After 37 years leading Poland’s top death/thrash band, Piotr Wiwczarek is showing no sign whatsoever of slowing down. Back with their sixteenth studio album, here is a band who are very polished indeed, perhaps too much? This is all very clean indeed, and while the instruments are delineated, they are somehow muddled together. It is quite a short album, as there are eleven songs at less than 30 minutes in length, and while solid just seems to be missing the mark for me. While there are plenty of death influences in here as well to give it some grunt, there are also times when it feels almost as if they are going through the motions and can’t wait to get out on the road and transform them into something else quite different indeed. The twin guitars on “Emptiness” actually sound more like Thin Lizzy than Vader, certainly not containing the threat I expected at all.
I have listened to Vader on and off for many years, and while this is good, I do not think it stands up against albums such as ‘Tibi Et Igni’, even though it is the same line-up. Mind you, looking at the reviews around the internet it appears I am very much in the minority as lots of others think this is a masterpiece. For me it is crying out for more aggression, roughness and sheer raw unadulterated power, and while that will come through on the live circuit when it gets going again, for now all of that has been subsumed under too many layers of polish and varnish. This needs to be sweaty and visceral, and instead we have something which is far more refined, and not in a good way.