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Let Us Prey – Virtues Of The Vicious

Let Us Prey
Virtues Of The Vicious
by Rachel Montgomery at 07 August 2020, 11:23 AM

LET US PREY is self-described dark melodic power progressive thrash metal. While it’s a mouthful, they encompass all of these genres in their latest album, "Virtues Of The Vicious." While there are some misses on the track, most of their techniques are hits. No one would expect less from songwriter Marc Lopes who fronted a band with MANOWAR guitarist Ros Friedman. He brings the skill and talent needed to this eclectic album.

Don’t judge this album by the opening track, though. The guitar solo of the opening song is the biggest standout due to its high-pitched sweeps. Other than that, the low, jamming bass line and the vocal work are standard for traditional metal and don’t stand out as much as an opening track should. The introduce screaming elements in the second track, “Virtues Of The Vicious”. It gives the album a more energized, frenzied feel than the first song, “Above The Vaulted Sky.” Since this track has more personality, I wonder why they didn’t open with this track instead. Especially with the tone change in the middle of the song – where it goes from screaming and relentless metal to a more melodic tone and vocal style. The compositional quality and vocal styles are also better on this track. Why not open with it?

The album becomes more melodic in the third and fourth tracks, “In Suffering” and “Halo Crown”. However, it can be hit-or-miss. “In Suffering” takes an unusual turn by having a soft, drawn-out intro before getting into the meat of the song. The chorus is powerful and uplifting, featuring echoing, captivating vocals. However, I think the melodic change at the end of the track weakens the song. Unlike “Virtues Of The Vicious,” it doesn’t show a new style for the band. Rather, it tacks on a vocal melody that sounds sloppy. While I understand this is for characterization, it doesn’t do the track any favors. The characterization is much better on “Halo Crown” because it’s tighter. The vocal wails and characterizations are reserved for the chorus and follow along with the melodic harmonies.

After that, the band transitions from melodic to bringing Nu Metal and 2000s underground metal elements to the forefront. The narrative in the opening of the fifth track, “Murder Thy Maker” and the machine-gun guitar riffs bring the album back to heavy. Despite the heavier elements, it preserves melodic harmonies and structure. The song balances heavy, frenzied elements with structure by keeping a strong drum beat through tempo changes and in spite of that the guitar is doing. The guitar could be playing frenzied sweeps or playing a melodic riff, the drumbeat rises above to give the listener a consistent foundation without being overpowering. The following track opens like a SLIPKNOT song with a powerful bass line. The melody brings in sone higher notes and it becomes a more melodic underground metal song. The seventh track, “Ghost Echoes” begins with the same guttural, gunfire bass line, but envelopes it in orchestral ambiance. I’m not a fan of the nasally chorus.

The eighth track, “The Cruel Creation Of Me” brings back some melodic elements with operatic notes in the chorus. They’re so interspersed with guttural shrieks that it’s subtle. However, you can still hear it a little in the symphonic guitar riff. “Prey”, the following track, goes right back, especially with the vocal style. The album ends with “And Hell Followed With Me”, which is an eight-minute closer that brings the melodic back, creating a steady, power-metal ending to this album.

Overall, the album blends a lot of influences together to create their own style. Skip the first track and you will find an experimental, melodic traditional metal album with unique progressive elements. Some tracks are stronger than others, with great progressive elements and melodic hooks. Others sound like your standard listen as you peruse the racks at Hot Topic, circa 2002. While I admit it’s not my style, I give the band points for originality and not sounding like another 80s clone.

Songwriting: 8
Production: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Above The Vaulted Sky
2. Virtues Of The Vicious
3. In Suffering
4. Halo Crown
5. Murder Thy Maker
6. The Saint Of Killers
7. Ghost Echoes
8. The Cruel Creation Of Me
9. Prey
10. And Hell Followed With Me
Marc Lopes – Vocals, Keyboards
Jon Morency - Guitar
Jesse Near - Guitar
Darin Moyen - Drums
Record Label: M-Theory Audio


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