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Sometimes the best test of a band's strength is in their ability to make a compelling EP. The combination of original songs, live performances, covers and rarities can display how versatile an outfit can be within their own stylistic box. While many can shine in all departments, Vader stands as one of the better examples of this level of mastery, as they are well renowned for getting the job done on stage and also for providing innovative, yet not overly adventurous reinterpretations of classic songs. The early 2000s was something of a down point for a lot of traditionally oriented death metal bands, so this release also had the fortune of also providing fans of the old school (Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Grave, et cetera) with something to keep their inner corpse twitching.
The best part of this release is the 3 unique studio recordings, as they showcase the band's brutal yet almost mechanically disciplined approach to coating the ears in horrific darkness. "Reign World Forever" and "Privilege Of The Gods" particularly grip the ears with a wide assortment of thrash riffing right out of the same basic formula as was explored by the Florida scene in the early to mid 90s, along with the wild guitar soloing style inspired by Slayer and further expanded upon by Deicide. They are both fairly easy to follow yet intricate and subtle in their delivery, providing a tasteful mixture of completely insane blast sections and only partially insane up tempo assaults loaded with double bass drum quakes and a unique layering of tracks that is dense enough for "Altars Of Madness", yet vicious enough for "Pierced From Within".
Naturally one should discount all the other goodies found on here, particularly the cover songs which showcase Vader's flair for adapting songs from the thrash, heavy and black metal sub-genres to their own death metal medium with ease. The cover of "Freezing Moon" is particularly telling as the vocal interpretation features a much more subdued and narrator-like approach out of Piotr Wiwczarek, who is normally known for his signature guttural barks and growls. It's a good bit different than the goblin speak of Atilla or the plain frostbitten grit of Dead, but it fits in quite well with the somewhat heavier and slightly less atmospheric and cold instrumental interpretation that Vader brings in with it.
While perhaps not the best starting place for someone looking to get into this band, "Reign Forever World" is definitely a good addition to the collection, especially for those who really enjoyed the multifaceted character of "Litany", as the 3 original songs are stylistically very similar to it and this EP also contains 2 bonus tracks that are not available on the American release of said album. Vader stands as one of the few representatives of the early death metal scene that has proven completely consistent and free of any long hiatus or breakup periods, and this is no exception to their quality output.
'Reign Forever World' is typical EP when thinking of its contents, as there's new songs, covers and live versions. This lasts for over 32 minutes and was actually promoted with a lot of touring by the band, so this was important release anyways.
Three first songs are unique for this release. The title song presented varying paces after fast 'Litany' album (2000), and I must say this more varying Vader is my thing. 'Frozen Paths' is good quickie in vein of 'Litany'. 'Privilege of the Gods' is a masterpiece, with extremely fluent songwriting which gets bigger towards the ending. Fluent songwriting has always been the band's strong point and another one is their unique style, which they stick to. But Vader do not have to change too much or discover new things, in my opinion. They have mastered their style and when the music is this strong, I'm happy to hear it! 'Red Dunes' and 'Lord of the Desert' are taken from the Japanese version of 'Litany'. Acid synth-scapes of the former work as intro to fast song with some Mid-Eastern melodies, but the song is just too samey to other 'Litany' material. Live tracks are okay, but feel patching amongst this material. Destruction's 'Total Desaster' is one of the best cover version I've heard, ever. Vader have managed to inject a lot of theirs into the song and they add a cool guitar solo, too, plus a tad more speed! Judas Priest cover 'Rapid Fire' is maybe too heavy metal for Vader, as the band sound a bit bored playing it. Mayhem's 'Freezing Moon' is eerie and very well done, Peter showing his "dead", not death vocals skills.
Every track has similar sound, even the live versions. Drums are louder than usually, especially pounding kick drum. Fantastic riffs, mad solos including some great melodies and bass giving thick backbone to everything. The Vader sound, organic beast. Peter's vocals are very good and unique, because one can understand what he growls with his bear voice. Booklet includes short explanations of Vader's lyrics, and even the covers' lyrics are all printed.
'Reign Forever World' is one of the best mini albums put out in the 21st century. Enough new material and some great cover versions make this a quality release.
(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2005)
Vader releases lots of material within the release of their albums. Reign Forever World is between “Litany” and “Revelations”. The sound here is pretty much a mix of both and that makes this one a damn good EP. What to expect here? Traditional Vader: lots of catchy songs, riffs, blastbeats, a barrage of ear-drilling double bass. Nothing we are not used to. They don’t seem to care about changes, so you can’t go wrong here, unless you never listened to their music. The production seems to be a bit rawer than “Revelations”, reminding me “De Profundis” more than anything.
“Reign Forever World” is an unusual opening track for Vader, being a midpaced crusher. This song packs some great riffs in its beginning. In fact, the intro to that song is one of Vader’s best moments. I love that over-grinding guitar tone. It’s also extremely fucking heavy. “Frozen Paths” comes back to the standards, very fast and a decent riff. Vader has some songs that are a lot like this one.
“Privilege of Gods” is also pretty fast, although not as much as “Frozen Paths”. Doc’s drumming is nice here. He controls the pace of the song very well. “Total Desaster” is the best fast song here. It has some thrash-influenced riffs, a bit of melody (including the second solo) and is catchy as hell. The Judas Priest cover, “Rapid Fire”, is not as good as the above tracks (lacking variation in the riffwork), but at least it’s listenable. I’m not that fond of “Creatures of Light and Darkness”, but the crowd seems to enjoy a lot (it’s a live track). The next one is pretty famous among Vader fans. “Carnal” works very well, even moreso live, mainly the whispered section. After that, it turns into a headbanging blast fest.
The other cover is Mayhem’s “Freezing Moon”. Very well done. “Lord of Desert” closes the EP nicely, including a small, egyptian-like solo. One can’t get enough of Vader after he is caught. This EP should satisfy your death metal hunger. Another nice work.