Vehemence – Forward Without Motion (Battleground Records)

Tuesday, 20th October 2015
Rating: 8.5/10

Severely underappreciated death metal act Vehemence recorded three albums (most notably 2002’s God Was Created) before packing it in back in 2005. But thankfully, that’s not the end of the tale for these death metal veterans, and the band reformed in 2007 and we are finally being treated to a new album, entitled Forward Without Motion.

It must be said that Vehemence offer a unique take on death metal. Equally rooted in both the American brutal scene and European melodic death metal scene, their sound is such that it can appeal to both fans of bands like At the Gates as well as Broken Hope. Couple it with a unique lyrical penchant (alongside instantly memorable song titles), and you’ve got something with the means to impress. Forward Without Motion often interjects strikingly catchy melodies inside a decidedly brutal package. “It’s All My Fault” blends a thrashy backbone, plenty of tremolo-picking melodies, and even some groove into a 3-minute package. The band usually takes a bit more time though, with cuts like “She Fucks Like She’s Alive” and “Murdered By the Earth” taking a more drawn-out and deliberate attempt to cast some of the album’s best melodies (some bordering on some of the best that Gothenburg ever had to offer) and leads between some riffs that give off plenty of technicality (without ‘showboating’) and groove. This is a heavy record, but one that you’ll find yourself humming about even after it ends.

Certainly on par with their finest moments, Forward Without Motion is another victory for Vehemence. Why these guys never seemed to truly catch on during their stint in the early ‘00s is anyone’s guess, but here’s to hoping that this second shot puts them into more of a limelight. Few bands can balance the varied aspects of death metal without veering too far in any direction the way that Vehemence has managed to do.

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