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Could've been so much more - 45%

shwartzheim, July 6th, 2011

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.