Arguably the biggest death metal band not from North America or Sweden, Poland’s Vader is a metal institution, a juggernaut of heaviness that will never let you down. They’ve been releasing albums of consistently above-average quality since 1992, never stop touring and like their hard-working Polish brethren Decapitated and Behemoth, have survived hardship and tragedy, namely the death of long-term drummer Doc in 2005. But this is one beast that refuses to lay down and die and as a result we are now rewarded with the quartet’s eleventh full-length “Tibi Et Igni.”
Firmly rooted in the old-school of death metal, Vader have been demonstrating an ever more noticeable Slayer influence over the past few years which means that as opposed to the standard blast n’ roar one might expect, we get fantastic, blood-soaked thrash workouts like the anthemic ‘Triumph of Death’ which will give your neck muscles one hell of a severe workout. The flexibility of the riffing is in evidence throughout the album with some particularly nasty little chugging sections in the “Reign in Blood”-esque ‘Where Angels Weep’ and the grotesque, squealing leads that open ‘Worms of Eden.’
There’s also a surprising desire to experiment in more unexpected ways as the grandiose orchestral elements of mid-album highlight ‘Hexenvessel’ demonstrates. Helped along by alternating passages of light-speed blasting and clinical staccato riffs this is one of Vader’s most intriguing tracks to date and the best thing is it’s not even a one-off as the mournful melodies of closing track ‘The End’ shows the band’s more melodic side and even features a spoken-word section! That a band this far into their career is willing to push the envelope is a joy and something more of the old guard should take notice of. Of course, this is a Vader album after all and the classic sound is nailed to perfection on the likes of ‘Armada on Fire’ and ‘Light Reaper’ with the latter in particular featuring some of the group’s deadliest riffing to date.
As expected, the playing is staunchly professional, the production is crystal-clear, vocalist Peter still has a distinctive heavily-accented growl and not a second is wasted. When the smoke clears and the dust settles there will be few left standing but you can bet your last pennies that Vader will still be there, defiant and proud. Where they belong.