posted on 8/2008 By:
Vader is no longer simply a band. The name has become an institution, a stalwart symbol of determination and destruction among death metal's pantheon. As the title of this tome suggests, it has been twenty-five years since the band's birth, but even an act as seemingly mundane as their formation serves as testament to their fortitude. Back then, even listening to heavy metal was an ardous task in Poland. Swapping and shifting bootlegs around from behind the Iron Curtain required far more dedication than ripping MP3s through mom-n'-dad's DSL, and the prospect of building your own makeshift amplification is completely alien to the fortunate upstarts that reside within a stone's throw of a Guitar Center.
Yes, Vader's level of tenacity is damn-near unmatched, and their ruthless influence has led a charge of Eastern European brutality that just as easily couldn't have happened. Led by the iconic, instantly recognizable vox and leads of main man Peter Wiwczarek, and powered by a shifting lineup that has collectively built a legacy with brick, mortar, and blood, Vader has amassed a near-ludicrous discography that hasn't stopped growing since the splash made by 1990's Morbid Reich. This commemoration serves to nutshell the band's improbable journey. While XXV could be used as a textbook to school the rookies, a pants-kick to stir some attention among fresh-faced sidewalkers, or a snazzy way to condense the existing fan's CD wallet, no mistake should be made regarding its true intention: killing everything.
Fear not, fiends. This is not some slapped-ass compllation of previously-pubbed pummel. Peter and Co. aren't known to passively produce, nor have they ever been. The band have taken it upon themselves to re-record these 25 career-spanning tracks with appropriate 21st Century precision and heft, repackaging and recharging their wares with fresh fury. Wisely, they chose to focus on their least physically-accessible stuff, dedicating the majority of the first disc to their sinister 1990's material. And damn, the thrash-keen venom of The Ultimate Incantation and the serious-as-fuck wreckage of De Profundis sounds inhumanly awesome in this incarnation. Daray puts in a spirited perfomance behind the kit, bringing the tracks up to speed without trying to out-trigger Doc's indelible imprints. "Chaos", "Crucified Ones", and "Reborn in Flames" hit the hardest out of this block, as the band capture their crowd-swirling, Christ-posing supremacy in true sternum-crushing fashion. The disc closes with cuts from their underrated, overlooked gem Black to the Blind, an album whose only fault was being released in 1997, lean times for the death traffic.
Disc 2 brings two surprises. The first of which, the encroachment of keyboards into "Kingdom" (courtesy of Vesania's Seigmar), is an embellishment that most Vader fans could do without. The second, however, is wholeheartedly welcomed. XXV has made the best songs from 2000's Litany listenable...without the fear of blowing your car speakers. The scrotum-peeling level of bass that had been steroid-jacked into "Wings" and "Cold Demons" has been respectfully tempered here, without losing an ounce of heaviness or brutality. Also, the band's certified party jam, "Xeper", is absolutely steamrolling, as Peter spits the second verse as rapid-fire nailgun target practice. Showcasing the band at the height of their heartpunch precision, these tracks are worth the purchase alone.
The remaider of the disc consists of single-serve snapsnots of their more recent output. "Dark Transmission", high on groove and heavy on hook, is a highlight, despite being on the the few songs from The Beast sans jaw-dropping solo. Two ludicriously-fun covers cinch this book shut, though "Raining Blood" is conspicously absent, so Live in Japan should find its way into your crosshairs if you're on the Slayer hunt.
So the tracklisting is ace, the production carries the near-flawless weight of Impressions in Blood...what's not to love? Re-recordings have been stigmatized to a certain degree, as they frequently run the risk of reeking of desperation (Destruction), gimmickry (Testament), or tasteless repulsion (the upcoming Bonded By Blood redux). XXV falls prey to none of these. Sure, there are some quirks on here that wil sandblast the skin of the diehards, like the oddly robotic/lackadaisacal execution of "Blood of Kingu", and Seigmar's smeared-on, wholly unnecessary presence on certain tracks. But the errors are both scarce and minor, and don't detract from this experience - this definitive cross-section of a legendary career. Vader's work must be heard, and their warrior-esque mettle revered. This epic tome bears the band's battle-spattered shield to generations both new and old, showcasing one of the most instantly recognizable, vital sounds in heavy metal. Vader are living legends, and this hammers the point home. Raise your horns and hail the gods; may their death knells reverberate for twenty-five more.
Register to post comments.
Welcome To The Morbid Reich
Impressions In Blood
The Art of War EP
Reign Forever World