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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.