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Adequate live release - 71%

Noktorn, April 21st, 2011

This raises some eyebrows- a live album released immediately after a band's debut full-length? It seems sort of arrogant at first, but then you figure it was 1994 in Poland, and it seems like for a long while the music business in that part of Europe had some weird Eastern Bloc shit going on that I was never able to figure out. A lot of record label control over bands- I doubt this release was Vader's idea. Then again, back in 1994 the members were probably playing death metal for kielbasa and shit, so they'd probably take whatever they could get overall.

This really isn't anything more than a rearrangement of 'The Ultimate Incantation' in a live setting- I mean, come on, they only had one album! You basically hear the entire Vader catalog at the time on this disc, so I guess it is a pretty comprehensive look at early Vader in that regard. All the interpretations are pretty faithful, but the live environment does bring out some interesting aspects that normally aren't so present in Vader's music. There's a definite edge of sloppiness and chaos that's usually absent for Vader- they've always been one of the tighter, more mechanical death metal bands out there, even in their early days. The live environment seems to give them a little more room to breathe, though, which gives these old tracks a new dynamic. In addition, when played live the influence from Morbid Angel on the band's early material seems strikingly apparent. A lot of the shorter, more chaotic songs sound like leftovers from 'Altars Of Madness'- it's something I've never seen so strongly in Vader before, so it's an interesting new perspective on a band I've loved for a long time.

The production is adequate- I suppose it's pretty good for a death metal concert recorded by a Polish band in '93. The guitar tone has a loud, swirling, indistinct quality and everything's a little bit muddy, but overall it comes across effectively enough. The only things on this release that aren't found on 'The Ultimate Incantation' are a few cheesy ambient pieces and a cover of 'Hell Awaits', which, like basically every Vader cover, is somewhat overly faithful and kind of ridiculous due to Peter's vocals. Oh well, the original tracks are as solid as ever.

Yeah, this isn't an essential item to pick up but dedicated Vader collectors might as well grab it. This CD is basically given away in distros all over the world, so you can get it for cheap. The performances are solid and if you're really interested it'll give you a little peek into the weirder workings of Vader. A good time will be had by all.