside from a few brief 15-second installments of high-speed thrash). Perhaps their goal was to promote slow dancing among their audience, but not only do I not think this is the case, but the singer guy growls like he's a grindcore vocalist. In this way, I have taken two individual, non-related thoughts and combined them into one unified, unpleasant sentence.

More to the point, these songs feature tons of gloomy and possibly classically-influenced minor-key note riffs that repeat and repeat, sometimes to wonderfully morbid effect ("Fantasy From Pain" is a very emotional song until it eventually converts into a sick insane chord sequence before reaching a demented, exciting coda with lots of tempo changes and creepy chunkity guitar action, and "The Lord's Work" ends the disc with several repetitions of an excellent throbbing, paranoid chord hook). But the style can also wear a bit thin over the course of a 60-minute album, the lack of heartbeat-style tempo ensuring that passionate music fans can never be TOO drawn in before being forcibly pushed away by the barreling pummel of the skins. And no, I don't mean "redskins," General Custer! ha haa HE!!

The lyrics and artwork are disgusting as hell though, and well worth your F-oldin' Money. It appears to be a concept album about a girl who masturbates while thinking of Jesus, who is then raped and murdered by a stalker who fantasizes that he turns into Jesus while raping her, who then realizes his error and murders a bunch of girls in a high school bathroom before killing himself, declaring, "I give myself to Satan/I will not let Jesus have me." And that's SEXY! Count me in on the ORGY of SEXINESS!

Reader Comments
hahahahaha you rule (Luke Guevara)
you obviously know nothing about metal. vehemence has some of the craziest riffs, best drums, and most hardcore vocals. I agree the artwork is dumb and the lyrics are based off a nate's horror films which are kind of dumb, but they have a lot of talent and potential. You probably don't play an instrument and don't understand how creative they are. Don't talk shit if you can't back it up or don't understand it.

i respect your opinion but i don't think you understand or know what you're talking about.

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Helping The World To See - Metal Blade 2004
Rating = 6

Hands up! Who feels like an asshole? I do. I got upset last night and sent out some horrible emails. I'd be curious to open up my brain to find out what is happening to make me want to alienate every single person I like. Maybe find out why I always get that "Sculpt your hair - any way you like it!" jingle stuck in my head too. Government death rays? I know that there are a lot of Paul Weller fans in the current administration; who knows what secret technologies they might be using to "Jam" my brain? You're a prick, right? See? I did it again! You and I are best buds, always smokin' dope together, and here I go asking you if you're a prick, and phrasing the question in such a way that it assumes the answer to be affirmative. That's no way to make friends, and certainly no way to bake enemies. Maybe there are just too many influences ripping me apart from the inside. Too much self-doubt? Too much guilt? Too much vodka?

Okay, we may have found the culprit.

This Vehemence album is not nearly as gothically depressing and blastbeat-stuck as their first one (thank Goodly), and it's got much more in the way of thrashing 4/4 headbanger parts. Some of it reminds me of glory days Metallica actually - that same mix of rushing adrenaline power and thoughtful/melancholy/fast technical note riffs. The stereo separation of the guitars is excellent, especially during their many dual harmonies (like Iron Maiden, but much, much uglier), but where the hell is the bass guitar? I don't think I hear even four seconds of it until the guitars drop out in the middle of track six. I'm not the bass player in this band, nor have I tried out for the position, but if I WERE, I swear I would have taken the final CD and smashed it against the wall after listening to it, just like Ace Frehley did with Music From "The Elder" and Rick Wakeman did with Union. But let's return to the point, rather than trying to egg on the bass player to perform violent acts against his bandmates and producer (think Mayhem!!!).

Hey -- speaking of "eggs," tomorrow is Easter Sunday! Luckily, there's a perfectly appropriate motion picture at the theaters that we can go see to celebrate.

Dawn Of The Dead!

(see, the joke is that you thought I meant Mel Gibson Murders Christ, but what happened on the original Easter? It was the Dawn of the Dead! Do you see my full joke now? It was a good one, and has made several independent parties enjoy a hearty chuckle throughout the day.)

This band is awfully tight. The drummer is just incredible, but it sounds like the guitarists are actually CHAINED to him with their brains wired up and connected via satellite to his own. He changes five million times in a song, but always perfectly matching whatever the guitars are doing. I may not be into every single riff on here, but even during the less interesting moments, I have to admit that Vehemence is a "well-oiled" machine (dildo) indeed!

As for the vocals, they're still a mix of very low growling and high screaming - but dig on me here, Ron: Nathan The Singer Man has grown up and developed lyrical concerns! No more the gore/rape/guts -- on this, his mature adult second album, he tackles such real-life horrors as losing a loved one to old age, religious rage and greed (both Christian and Muslim), the...uhh....enjoyability of marijuana.... (which is illegal, and a drug), our godawful current Administration here in the U.S. and the emotionally devastating effects of alienation, infidelity and divorce. And if you're partial to the gory lyrics of olden times, they also include a re-recording of a pleasant early track in which our protagonist abducts, murders and skullfucks a young Christian schoolgirl.






Reader Comments
OK, so you have NO IDEA what your talking about... do you just listen to Britney spears or something because this is some of the most extremely complex DEATH METAL (your dumb ass called it black metal lol) which is suppose to be dark and gloomy like you explained. do you even know what the fuck you are talking about SERIOUSLY? you even said there riffs just repeat and repeat and i urge you to listen to the song I Didn't Kill Her off of there CD GOD WAS CREATED, or maybe Christ, I FUCKING hate you! the only thing i agree with is Nathan's bland lyrics. but as for talent Bjorn Dannov (GUITARIST) and Andy Schroeder (DRUMMER) are up there with some of the greatest and your ignorant if you cant see it. why would they have someone doing reviews that couldn't even get the genre of the band correct. just though id share, thanks

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Buy these two Vehemence CDs at this link, if at all possible.

Back to That Uproarious Cat In The Hat Movie With Mike Meyers - You Know, the One The Critics Can't Stop Raving About Because It's So Good