Revelations will not disappoint any Vader fans.
This Polish band is one of those groups that have made a career out of
playing the same song over and over again. You know, just as groups like
AC/DC, Motorhead, Bolt Thrower and Marduk. But somehow these songs that
seem identical to the non-devotee are entirely different to the fanatic
of the band; and straying from the tried-and-true formula would result
in feelings approaching sadness.
For the first few minutes of Revelations, however,
things look a little worrisome. The first two songs on this disk sound
like Vader, but there is a total absence of blast beats. Based on the
songs from the group's previous recording, the MCD Reign Forever World,
it seemed that Vader may be headed toward a more mid-paced approach, which
isn't so bad in itself, but as far as Vader is concerned, it's definitely
something to be avoided.
Come song three, things are back to normal. Drummer
Doc has the best blast beat in all of death metal, and denying him the
possibility to blast to a maximum is a crying shame. As usual, Vader constructs
its songs in the same basic fashion, and using the same three or four
recycled beats. But who fucking cares? Citing this as a negative aspect
is completely missing the point.
Just like every proper Vader album that has come before
(with the possible exception of the debut, The Ultimate Incantation),
this album rocks hell. And while it isn't as good overall as the previous
full-length, Litany, it's in the same league. In fact, the production
has been improved in that the balance of the drums, and particular the
bass drum, is much more fitting for a death metal record. Where the kick
drums sounded sometimes a bit too huge and almost techno-like on Litany,
they're just right here. The guitar solos also are getting better in that
it's not always the same erratic noise bursts followed by frantic whinnying.
This time around there's actually some foraying into melodic territory.
If there's one thing that Vader can't do well, it's
play slow. Something weird happens when they do. It's like the one trick
that they pull off that sounds so satisfying when played fast is exposed
as nothing that special after all. Just take the band playing "Black
Sabbath" as an extreme but perfect example. On Revelations,
Vader tries to explore new ground by writing an entirely mid-paced to
slow song to round off the album. Not only is this song not fast, but
it's also like seven minutes long. Sure, it's not bad, but there is no
real need for it.
So, yeah, Vader is trying new things. Of course, this
progressing is to be taken into perspective considering the objective
one-dimensionality of this band. I think this is about as far as this
experimentation should go. And while the fairly regular band member revolving
door continues to go around, seeing Shambo - the bass player who was on
the previous three recordings - replaced, Vader will always be right as
long as the core (the godly drumming of Doc and the defining riff-writing
and vocals of Peter) remains intact.
Vader is one of the best death metal bands ever. Any
word of a new album or a chance to see this great band live again will
always bring tremendous joy to this writer. The release of Revelations
is no exception. De Profundis may be Vader's best record, and Black
to the Blind may be it's fastest, but damn it, there's room for this
new album and every one that will follow. Hail for ever and ever.