Soon after their formation, the band released a pair of demos (1989’s Reduced to Ashes and 1990’s Excruciating Pain) which led to a contract with French label Thrash Records, who in turn released the single The Black Mass in 1991. Shortly after the release of the single, which proved to be the band’s first and only release with the label, the band signed to Peaceville’s subsidiary, Deaf Records. A pair of releases followed for the Peaceville label, 1992’s Let Us Pray and 1995’s Into Cold Darkness. However, after poor distribution and a lack of promotion from the label, the band requested that their contract be dissolved. At this stage, in 1997, the band’s founder, Paul Flynn left Vital Remains. After a ten year hiatus he would return to the scene, and go on to found Godless Rising, an old school death metal band with original vocalist Jeff Gruslin. They quickly signed to Pathos Productions for a self-funded demo release, from that they were offered a full deal with Moribund Records out of Seattle, Washington. Due to the financial hardships and lack of support from other members, Paul would leave this project also.
Two years later the band signed a two-album deal with French label Osmose Records. In order to complete the line-up (which at this stage lacked a permanent drummer, bassist and lead guitarist), Dave Suzuki was brought in. He would fill all of these roles as well as that of lyricist and backing vocalist. This led to the release of 1997’s Forever Underground and 2000’s Dawn of the Apocalypse, the latter of which marked a significant step towards a new, heavier sound which would become more prominent on their following albums.
Vocalist Thorn, who had handled vocal duties on Dawn of the Apocalypse, was soon fired from the band. This led to the addition in 2001 of Deicide frontman Glen Benton on vocals along with original member Tony Lazaro on guitars and Dave Suzuki on bass, drums, and lead guitars. The band’s first album with Benton, 2003’s Dechristianize, was released to much critical acclaim. The band’s next album, released in 2007, was Icons of Evil. Vital Remains also put out its first live DVD, Evil-Death-Live, the same year, in Europe on 9 July, and in the US on 31 July through Polish label Metal Mind Productions.
On November 21, 2007, Vital Remains announced they are seeking a bassist and lead guitarist. No further information was given. On March 29, 2008, the band announced their latest tour line-up, excluding Dave Suzuki. It is presently unclear whether Suzuki is removed from the band permanently or if he is merely unable to tour for the time being. Tony Lazaro is the only original member of the band.