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Pure Metal: Vader – The Beast
The Hobo review

Polish-born, death metal purists Vader began their lengthy and uncompromising career back in 1986, trading tapes on the European thrash circuit. Needless to say, the guys have come a far way since then; accumulating a legion of dedicated fans, and touring with the likes of Bolt Thrower, Deicide and Slayer.

Vader funded their first headlining tour back in 1999 – a full thirteen years after they formed. That has to indicate something of the character of Vader – driven, loyal and unrelenting, without a care for what their peers do. It is this uncompromising individuality that has allowed Vader to release quality releases such as Litany, Blood/RFW and (my personal favourite) De Profundis.

In 2004, Vader have released their latest album The Beast (on Metal Blade) to continue this tradition. We jump straight from the minute long instrumental introduction into "Out Of The Deep", which kicks off with a good forty seconds of death/thrash madness before going into an inevitable Vader blast. "Dark Transmission" is something of a more mid-paced track, with a slightly annoying, and continuously repeated chorus – but not without an array of interesting riffs and all the droning power of a juggernaut.

"Firebringer" rekindles the Vader tradition of blistering thrashy riffs, impressive solos and bursts of grinding, unabated power. "The Sea Came In At Last" opens with a generic Vader tremolo-death riff, which quickly jumps into an uncharacteristic, catchy little thrash pattern. This track is one of the highpoints of the album, where Vader are actually able to (to use an exhausted cliché) break the mould by incorporating new elements previously unexplored by the band (namely plays at melody and atmosphere).

From there we move to the flat out thrash track "I Will Prevail", to the rather predictable "The Zone" – which features a tricky little breakdown that saves the song from monotony. "Insomnia" is another quality, straight up death metal track, whereas the slow grinding verses of "Apopheniac" give the effect of controlled, Bolt Thrower-like power – which builds to a great solo by guitarist and vocalist Peter.

The final track "Choices" opens with a ninety second melodic, acoustic buildup that suddenly combusts into a funkin’ thrash groove complemented by some appropriately stylin’ drum work, and finishes on a smooth solo. Peter ends the album with these words:

 "Like freely river of perceptions, consciousness, private library… Life, choice, death, despite the circumstances, there is always your way."

Daray adequately fills the void the absence of the drumming beast Doc created – through he is notably not quite up to Doc’s standards. 

There seems to be a suspiciously dearth supply of tricky fills and mind-blowing blast beats, though this does not take away from the album itself. Vader have once more delivered their patented style of death metal with a few new twists; more carefully thought out solos (with a greater focus on beauty and melody), an even cooler range of Slayer and Possessed derived riffs, and a few experimental tracks that dare to lurk beyond the consistent formula that has made Vader what it is today. 

Oddly enough, it is these experimental tracks that make this album so powerful. Vader have not tried to artificially inject new elements into their music, but rather incorporated elements into their evolving sound. This album manages to escape the monotony of a lot of Vader releases – which has no doubt thrown off many prospective Vader fans in the past – however, the band still sticks to what it knows, and proves once more that after all these years Vader is still a brutal, uncompromising and relentless death metal group.

CD Info 

Vader – The Beast
Label: Metal Blade
Genre: Death Metal
For Fans Of: Morbid Angel, Slayer, Sodom and Possessed
Best Tracks: Choices and The Sea Came In At Last

1.      Intro 
2.      Out Of The Deep 
3.      Dark Transmission 
4.      Firebringer 
5.      The Sea Came In At Last 
6.      I Shall Prevail 
7.      The Zone 
8.      Insomnia 
9.      Apopheniac 
10.    Choices
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