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Vader XXV is Vader's 25th Anniversary release of a compilation of re-recordings of classic Vader tracks. Almost 2 hours of Vader covering their history up from The Ultimate Incantation to The Beast, these re-recordings were recorded and produced in 2008 and the modern production really treats the older tracks quite well. These tracks are polished to sound heavier, more brutal, and provide much more clarity compared to production on their earlier releases. This is a good thing for the fan who loves pristine production, as these tracks deliver.
The treatment of the classic tracks with this modern production really allow for such Vader classics to be heard in how they would sound recorded with this line up at the time (Piotr, Mauser, Novy, Daray), and its almost like hearing these tracks for the first time. The production really allows these classic tracks to remain timeless, because they all sound up to par with a lot of death metal that comes out today. Although I am not taking away from the original tracks at all because they ARE classic and timeless, but if your a modern day Vader fan as well as a classic Vader fan and would just love to hear their earlier work with how they sound like nowadays, this is definitely where its at and its done really well.
With that being said, there isn't really anything 'new' here outside of a couple of covers, so if you were looking for fresh material this isn't the release for that. But it wasn't meant to be either, just a salute/celebration of 25 years of death metal excellence. The only gripe I can possibly find with this release is if people really just DON'T want to hear classic Vader tracks re-recorded, which is fair. If you like the old school production and just want to leave it at that, then this release won't be for you. But if you love the original recordings and can appreciate them being treated with modern quality production (like myself) then you will love this. Or if your someone that just can't get into the older stuff because of the production, then this would be a great way to hear classic Vader tracks in a way that is more like their modern style.
Surviving a quarter of a century in the music industry is no mean feat, especially if you're a death metal band from Poland. This is a band that predates Death, Morbid Angel and Mayhem. This is a band that has one of the most circulated DM demos of all time (Morbid Reich). This is a band that became the very first eastern European act, not just metal, to sign to a western label and then go on to issue such genre defining classics like 'De Profundis' and 'Litany'. With all of this in mind, not to forget that they're still going strong, this anniversary compilation should've been up there with Cannibal Corpse's 'Centuries of Torment'.
Instead we get two disc's of re-recorded classics and some shoddy bootleg video footage (provided you get the limited edition with DVD). Besides the added keyboards on a few tracks such as 'Carnal', 'Silent Empire' 'Dark Transmissions' and a cover or two, you're basically getting songs you already own played in EXACTLY the same way as the originals but with modern, polished production and the odd different lead break and/or drum fill. As well as these songs are performed, I can't help but think it's an unnecessary exercise as a whole.
Granted, by the time this was released, Vader were onto about label number four so the idea of showing their progression as songwriters, musicians and bigger studio budgets from album to album probably wasn't an option. For example: Metal Blade may have granted permission for the material they owned the rights to for use, but System Shock and Earache may not have, hence the re-recording idea.
Label politics aside, this is what I would have done if I was Peter: Held onto the 'And Blood Was Shed In Warsaw' DVD for another year, added a documentary DVD, much like the previously mentioned Cannibal career retrospective, which would include interviews with past members and show footage of the early days as well as some of the better quality bootleg material. A CD would be included packed (and given the average length of a Vader song, you could get at least 20 of the vicious little bastards to a disc), of previously unreleased/rare material like demo's, album left overs, live tracks and a few (just a few), re-recorded songs. This is how I would have a celebrated 25 years of top quality and always dependable death metal. The only real significant feature to my mind is that it was the last recording of the Peter/Mauser/Novy/Daray line-up.
Yes, I'm a huge Vader fan so naturally I brought this a few days after its release, but I can't help feeling short-changed. The price of being a die-hard I suppose.
Some bands end up releasing tons of albums by sticking to pretty close to the 2 year tour/album cycle. Vader has done exactly that, and then some with a couple of albums released 1 year after another, and tons of little EPs floating around too. With all those releases, songs can get lost in the shuffle. For a band like Vader, it makes sense to go back and re-record a lot of old songs instead of actually making a new album this time around, as it would probably create even more songs that would fall into the cracks.
Vader of course has a signature death metal sound that usually hangs on those quick, tremolo picked riffs done just in a way that you can tell is Vader, as well as Peters signature voice, and those hyper-blast beats. Over the years, Vader has really perfected the formula into crafting some songs that are truly catchy in the world of death metal. As I said though, it was a craft that took time to perfect, and those same signature tremolo picked riffs and top-speed drums which constitute the large majority of the tracks on this album, meaning that not only do some of those early songs lack some identity and begin to blur into one another, but the whole effort can chip away at your resolve. Considering that this is a dual-disc album with 26 songs, at 95 minutes long, that’s a whole lot of Vader to take in all at once!
Of course, if you haven’t gotten very many Vader releases before their 2006 album “Impressions in Blood”, you’re getting tons of Vader value for your buck, so this is a big plus on the quantity scale. Personally, I do still recommend the latest Vader albums, as they tend to be built as a whole, and the writing scale has been tweaked pretty well over the years.
Originally posted at www.waytooloud.com