June 10, 2014 Vader – Tibi Et Igni (Album review)
Having been around since 1983, Poland’s death-metal stalwarts Vader have actually only released nine studio albums. Never far from the consciousness of extreme metal maniacs everywhere, nine albums in over 30 years might come as a bit of a surprise. Album number ten is all set to drop, however. Though the studio album numbers may seem sparse, there is rarely ever a lull in the Vader camp. Following a period of intense touring activity which saw vocalist Piotr Wiwczarek and company play some 200 shows in 25 countries, Tibi Et Igni was completed at home in Poland at Hertz Studios, and comes to the masses via Nuclear Blast Records.
Latin for “You and Fire,” a new Vader record is always a beast to contend with. There are those on the message boards already criticizing the hardworking Poles for repeating themselves or getting ‘boring.’ Most likely these are the same people who complain when a band they could once ‘rely on’ has changed up their style and abandoned their sound. What’s an artist to do? With certain fans it seems like these bands just cannot win sometimes.
But Vader has sold over 500,000 albums worldwide since their inception. They’ve toured with Testament, opened for Metallica and Slayer, and when it comes to writing excellent death metal albums, you can rest assured they know what they’re doing. Diving into Tibi Et Igni, you know right away that you are listening to a Vader album. And this is a good thing. The theatrical, classical opening of “Go To Hell” gives way to the dense, ripping riffs this band is known for. Piotr’s voice is one of the most unique in death metal, gruff and gravelly while staying just this side of understandable. His thick Polish accent makes it even more legit, adding an exotic otherness to the songs which helps Vader stand out from the saturated death metal genre.
There’s fresh blood surrounding Piotr, with no other tenure in the band extending before the 2009 mark. You can hear that in the delivery. The production is top-notch, rendering the drums as deep as oceanic trenches, while the riffs slice the air like sonic machetes. The outstanding “Armada on Fire” features all these strengths. It has a very early 90’s Slayer / Sepultura vibe going on, with a midsection that is certain to churn mosh pits into maelstroms everywhere. If anybody out there is discontented with where the aforementioned Slayer took its musical direction in this millennium, the new Vader album definitely scratches that itch. The thrash element is even more pronounced on ‘Triumph of Death,’ a Kreator-esque gem that will have fans reaching for the Advil to ease their headbanging-induced neck pain.
Vader is not afraid to explore more progressive templates of sound as on the longer, more cinematic ‘Hexenkessel.’ This is also true on “Eye of the Abyss.” The long, horror/classical intro builds the atmosphere up, giving way to a wicked solo, and then its back to the traditional Vader formula of death-metal riffing and Piotr’s growling narrative. The final song ‘The End’ is built out of a very slow, massively heavy beat featuring some double-bass mastery following a few spoken-word verses. The guitar leads are superb here.
The thrash elements alongside the more unique tracks help to bear up an album that does have some fairly safe Vader songs on it. Competent and reliable, nonetheless tracks like “Worms of Eden” and “Light Reaper” do very little to distinguish themselves as anything other than solid Vader tunes. That brings us full circle to those previously mentioned armchair critics. Is Vader breaking new ground with this album? No. Are they taking their own template and adding some juicy, refreshing tidbits to it? Certainly. Vader is many things; but above all, they are f**kin’ Vader. And that means solid, thrash-laden old-school death metal played with the high level of professionalism and sincerity we have come to expect from these guys. If you come prepared for such an onslaught, you will be very pleased by Tibi Et Igni. CrypticRock gives this album 4 out of 5 stars.