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
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.
– The Beast
For Fans Of:
Morbid Angel, Slayer, Sodom and Possessed
Choices and The Sea Came In At Last
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