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How can a full, ass kicking release be crammed into under half an hour. 29 minutes is scarcely more than an EP, and yet the third release from Polish death metal titans Vader, Black To The Blind, manages to rip plenty of faces right off in that amount of time. Packed into this 27:47 wonder are 11 great outings of death metal, many of which do not even reach the three minute mark. This album also contains my first foray into the Vader discography, True Names. This is a short and aggressive album with a whole lot of cool riffs and fast blast beats as the band have became renowned for.
For those unfamiliar with Vader, they are a death metal band formed as the project of Piotr "Peter" Wiwczarek, who writes the majority of the music and lyrics and, on this release, takes the guitars, bass and vocals. They are heavily influenced by the 1980's thrash acts, in particular Slayer and Venom, the former of which forms a large part of their sound, with their riffs boasting a huge amount of Slayer homage. Combine this with a roaring growl from Peter and some crazy blast beats from Krysztof "Doc" Rackowski, and you have Vader, one of the most unique and consistent bands in the genre. The band are also one of the most infamous bands in the death metal genre, purely for the fact that their songs are so laden with thrash metal influence and the fact that each of their albums is a solid listen with enough solid riffs to keep it going.
Black To The Blind contains some fantastic songs throughout. Album opener Heading for Internal Darkness is the perfect introduction for the uninitiated, with a lot of extremely fast drumming, the usual aggressive vocals, and absolutely perfectly written riffs. This is a prime example of how death metal should be done to perfection, with many memorable moments, including a growl towards the end that trails on for far longer than Vader fans are accustomed to. True Names, my personal initiation into the sound of Vader, remains one of the standouts of the album. Coupled with Sword Of The Witcher, this is the finest song i have ever heard from the band. It starts out fairly fast, with a lot of aggression to it and sheer talent behind the instrumental work. However, around the halfway mark, it shifts into absolute insane speeds, with some very fast growls reminiscent of Cannibal Corpse's George Fisher. This is a true masterclass in the art of death metal music, and deserves a listen from everyone.
The title track has a lot of tremolo riffing and blast beats, and some great lyrics from Peter, with some rather memorable riffs that make for an enjoyable listen. This is a song that should break the neck of any listener as he or she headbangs away to it, as it truely does earn it. The solos are what makes this song what it is, being very well written, and far more listenable than the majority of Vader solos. They does not contain many notes, and don't last very long, but they serves as a nice interlude and fits the brutal nature of the song perfectly. The last minute of this song is some of the finest death metal out there, with incredibly catchable riffs and a never ending atmosphere of dread.
This album is exactly what death metal should embody, despite being one of Vader's most often maligned albums. I honestly never understood the hate for this album, as it was my personal introduction to Vader and one that not many of their albums managed to top. However, this is still not the best thing they put out, merely a stepping stone to greatness, albeit an almost perfect album. Vader are a band of numerous talents and creating an album that is less than half an hour long with all the intensity of a bull fight is one of them.
Poland's deservedly well-known death metal legends, Vader, are part of a small yet honorable group of bands that have become known for mind boggling consistency. If you find that you like Litany, chances are you'll love De Profundis and Revelations just as much. Sure, a few folks will complain about how much The Beast sucked or how Impressions in Blood is nothing like The Ultimate Incantation, but most Vader fans are smart enough to realize that there is something special in each and every album. Yet for some reason, their third release, Black to the Blind, seems to be somewhat overlooked and under discussed.
Maybe it's because it falls in between two undisputed classics in De Profundis and Litany, but I find Black to the Blind to be every bit as good as those two. Clocking in at just under thirty minutes, this is the shortest release the band has ever put out; this would lead one to believe that it is also the fastest, and they might be right. It's difficult to judge the relative speed between two Vader releases, as they've always played an extremely fast, intense, high-octane brand of death metal, featuring some of the most mind blowingly fast and precise drumming of the nineties. Doc's performance here is every bit as good as anything else he ever did in his lifetime, blasting away with almost robotic precision. And just like every other album, I find it hard to find a weak track, only some which rock a little bit less. I find the least memorable one to be The Red Passage, but that isn't saying much, as each and every track is 100% solid death metal. Beast Raping and the second half of Distant Dream are probably the two slowest moments on the entire album barring the intro to Carnal, but again, that's kind of a moot point when even those sections are still fast enough to keep the flow going. Hell, even the little breakdown near the end of the title track is bookended by two ludicrously fast sections. I think what people are mistaking as "groovy" riffs are simply slowed down versions of pre established riffs. The middle section of Fractal Light, the pre-verse of True Names, they wouldn't sound out of place on De Profundis if they were played but ten or twenty BPMs faster.
But the best of the best here, is clearly the third track, Carnal. It starts off as the slowest part, the guitars grinding slowly while the drums carry an extremely simple cymbal rhythm, and yet it manages to be completely captivating, making you earnestly await for when the track will inevitably explode. The listener's anxiety is succinctly obliterated and replaced with total awe as the piece takes on it's true form, rolling your ass with one of the fastest riffs Peter and Co. ever wrote and Doc's signature blasts repeatedly molesting your eardrums like a machine gun.
It's difficult to do an in-depth analysis of this album, or any Vader album for that matter, mainly because of how consistent they are throughout each record. The nigh indiscernible differences between the tracks aren't enough to bring the overall enjoyment of the album down, unlike Goatwhore. Black to the Blind smokes face from start to finish, with nothing more than a minor hiccup or two with the intro to The Red Passage. There isn't anything here that will change a skeptic's mind about the band, as it is nothing new, but it is another solid slab of intensity to satisfy any death metal fan. Recommended.
Like stated in the previous review, this cd is somewhat new ground for Vader. For the most part, its a move that works, as they band changes jsut a few things up.
The cd opens with one of the "different" songs, this being Heading for Internal Darkness. It starts like any Vader song might, but soon enough moves into some sort of groove riffs and things are slowed down a bit. The vocals are pretty much the same, maybe just not as gruff as before. The drumming is intense as always though, but it too is holding a bit back. The next two tracks are short songs and are pretty much Vader songs all the way, though maybe slowed down a tad. Song 5, True Names is another song to feature the "groove riffs", but its still a good tune.
The songs that follow are quite similar and most are short, being under 3 minutes, except for the title track, which comes in at just over 4 minutes. Yes, the music is somewhat slowed down on this cd and it just seems half inspired to me. Its not a bad cd though, but compared to other vader releases, i'd take them any day over this one. If you have never heard vader before, start with this cd, so you can get the idea of the vocals and what the band is about. THEN put on De Profundis or Litany. As far as production goes, nothing wrong with it on this cd.
best songs imo: Heading for Internal Darkness, True Names, Black to the Blind.
Most people will tell you that this is one of Vader's worst albums, well, I'm not most people, I guess! This album is probably one of Vader's best, and surely most innovative. This album isn't just straight-ahead death metal like a lot of their albums, theirs a lot more atmosphere on this one and it's not full-speed ahead all the time.
BttB absolutely flies off the starting block with "Heading for Internal Darkness", an absolute thrasher. "Carnal" is probably one of the best tracks here, with it's great stop-and-go action, and "True Names" has a plethora of fucking demonic sounding riffs. After listening to this album, one realizes that this album is different from every other Vader album, in that it's not almost constant blast beats, a truly original album from the Polish death masters.