Let Us Prey – Virtues of the Vicious (M-Theory Audio)

Wednesday, 29th July 2020
Rating: 7.5/10

For as innovative and out-and-out brilliant Nevermore was, they never crossed the threshold into mass acceptance within the metal scene. Some of that was owed to Warrel Dane’s “unique” vocal delivery; some of it to the band’s occasional insistence on writing music that was too technical. Whatever it was, Nevermore didn’t break through to the next level when they should have. It now carries over to bands of a similar thread, like Boston’s Let Us Prey, who, on their Virtues of the Vicious first full-length, offers a dizzying array of riffs, arrangements and schizo vocals.

Featuring current Ross the Boss singer Marc Lopes, Let Us Prey rarely lets an idea go unused, owing largely to the “kitchen sink” approach when it comes to songwriting. There are moments here that are spot-on and certifiably killer: The vocal give-and-take on the title track (augmented by some well-placed keys); the melodic catch-all of “In Suffering” (the most Nevermore number here); the full-throttle barrage of “Halo Crown” (Lopes goes full Ripper Owens here to great effect; also, nice solo from Anthrax’s Jonathan Donais) and epic closer “And Hell Followed With Me,” which showcases the full breadth of Let Us Prey’s musical abilities. But, somewhere in the middle, Let Us Prey never readjusts to make Virtues of the Vicious flow. It’s like being constantly served dessert when some meat and potatoes will suffice.

Progressive tech metal the way Let Us Prey plays it usually has a hard time landing here in the States. It’s like melodic metal fans want these bands to take it down just a notch. Let Us Prey don’t seem too inclined to do that quite yet, but during the moments the band catches fire, it’s not a reach to think these guys could become a true metal force a few more albums down the line.

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