VILE
"The New Age of Chaos"

(Unique Leader)

01. Devour
02. Deafening Silence
03. The New Age of Chaos
04. Suicide Warfare
05. Sentenced to Live
06. The Burning Shrines
07. Ritual Decapitation
08. Worldhunt
09. Forlorn

RATING: 7.5/10

Those hanging around the death metal insider's club have always known that VILE is a class act, one of the premiere bands on a Unique Leader roster that has little in the way of also-rans. "The New Age of Chaos" should bring VILE a new level of notoriety (at least in the death metal community), based primarily on a significant improvement in songwriting.

Those holding positions contrary to the ones held by the U.S. government with respect to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are advised to steer well clear of vocalist Juan Urteaga's vehemently hawkish lyrics (and that is putting it lightly). By the same token, it is Urteaga's new and improved vocal style combined with guitarist/songwriter/producer Colin Davis' level jump in songwriting that makes "The New Age of Chaos" such a strong death metal album. A perfect example is the album's best track, "Deafening Silence". A more pronounced emphasis on melody (in an American death metal sense) in the guitar lines and memorable choruses gives not only this song, but also tracks like "Devour" and "Suicide Warfare" a longer-lasting quality. There is a slight black metal quality in some of the six-string melody parts as well. Urteaga expands his range to include high-register screams, not unlike what you might hear from George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher (CANNIBAL CORPSE), making the song structures more dynamic. Both Colin Davis' production style (similar in some ways to Tue Madsen) and the band's general musical approach remind me to some degree of what EXMORTEM did on "Nihilistic Contentment". More control in the tempos, which are not quite as fast as on 2002's "Depopulate", an increased attention to individual guitar parts, and solos that exist as much for compositional flavoring as for arrangement breaks complete the package.

The downside? There really isn't one. I would have preferred an additional song out of the effort (the album is 30 minutes long, including "Forlorn", a minute-and-a-half mood piece), but I can't say it's something I really thought much about as the album played on. New trails have not been blazed here; it is simply matter of a good band making a good album. There is a reason why bands like CANNIBAL CORPSE have been singing the praises of VILE. "The New Age of Chaos" should result in more folks singing the same tune.

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