Vader apparently is the new Death, as in each new album is basically Piotr Wiwczarek and a revolving cast of faceless hired guns. Has that affected the music? I think so. Not a great deal, as this Polish Death Metal legend has never put out a truly bad album, but if you think back to when they really hit their ass-kicking creative stride (for me that was 1997’s Black to the Blind and 2000’s Litany), there was that Peter/Mauser/Shambo/Doc (R.I.P.) lineup stability. That’s sadly gone now, and it recently dawned on me that may be the reason I don’t recall as much of Vader’s output over the last decade as I should (save for 2005’s outstanding The Art of War EP). This album is not much different than any of their full-lengths from 2002’s Revelations onward. Maybe a touch Thrashier with a bit more Slayer worship than of late, giving it a return-to-roots quality that lifts and separates, but not much in the memorability department. Of course when you’re in the process of listening to this album, it’s awesome. It’s heavy, it’s fast, it’s dynamic, good riffs, great drumming and Piotr’s unmistakable trademark vocals, it’s fucking Vader, man! The name alone warrants a 9. But nothing really sticks, and at 37 minutes it’s over too soon. Especially when you consider the morbidly paced closer, “Black Velvet and Skulls of Steel,” is probably the album’s standout cut. I heard that certain versions of this release contain two bonus tracks -Vibrators and Extreme Noise Terror covers- however, I unfortunately bought the Israeli version.
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Unlike Jack, I got the “special limited edition digi-pack” version of this album with the two additional tracks. Personally, I think I got the Israeli version because the record store sure charged me like it was an import. The two bonus tracks are radically different from each other in terms of style. The Extreme Noise Terror track, “Raping The Earth” is typical ENT - fast, brutal and over before you know it (it clocks in at just a hair under two minutes). The Vibrators song, “Troops of Tomorrow” (also covered by The Exploited) is more in the style of “Black Velvet and Skulls of Steel”, a slow, heavy song with a strong hook that makes it quite possibly the most memorable song on this CD. I’d still say that it was a 9.25 rating in my estimation, mostly because the ENT cover really adds nothing and throws grindcore in between two doomy tracks. It’s disruptive and if I had a say in how the album was laid out, I would have put it in earlier where the more brutal and aggressive tracks were because that would be where it was most effective.
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