Vader
Tibi Et Igni

Poland’s Vader is a death metal institution, long ago confirming their status as one of the genre’s true legends and most durable bands. Over 30 years have passed since the band’s formation and Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek and co are showing no signs of weariness as they soldier on with their 10th full length album, entitled Tibi Et Igni. While there’s a valid point that Vader have been treading water creatively for many years now, on the flipside the band is yet to release a dud album or material that could be deemed anything less than solid.  They are surely one of metal’s most consistent and reliable bands, even this far into their storied career.  Without drastically changing their long established formula, Vader continues chiselling away and refining their sound in subtle ways, which in turn keeps the band sounding fresh and inspired.

In fact, 2011’s rightfully lauded Welcome to the Morbid Reich album was one of their finest efforts in recent memory.  Thankfully Tibi Et Igni keeps the band’s momentum trudging onwards and upwards with another lean, concise selection of trademark Vader cuts, which is just about every bit as good as its predecessor without quite matching the band’s greatest achievements (De Profundis, Black to the Blind, Litany).  Despite the relative freshness of this latest Vader line-up, Wiwczarek surrounds himself with quality musicians that he effortlessly gets the best out of, ensuring the tried and true aspects of the Vader sound are upheld, glossed over with the touch of refinement and polish offsetting the primitive elements of their songwriting.

The dependable high quality of each new Vader release is admirable from a band plying their trade for such a long time, and although arguably they haven’t released a bona fide classic since 2000’s Litany, nor have they dropped the ball and released anything subpar. There’s a certain predictable comfort in what Vader deliver, yet the professional and exuberant manner in which they execute their old school brand of heavily thrash-infused death metal continues to astound. Bandleader Wiwczarek is a particular marvel and an absolute master of his craft.  His distinctive bark is an acquired taste, however it’s undoubtedly a unique facet of the band’s sound and the fire and conviction in his voice hasn’t diminished one bit over the years. Vocals aside, the man is a goddamn riff machine and one of the more underrated songwriters in the death metal realm.  The duo of Wiwczarek and Spider Pajak wield razor sharp and consistently catchy riffs, balancing their old school death metal roots with powerful doses of breakneck thrash and wild but controlled soloing.

The more firmly and confidently ingrained orchestral elements embedded into the classic Vader sound are once again integrated at various points during Tibi Et Igni.  Although the nearly two minute symphonic intro during opener “Go to Hell” is a touch overdone, it’s all quickly swept aside as the band launch into top gear with feverish glee and the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face.  The blisteringly fast “Where Angels Weep” arrives packed with scorched riffs, insane soloing and a killer mid-song breakdown, Vader style.  This song shows the band at their blazingly fast and vicious best. This kind of furious speed is deployed at will throughout the album, skilfully tempered by the fluid tempo shifts and more dynamic song structures, such as the epic symphonic build-up and militaristic surge of “Hexenkessel”, or the atmospheric elements arising from the furnace blasting core of “The Eye of the Abyss”.

Vader’s always prevalent thrash roots come to the fore with brilliant results on standout “Triumph of Death”, an old school thrasher with a burly death metal backbone. The killer guitar tone sounds particularly impressive during the crunchier mid-paced riffing on the track.  While a handful of highlights stand above the pack, there are no glaring weaknesses or skip-worthy tracks, as Vader operate to their strengths and execute with typical efficiency and ruthlessness.

Tibi Et Igni is a Vader album through and through, and a pretty damn good one to boot, well and truly proving the fire still rages in the belly of this aging beast and their axes of fury are cutting sharp as ever.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
June 10th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Loving this. The songs with the keyboards are brilliant.


  2. Commented by: Staylow

    I’ve always been kinda lukewarm on Vader, but I’ve been digging this.


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