the Hobo review
Vader are perhaps one of the most committed and consistent death metal acts to have ever toured this earth. They first popped up in the underground music scene in 1986, where the worked hard releasing demos in the metal tape-trading circuit. Some years later, Vader became the first death metal band to ever sign a record contract from behind the Iron Curtin (Earache Records, back in 1992) in their native Poland.
Stylistically, Vader haven’t done anything to ‘break boundaries’ of death/thrash as such – in fact, their appeal lies in their extreme worship of Morbid Angel and Slayer’s Reign In Blood. When the popularity of death metal began to decline in the mid 1990’s, Vader continued to tour and release records – even when they were confronted by a lack of label support. You’ve got to hand it to them; their extreme appropriation of classic death and thrash metal is impressive - their album catalogue even more so.
Having being resigned once more to Metal Blade, Vader have released a somewhat scattered, mélange album by compiling a collection of left-over (original, covers and live) tracks from 2003’s Blood EP and 2001’s Reign Forever World. And while a brand-spankin’-new Vader album would be ideal, this release should be successful in tiding over die-hard fans.
The first track Shape Shifting brings us straight into the no-nonsense death metal Vader are renown for. While slightly regressive stylistically, the song boasts a complex arrangement and intense drumwork. Quite an apt way to kick start the album.
Next we’re plunged back into mid-tempo work with the second track We Wait. Here Vader thrash out old school Kreator type riffs, mixed with thick bursts of death metal sludge. The slower tempo unfortunately counteracts what momentum the first track held – perhaps this song would have been better placed towards the end of the album.
As The Fallen Rise however, takes us straight back into high energy Slayer-esque thrash in a molten two-minute burst of energy and riffing. Son Of Fire follows similarly – a track while heavily based on a Slayer foundation, actually contains more Morbid Angel derived power.
From there the album is a mish-mash collection of covers, old cuts and live tracks. You’ll find some entertaining but ultimately trivial Mayhem, Destruction and Judas Priest covers as well as two totally random live tracks. While songs like Frozen Paths and Privilege Of The Gods are well written, by-the-book death metal tracks, others like When Darkness Calls and Traveler resort to a slower, thrashier feel that ultimately fail to stand out.
This album is regrettably plagued by down periods between the ‘Class A’ Vader songs and the simple fillers. A somewhat slower overall release than what one may expect, but still Vader nonetheless. If you go in and buy the album and consciously accept that this is not a full-fledged, polished and tuned new release, you shouldn’t be disappointed.
Let’s hope it’s not too long before we
see yet another Vader release on the shelves.
Vader - Blood/Reign Forever World