Vader – Thy Messenger (Nuclear Blast)

Tuesday, 28th May 2019
Rating: 8/10

Two years removed from their last studio album Dark Age, Vader felt the need to get another EP out there to satisfy their legion of followers – and also promote something new for their next round of summer festival dates that penetrate Europe. Recording these five songs in a week period, there’s an infectious sense of energy front to back on this short effort (the Judas Priest cover “Steeler” the longest cut at 4:03 – and three of the other four tracks not eclipsing 2:37). What shall we expect from the veteran extreme death/thrash purveyors on this go around?

More of what we’ve come to know and love from this Polish four-piece is present: catchy riffs even when launched at warp speed, the proper crunch sonically for the guitars and bass, ridiculous blasting and fill maneuvers, plus the forceful spitfire roar of guitarist Piotr Pawel Wiwczarek keeping the proceedings 100% Vader-approved. It’s amazing how many separate shred volleys get tossed into the two-minute and change opener “Grand Deceiver”, Spider and Piotr assuring the faithful that there aren’t any weak moments even when the short transitions take hold. “Litany” allows drummer James Stewart to flex a bit of his fluid tempo mechanics, exercising control and power in his mid-tempo to faster thrash/blasting activities as well as deliver a show-stopping, bombastic conclusion. Those who love British Steel probably remember the final track very well – and Vader give the song a bit of a dirtier edge on the guitars while elevating the groove on the drum front, paying homage to one of England’s finest masters of metal.

More bands that take three-four years between full-lengths should think hard about issuing smaller EP’s in between if possible – as it keeps the band interest going, plus allows the musicians to possibly try out new ideas or get that ideal cover or two in there. Thy Messenger should remind most of why Vader have been a consistent, dominate force in the thrash/death scene now for well over 36 plus years.

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