Vader – Tibi Et Igni (Nuclear Blast)

Thursday, 5th June 2014
Rating: 8/10

Leave it to Vader to come up with a no-frills, to-the-bone death metal album with personality…and separation. Separation, of course, from the retro minions, of which surprisingly, Vader isn’t poached from more. Guess it’s because they’re Polish, eh? With 30 years-plus under their (bullet) belts, one could vouch that Vader is the most ardent and formidable band of the classic death metal variety, with very few in terms of career missteps to speak of. In fact, probably the worst thing to happen to the band was when Earache foolishly dropped them in the mid-90s. Digby Pearson probably kicks himself for that one. Who cares –  Vader rolls on with the excellent Tibi Et Igni.

Vader’s core elements – strident thrash, nimble tremolo picking, and the fervent bark of ‘ole venerable Piotr Wiwczarek – are of course, fully intact across Tibi Et Igni (which stands for “For You and Fire”). Traditional fare such as opener “Go to Hell,” “Armada on Fire,” and the daunting “Abandon All Hope” supply a battery of potent one-two combos of Polish extremity, sometimes mixed up with mid-tempo romping, like on album highlight “To the Grave,” possibly the band’s most catchy song in quite some time. Better yet, the climatic churn of “The Eye of the Abyss” is utterly jarring, boasting a handful of well-executed syncopated riffs, and some Slayer-like breakdowns.

Taken into the context of the times, an album such as Tibi Et Igni is wholly valuable, if not remarkable given just how bloated death metal circa 2014 has become. Most of time, it’s a total shot in the dark whether a band has any muster; Vader, however, proves that once again, there are few bands in the death metal field as reliable. With their blinders on, Vader have a late-career gem with Tibi Et Igni.

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