Vader

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De Profundis

Vader - De Profundis ©1996 Conquest Music
1. Silent Empire
2. An Act Of Darkness
3. Blood Of Kingu
4. Incarnation
5. Sothis
6. Revolt
7. Of Moon, Blood, Dream And Me
8. Vision And The Voice
9. Reborn In Flames

Second full-length from the Polish madmen, easily one of the best death metal albums ever done. Though The Ultimate Incantation and Black to the Blind are both very good - musically speaking only, for they failed to get such great production on either album - De Profundis is a landmark and a near-perfect extrapolation of Slayer's and Sepultura's vision. This album builds on the heavy rhythmic attack introduced by the two bands, but is a testament to what "death metal" really stands for, in the way it takes the straightforward "catchy" riffage of thrash and inserts tremolo riffing and atonal melody.

What is remarkable is the way this album combines likeable riffing with extreme brutality: De Profundis sound and demeanour is terrifying, and the music is downright oppressive in the way it never lets up. It can get almost monotonous, the violence with which these 34 minutes pass, yet there's never a moment where you feel like not wanting to hear the next blast, or the next double-bass run - in fact, this is one of the few albums I can listen to on repeat. The production is very well-integrated, and the band sound like the tightest militaty unit - sound-wise as well as timing and composition-wise. Although it is much messier and more chaotic than both Slayer and Sepultura, there's definitely heavy influence from both bands here, in the way they present tight rhythms and essentially base songs around the low-E string. Vader also draw heavily from Slayer's lead guitar style. Yes, it's all atonal tremolo-bar wailing.

Although "Silent Empire", "Sothis" and "Of Moon, Blood, Dream And Me" are the stand-outs, all tracks are absurdly consistent in quality. They're also madly frantic and have crushing double-bass drumwork (better believe it, that bass-drum sound is HUGE) - play "Silent Empire" to your mother, and she will not believe it isn't the apocalypse.

Review by Rahul Joshi

Review date: 03/2000

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Litany

Vader - Litany ©2000 Metal Blade
1. Wings
2. The One Made Of Dreams
3. Xeper
4. Litany
5. Cold Demons
6. The Calling
7. North
8. Forwards To Die!!!
9. A World Of Hurt
10. The World Made Flesh
11. The Final Massacre

The resounding thump of a healthy bass drum, and you know Vader are back. Black From the Blind is a traumatic past to this quartet, almost, compared to this aural whipping, and although it doesn't really match De Profundis in songwriting or intensity, Litany fimly places them at the top of the new wave of death metal. Ah! Sweet taste of the good old? The dioristic onslaught of Vader? But wait...

Endless blasts/double bass from Doc and the wall of sound tremolo-riff spells are of course present, but also furthered: the dubious noose of catchiness now adorns them, and there's no mistaking the extra effort put into making it considerably more accessible than their last full-length. Unlike what one would think, though, the catchiness here does not mean death (Death?) - it sounds suspiciously like progress. Which, to my reckoning, is what it is, starting with the production; De Profundis with greater snare definition and (slightly) better mid-range would sound like this. The more homogeneous tempo - "warp speed" comes to mind - might subject the ADD afflicted to the "sameness" treatment, but I wouldn't expect the more discerning listeners or adrenaline junkies to gripe. What is remarkable is that rabidity unites with hooks to create something unique: a technical death metal album with scores to settle and genres/fans to unite.

The songs are all short and tight, the quality distributed evenly across the tracklist. Still, the beatings of "Litany" and "Cold Demons" capture special attention. The drummer, Doc, deserves a mystery cult for his merciless drumskin drubs, and Peter's riffs are just thunderously aggressive...majestic, even, a grand thrashy buzz of dirty amp-vomit. The bass is allowed more space to breathe and do its thing, and therefore the thickness that was absent on Black to the Blind is back. And it's mean and restless. Please spend money on this half-hour hurricane.

Review by Rahul Joshi

Review date: 05/2000

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Armageddon

Vader - Armageddon ©2002 The End Records
1. Dark Age
2. The Wrath
3. Blood Of Kingu
4. Revolt
5. Reborn In Flames
6. An Act Of Darkness
7. Fear Of Napalm
8. Dethroned Emperor
9. Carnal
10. Foetus God
11. Distant Dream
12. Crucified Ones
13. Omen / Intro
14. Hell Awaits
15. Creation Of Light & Darkness
16. Breath Of Centuries
17. Vicious Circle
18. Red Passage
19. Black Sabbath
20. Wings

The very idea of a brutal death metal band getting a "greatest hits" package amuses me to no end. The idea that Vader, one of the first metal bands to emerge from the formerly communist Eastern nations, would have anything remotely resembling a "hit" on commercial radio is one that inspires a melee of laughter. Thus, it's much more appropriate to call Armageddon a career retrospective on one of Poland's best known and most prolific acts over the last decade. And the compilation serves a second purpose of providing precisely enough Vader for a more casual fan such as myself.

Throughout this CD, which culls tracks from the band's full length releases, live recordings, demos and EPs, the band is remarkably consistent in their delivery. Vader offers a good mix between 80s thrash and 90s death metal brutality. More often than not, the thought "Slayer" ran through my head while listening to this CD. Perhaps it's just the maniacally intense delivery or unrelenting nature of Vader's music, but Slayer strikes me as one of their more significant influences, even if Vader's music peels the paint off Slayer's tour bus. Secondly, Vader has a tendency to veer towards a more fluid approach, rather than resorting to constant blast beating or ridiculous time changes. The compilation has three cover songs: Celtic Frost's "Dethroned Emperor", Slayer's "Hell Awaits" and rather ugly live version of "Black Sabbath", which could have easily been left off the CD. The live tracks are a little less impressive than the studio inclusions, mostly due to the inability to accurately capture what Vader does onstage.

On a whole, Armageddon is a good introduction to Vader if perhaps you've missed out on them and want to find out what the fuss is about. Vader's brand of death metal is more appealing than one might expect, particularly with their sound firmly rooted in older thrash metal. And besides, with twenty songs included, you get plenty of Vader goodness for your money here.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2004

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Revelations

Vader - Revelations ©2002 Metal Blade
1. Epitaph
2. The Nomad
3. Wolftribe
4. Whisper
5. The Code
6. Son Of Fire
7. When Darkness Calls
8. Torch Of War
9. Lukewarm Race
10. Revelation Of Black Moses

YHRGH! Vader's back, and open up Revelations with the fastest, most pummeling.. Wait... What? Crap! That's what I get for starting a review before listening to the album, eh? I say, there seems to have been change in the Vader camp. While their previous album, the excellent Litany, was an insane speedfest, the band has stepped back to vary their tempos a bit more. Don't get me wrong, this is still thrashy death metal of quite high class, but unlike Litany, this time you won't suffer a concussion if you try to keep up. Throw in some riffs that wouldn't have sounded too out of place on many an 80s metal LP ("When Darkness Calls" being a prime example), some melodic solos sprinkled amongst their usual chaotic whammy-bar leads, and it's safe to say that Vader are still willing to experiment a bit with their form and style, even if they're not about to be mistaken for Sigh any time soon. Thankfully they've also retired the loud, techno-like bass drum trigger sample that adorned the previous release.

Still, a Vader album is a Vader album is a Vader album, as the famous poet Albert Schweitzer once put it. Thus this falls squarely into the group of CDs that are worth getting if you, like me, love the band's other output, but that you otherwise easily can ignore without feeling bad about it. For those new to Vader, I would still point to De Profundis as their finest (half)hour and the best starting point, but once you're hooked, Revelations ought to deserve a high spot on your wantlist.

My only real complaint is one I'm sure Vader are quite familiar with by now, namely the brevity of the album. I have the digipak release, which has a seven minute long bonus track, yet still only lasts thirty-five minutes.

Review by ystein H-O

Review date: 04/2003

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