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Tibi Et Igni

Nuclear Blast (2014)
Rating: 8.5/10

Formed in 1983, Polish death metal veterans Vader are still alive and well. While many other bands experimented with their sound, Vader has always set the bar. No progressive bits creeping in, no songs with clean vocals, and no hardcore influences, but just pure, angry, metal music that make denim and leather wearers proud.

With 500,000 records sold, Vader are also one of the most successful acts in extreme metal, a fact lost on most. Tibi Et Igni is their latest and it’s another standard bearer for extreme metal, reminding me of how I felt when I first heard the Sothis EP (1994) during my late teen years.

Tibi Et Igni opens with an orchestral piece that sets the stage like a blood-soaked fantasy movie, before breaking into the speed demon ‘Go To Hell’. The band hit the ground running with blast beat drums and circle pit guitar work topped off by the barking vocals that influenced all of European extreme metal three decades ago.

The carnage continues with brow beaters like ‘Where Angels Weep’ (which features a great scale-defying solo), ‘Abandon All Hope’, and the more dynamic ‘Worms Of Eden’ which features slightly more melodic lead guitar work and an ugly (in the best possible way) noise break about three-quarters of the way through.

Vader also offers breaks here and there from the breakneck speed of most of their songs. While still fast, the band show a little more groove with ‘Triumph Of Death’. It has a great bounce to it that lead into moments of thrash-inducing pieces, but for the most part the band stick with the groove. ‘Hexenkessel’ follows it. Led in by an orchestrated intro, the lead guitar work and machine gun rhythm builds it slowly, which causes it to immediately stand out from this particular batch of songs. By the time the “Vader sound” gets in full swing it’s already pretty damn epic. The band reign it back in though and pummel the shit out of the listener with lots of expertly-timed changes and short burst solos.

Overall, most Vader albums are as good as their predecessors but Tibi Et Igni takes that extra step into greatness. I’m willing to bet that diehard Vader fans (let’s face it, this is the kind of band that doesn’t have casual listeners) will love this. There are a few moments that sound pretty similar to each other, as there is with any extreme metal album, but the majority of these songs really stand on their own two feet. That, my friends, is why Vader are the quiet standard bearer for the movement.

Mark Fisher

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