Vital Remains' brutally bleak brand of death metal, sophisticated riffage, heavy as fuck gutterals, a unique blend of ambience and even Spanish-style guitars set them apart many of their contemporaries. Current frontman Brian Werner, who has been with the band since 2007, bears blood-thirsty bellows and a charismatic stage presence that make him the perfect fit for the US metallers.
Their appearance at Morbid Fest at the end of April was made all the more epic with Werner's antics – it included a ram skull and a ton of fake blood, what more do you want from a death metal show?
We caught up with the blood-drenched bellower to learn his top 10 essential death metal tracks...
1. Vital Remains – Dechristianize
"For me I remember being 23 years old when this came out and it was a complete game changer, the speed, the melody the overtly and violent content, it was an instant classic for me as a fan"
2. Morbid Angel – Chapel of Ghouls
"This was my first introduction to death metal when I was 11 years old and I've never been the same since"
3. Deicide – Sacrificial Suicide
"This band scared the living shit out of me as a kid and I loved it"
4. Bolt Thrower – Remembrance
"The opening riff of this song just kicks you right in the balls while the vocals put's a 7.62mm bullet through your skull"
5. Cannibal Corpse – Stripped, Raped and Strangled
"Again the opening riff of this track is just music you want to go on an indiscriminate killing spree too"
6. Death – Symbolic
"Proof that death metal can be robust, and full of emotion without sacrificing the brutality"
7. Pyrexia – Hatred, Anger and Disgust
"Keith DeVito was one of my earliest vocal influences and this song is just raw aggression and violent"
8. Hate Eternal – King of All Kings
"I was fortunate enough to tour with and become friends with Jared Anderson before his passing and this song will always hold a special place in my heart"
9. Nile – Black Seeds of Vengeance
"Being a huge fan of ancient Egyptian mythology and also a big fan of Derek Roddy's drumming I was hooked the second I first heard this song"
10. Monstrosity - The Angels Venom
"This was my first introduction to Monstrosity when I was 19 and the string skipping, triplet guitar riff took my breath away and I became an instant fan"