Following up 2016’s independently released EP, The Saint of Killers, Massachusetts act Let Us Prey return with their first full-length album, Virtues of the Venomous (M-Theory Audio). With vocalist Marc Lopes better known for being frontman for Ross the Boss, time for his other projects has proved elusive, but now the wait is over.
Fans will already be familiar with much of the material as the new album incorporates all six songs from their previous short-form release, the band adding four new tracks to complete their full debut. Lopes, guitarists Jon Morency and Jesse Near, and drummer Darin Moyen have been joined this time by guest guitarists Jon Donais of Anthrax, “Metal” Mike Chlasciak (Halford), Jimi Bell (House of Lords) and the late Oli Herbert from All That Remains.
Opener ‘Above the Vaulted Sky’ is pure melodic thrash, the talented Lopes gnashing and spitting his way through the verses before going full Rob Halford for the chorus. ‘The Cruel Creation of Me’ and the superb title track are both reminiscent of Seattle legends Nevermore, full of chaotic, flailing riffs and off-kilter, chuggy rhythms, while ‘In Suffering’ is slow-burner that builds to a dramatic conclusion.
Tracks like ‘The Saint of Killers’, ‘Prey’, and ‘Halo Crown’ are heads down thrashers, the latter featuring vocals which lead you to believe Lopes might be in genuine need of psychiatric help. ‘Ghost Echoes’ is an atmospheric bruiser, ‘Murder Thy Maker’ is another insanely fast-paced thrasher complete with Cannibal Corpse low-end hammer-ons and a slowed down middle section, and schizophrenic closer ‘And Hell That followed with Me’ switches between frantic riffing and a slower groove.
Chunky riffs, powerful rhythms, and some tremendous vocal work by Lopes make Virtues of the Vicious a solid slab of powerful, progressive thrash.
7 / 10