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The album on which Vader found its sound - 91%

Agonymph, January 7th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2003, CD, Metal Mind Productions (Reissue)

Vader is easily my favorite death metal band of the non-progressive variety. Unlike many of their contemporaries and a staggering number of bands that followed them, the Polish band around vocalist and guitarist Piotr ‘Peter’ Wiwczarek knows how to create something memorable if you don’t have a great deal of melody at your disposal. It’s their riffs rather than their choruses that are – for lack of a better term – quite catchy. Vader’s sophomore album ‘De Profundis’ is generally seen as their classic album and while I’m not sure if it’s their best, it is definitely the album on which Vader found its sound.

Debut album ‘The Ultimate Incantation’ was mostly a supercharged thrash metal record, which is a good thing, but it was awkwardly produced an Wiwczarek still sounded like any other grunter on the record. ‘De Profundis’ is the first showcase for his definitive voice, which is closer to a carnal, low pitched roar. He sounds commanding and full of character, which is why Wiwczarek is one of the few grunters I appreciate. Musically, Vader started enhancing their deeply thrash-rooted death metal with some more climactic or atmospheric songwriting reminiscent of a somewhat less pretentious – and therefore better – Morbid Angel.

Memorable riff writing is all over ‘De Profundis’. Everyone with a more than casual interest in death metal will immediately have the intro riffs to the likes of ‘Blood Of Kingu’ or ‘Sothis’ in their minds if you even so much as mention the titles. The latter is a masterclass in structuring a death metal song anyway; the way it moves from the pummeling mid-tempo intro to the increasingly faster sections in the middle of the song and back is dynamically very strong. The former is one of the slower tracks, built on a foundation of strong, moderately fast triplets that sound very driven and delightfully dark.

With ‘De Profundis’ being only 34 minutes long, there is not a whole lot of room for experimentation or sophistication, but the epic closing track ‘Reborn In Flames’ definitely does a good job highlighting different sides of Wiwczarek’s songwriting, while the strong opening track ‘Silent Empire’ manages to pack several different atmospheres and a large portion of riffs within only four minutes. ‘Vision And The Voice’ is a hidden gem, with its shifting rhythms and rare twin guitar middle section pushing it into borderline progressive territory, while ‘Revolt’ briefly flirts with black metal-inspired atmospheres.

Although I am not sure if I agree with the assessment that ‘De Profundis’ is the best Vader album – in my opinion, there are at least three albums equally deserving of that title – it is a fact that a lot of the elements that make Vader the band they are today first popped up on this great record. Personally, I am quite glad that happened without forsaking the band’s thrash-inspired riffing, as that is one of the factors that makes the band better than their peers for me. Anyone who likes their death metal fast and punishing will enjoy ‘De Profundis’, but so will anyone who likes some thought and depth put into the genre.

Recommended tracks: ‘Sothis’, ‘Silent Empire’, ‘Reborn In Flames’

Originally written for my Kevy Metal weblog

lean, mean Polish killing machine - 80%

LeastWorstOption, January 2nd, 2015
Written based on this version: 2003, CD, Metal Mind Productions (Reissue)

After releasing one of the best selling demos in the genre, and releasing an excellent debut on Earache Records, Poland’s Vader had to prove their initial success wasn’t a fluke. In the intervening three years they released a live album and an EP while they prepared their second album, the first to feature all new and original material. On its second album things fell in place for Polish death metal combo Vader as they honed their sound into perfection. “De Profundis” is the template of which all future albums would be based, and a yardstick against which Polish death metal at large is often measured.

One of the first things to notice in the three years since the debut is how tight-knit and together the band has become. This second album largely does away with the thrash metal architecture of “The Ultimate Incantation” and places a great prominence on the Morbid Angel influence that already loomed over its debut. What remains intact from the debut is the heavily Slayer influenced riffing and the dynamic range that is now integrated into a faster, leaner and overall more percussive framework. While the album easily matches Suffocation’s “Pierced From Within” in terms of intensity and propulsion Vader is more direct and compact in comparison to that lauded band’s assault. Vader’s material is hardly what you’d call simple or straightforward by any reasonable measure, but they refuse to play technical or complex just for the sake of being so. In a sense they is the European counterpart to the enduring US death metal band Cannibal Corpse. Vader is about emotion, and no record displays this more brilliantly than “De Profundis”.

Vibrant and lively, even with the significantly bass-heavier but still bare bones production the songwriting of Wiwczarek and Raczkowski reached a peak. Presented here is a style of utterly relentless death metal clearly rooted in European thrash metal but with an American sense of urgency. Once again the album was promoted with a promotional video, and for this album ‘Incarnation’ was chosen. A wise choice if you consider that this track brings together everything this album is known for in a radio friendly three minute cut. As always with Vader the leads/solos and drumming are central to each of the cuts. Wiwczarek and Raczkowski shine on each of their respective instruments, especially Wiwczarek who besides doing vocals handled rhythm guitar, leads/solos and bass guitar duties. He is the embodiment of a hands-on approach. Where at this time a lot of death metal frontmen were moving towards a deeper, more guttural vocal style, Wiwczarek retains his throatier and more human approach while intensifying his overall delivery. All aspects have been improved in comparison to the debut that was released three years prior. Vader was about to go places in a few years.

All of the lyrics were written by Pawel Wasilewski, except ‘Silent Empire’ was written by Pawel Frelik while ‘Blood Of Kingu’, ‘Revolt’ and ‘Reborn In Flames’ were all written by Wiwczarek. ‘Reborn In Flames’ is in fact a re-recorded track from the 1989 “Necrolust” demo tape and the one but last of that era to appear on an official studio outing. All the music was written by Wiwczarek. Vader is one of the few to have most of its lyrics written by people not involved with the band or its associates. The practice is continued here but remains in place to this very day. As a result a lot of the early releases of this band are steeped in occult, thelemic and esoteric subject matter before it was popularized by that other famous Polish death metal band Behemoth, and to a lesser degree by the significantly more underground unit Lost Soul. Liner notes detail the meaning for each of the cuts presents on the release. For the first time the band is credited in producing itself, although that in truth means Piotr ‘Peter’ Wiwczarek. He would handle all production duties (along with the engineer) from this point onward.

“De Profundis” marks the first appearance of long-time bass guitarist Leszek ‘Shambo’ Rakowski and a returning Jaroslaw ‘China’ Labieniec. Although both being credited for partaking in the recordings it was the duo of Piotr ‘Peter’ Wiwczarek and Krzysztof ‘Doc’ Raczkowski (drums) who laid down all instruments in the studio. Wes Benscoter was chosen to provide the fantastic artwork for the album, and the band recorded at Studio Modern Sound in Gdynia, Poland. The album was released originally through Croon Records, but saw several reissues over the years by Pavement Music, Avalon/Marquee, Conquest Music, System Shock and Metal Mind Productions, all of which often added the ‘I Feel You’ cover from Depeche Mode or an assortment of other bonus content. The album sold approximately 17,000 units in two weeks in Poland during its release, and to this day it remains one of best and most loved death metal albums by a wide margin.

Review originally written for Least Worst Option -

Cat Food - 90%

OzzyApu, October 13th, 2013

I only have one major complaint about this album – the snares. My god are they awful – it’s that tinny bash in all its glory. Hearing that thing is like hearing a rock hit a bell in the middle of a symphony, except it’s constantly happening. The drumming on this is crushing and full of blasting, as it should be with pulverizing death metal, but that sound feels so wrong. De Profundis is otherwise a thundering, meaty version of what the debut should have been. It’s still Vader, but it’s menacing while being mammoth and lengthy enough for nothing to feel tiring.

Snares aside, this album has the benefit of production. It sounds more complete, less smooshed together, and more visceral while executing it more elegantly. Standardly written death metal, but Vader’s got identity and craftsmanship on their side this time. What was competent before has now been revamped, enhanced, and morphed into a grisly, ferocious beast. From the charging “Silent Empire” to the crushing “Blood Of Kingu” and to the decimating “Reborn In Flames,” this album’s darker and more thought-out. Riffs curdle, bass is warmer and burlier, the double bass is non-stop, and the tone makes it addicting. Peter’s vocals lean more toward his current style: a non-grunty growl that’s hoarse with a fraction of yelling in it. It makes for a comprehensible style that definitely works here and further down the road.

The best here is in “Silent Empire,” “Blood Of Kingu,” “Sothis,” and the finale. Each contains immense, turbulent rhythms, chaotic leads, and epic riffing. The pace is almost always fast throughout the album, but the best is made up of those mid-paced breaks akin to thrash breaks which opt for a catchier style. Either works for Vader and here they’re able to play it both ways while keeping it consistent and memorable. The drumming modifies its patterns during these times into something more flowing, of course, and that’s something I prefer to any blast beats. The waving riffs three minutes into “Reborn In Flames” might be one of my favorite moments in Vader’s repertoire. It’s so monolithic and ominous, and those riffs during that section are perfect. The harmonies that follow are slightly more melodic than the band’s more chaotic style.

This one’s just a much better album than the debut. Of the first three real full-lengths (Future Of The Past doesn’t count), De Profundis is the only one I really, really like. The next album that’d have anything near the same impact would be Litany. Vader’s capabilities were pushed toward creating a new standard and defining themselves further into a spectrum of quality and inspiration. Plus they did it within a reasonable album length, which does more for replayability as well. Looking from here, there’s ups and downs that the band would learn from to create bigger and better bodies of work.

Vader like you love them, before it got old. - 70%

jayfatha, June 21st, 2011

Vader is a band that is widely recognized throughout the death metal community, and for a good reason. They have the skill, the musical knowledge and the determination to deserve a top spot in the death metal scene. It just seems to me that they are lacking a very important factor in music as a whole and not just metal and that is variety. When you think of Vader, you of think blast beats, fast picking, grinding riffs and of course the signature bark of the lead singer, Piotr Wiwczarek. Let me tell you what, that is EXACTLY what you get from their sophomore effort, De Profundis. To some that might be a bad thing and others might be glad that Vader just found an awesome sound that worked for them and stuck with it. I guess I’d rather they stay the same then start to suck.

Honestly, this album is quite repetitive. There’s nothing innovative or different here, but there is some really quality music. As repetitive as it may be, I can honestly say it’s not boring. Riffs you can headbang to and songs that are intense and powerful. What else do you really need? There are other things we might WANT, but when it comes to metal, that’s all you really need. Vader is the band that all the modern death metal acts could look to for a rough idea of where to start. The music is standard, by the book death metal, but I’ll be damned if it’s not fun to listen to once in a while. Just once in a while, because anymore than that will start to get boring. Not much replay value in this album, but after you’ve kind of forgotten about it (which honestly shouldn’t be that hard) and you decide to give it a listen after not hearing it in a while, it’s quite an enjoyable experience.

Love this album or hate it, there’s no denying the skill that it takes to create an album like this. This is a solo-heavy record, and while they may be sloppy and chock-full of whammies, they are still very impressive. Sadly, that doesn’t always mean fun to listen to. The solos are actually my least favorite part of most of the songs because they are almost totally devoid of melody or any clear structure, which for me is a turn-off. I still stay tuned, because the riffs are still heavy and easily headbangable. The drums are exactly what you expect; a shitload of double bass and a shitload of blast beats. This is totally fine with me, it fits with the rest of the instrumentation very well. My only other gripe about this aspect of the album are the vocals. Piotr has a very good death metal voice, but it just doesn’t feel like he’s using it to it’s full potential. They sound kind of lazy, but they are still recognizable and somewhat unique. While I think the vocals could be done better, Vader wouldn’t be the same without his style of growls.

All in all, this album is by no means a masterpiece, nor is it really any of Vader’s best work (even though it all sounds strikingly similar). Still, it’s far from a bad record and it deserves your attention for at least a little while. If you’ve got a short attention span, you probably won’t enjoy this as much as some of the more patient metalheads will. You don’t really need to be paying attention that well to really appreciate the album to it’s fullest potential, you just need to be willing to sit through what is essentially a thirty-four minute death metal song separated into nine. It’s a fairly quick album, doesn’t overstay it’s welcome so most metal fans should be able to get into it if they just feel like throwing on some tunes and rocking the fuck out for a little while. It’s nothing too serious, it’s not meant for deep contemplation like some progressive death metal bands. It’s just an album for people that come home on a Friday evening and want to unwind with some old school death metal.

Recommended Tracks:

An Act of Darkness
Reborn in Flames

Relevant but not their best - 70%

Noktorn, June 18th, 2011

This is canonically one of the most revered Vader albums, and the one probably most often listed as their greatest work, but I'm not totally sure about that. It's certainly a crucial part of the band's discography, really solidifying their own style and distancing them from the thrashy Morbid Angel worship of 'The Ultimate Incantation,' but I think estimations of its own quality tend to be overblown. Certainly 'De Profundis' contains some legendary Vader tracks- 'Silent Empire,' 'Sothis,' 'Vision and the Voice,' and arguably 'Blood of Kingu' and 'Reborn in Flames' are first or second tier Vader tracks, with the first three being staples of any Vader setlist. However, people tend to ignore the rest of the album, which is rather mediocre and uninspired. In essence, 'De Profundis' is a very good EP which has been padded out with nonessential, ultimately forgotten tracks. It's far from a bad album, but the ratio of signal to noise just isn't satisfying enough to me to massively recommend it.

'De Profundis' is the album that signals Vader's arrival at their customized sound: blast heavy, storming, aggressive death metal with a thrash influence that's still palpable in the Slayer-influenced guitar work and gruff, shouting vocals. 'Silent Empire' is practically a mission statement: as soon as the rattling blast beat and churning tremolo riff fire up, it's clear that the wide-eyed, youthful band that made 'The Ultimate Incantation' is long gone. The thrash influence hasn't been downplayed as much as streamlined here; instead of coming in the form of abrupt rhythmic shifts or neck-snapping breakdowns, it's more firmly embedded in the textures of the riffs, with tremolo numbers that recall Dark Angel and Slayer in fits and starts. Still, this is the most straightforward and perhaps even accessible music that Vader had produced up to this point. Long streams of blast beats and double bass under flowing, organic riffs that naturally link end-to-end with vocals providing rhythmic punctuation and emphasis make up most of this album. It seems that the entirety of this album is designed to be a surprisingly relaxed, very natural listening experience. For music as aggressive and brutal as this, there's really not many sharp edges.

While I appreciate the general sound of this album, and definitely would say that it shows Vader mastering their style, I'm also forced to say that about half of the tracks on this disc just aren't worth much. To get it out of the way, the cringe-inducing Depeche Mode cover that ends the re-released edition is just about the worst way to end this CD that could possibly be thought up- it obliterates all the momentum of the previous songs and leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The rest of the lame edge of the album isn't bad so much as mediocre and not possessing the sheer strength of the other songs: 'An Act of Darkness' lacks personality sandwiched between much stronger tracks, 'Revolt' is packed with go-nowhere riffs, and a couple other tracks basically follow suit. There's not enough variation in this album's music to really pinpoint what makes them weaker; it's just a matter of degree. When Vader are hot, they're amazing, but when they're cold, you wonder why they even bother.

'De Profundis' is definitely one of the most historically relevant Vader albums out there, but it's not in my personal top handful. Definitely good enough that I'd recommend you give it a try, but for the most essential works from a fan's perspective, I'd go for a slightly later album before this one.

De Profundis - a landmark in death metal - 93%

The_Ippocalypse, August 29th, 2007

Clocking in at just over 33 minutes, you will be hard-pressed to find a more menacing piece of death metal than Vader's De Profundis. By menacing, I do not mean to say alienating or disturbing, emotions conjured up by Morbid Angel's Blessed Are The Sick or Demilich's Nespithe, for instance. No, by menacing, I mean that De Profundis is one of the earliest and most authentic attempts to convey in a death metal album the feeling that you are about to be crushed by a tank, and by album's end, to have been crushed by said tank.

Vader achieve this sense of menace in every track by resorting minimally to melody (and even in the guitar solos, melody is not the primary consideration), and instead focusing on simple, aggressive, downtuned riffs frequently played at high tempos, backed by viscerally audible bass and fierce drumming that alternates between blastbeats and slower rhythms, and gutteral yet discernible vocals that complement the music perfectly. Also, while there is a sense of verse-chorus-verse structure in the songs of De Profundis, there are ample time changes and transitions in each song to prevent a sense of familiarity from setting in with the listener, which consequently prevents any dilution of aural menace that Vader so successfully conveys.

While Vader would still release excellent death metal albums later in their career, De Profundis must stand as their ultimate achievement, for nothing that followed it was more intense, or contributed anything significant to the formula of calculated brutality that is on display here. Listen to Silent Empire, Sothis and The Vision and the Voice and tell me that you do not then feel like killing rolling over them with a tank.

One of the greatest Death Metal albums released... - 99%

Litany21, December 28th, 2004

This is my first review of any album ever...(lol there's so many I have to get to.) Anyway..

Vader has always been my favorite death metal band. Relentless blasting, complexed yet simple riffs, audible, original vocals, deep lyrics, amazing leads; Vader has always been true to themselves and have released classics such as Litany and Revelations; but De Profundis, their second album, has truly left an everlasting effect for the Death Metal scene and era.

The first track on this album starts with the monumental "Silent Empire" Entering the field with a compelling riff and portal-opening drums, breaking down into a slower set of riffs and complication for the listener. The solo is godly, like many of Vader solos(I've never seen anyone use the Whammy Bar like Peter). The lyrics are also interesting. Contemplating of the secret government many societies have. Tied with the best song on the album. 5 / 5

An Act of Darkness comes next, being the shortest song on the album, but by no way the worst track. Peter's vocal pattern in this song really makes you want to sing along. Good, catchy riffs and a fast lead. 4 / 5.

Next we have the riff giant, Blood of Kingu. The beginning riffs in the song are Vader's most technical side (also the intro riff to Xeper) It's the slowest song on the album, but with the riffage that is commoting, it's a solid song. 4 / 5

Incarnation comes in track # 4. It has the best leads on the album. An incrediable whammy fest, with a wah-wah pedal, and tapping and all the good stuff Peter can create and perform. The bridge in the song is really captivating (the riffs during "Magick Triumphers..." and until the solo), A calm yet energizing song. 4 / 5

Ahh...just about every Vader fan's favorite...Spthis. Their live song staple, the triplets from purgatory I say lol. Sothis has many qualities from every Vader song. Suspensful riffs, instant pauses, a great lead section. This is a classic Vader song. 4 / 5 of my favorite songs on the album. Starts off with almost a black metal riff and goes into the traditional Vader-break in. The solos in the song are incrediable. With the backing riff playing, you hear such emotion...
4.5 / 5

Of Moon, Bloood, Dream and Me takes the place of track # 7. The 'catchiest' song on the album. It's a solid song, but if I would have to pick the least strongest track, it would be this one. It's still good though. Especially the riff on "With head down..." Also the only song without a lead. There's some whammy effects, but I mean a real lead you know? 4 / 5

Vision And The Voice is tied with Silent Empire. Also remade from the Sothis EP. This song just speaks to you. The riffing also I might add is prime and doesn't stop. Really, there's quite a load of riffs here. The solos are in excellent form, especially the end of the second one. There's a little break-in before the solos too. An excellent song. 5 / 5.

Finally,the last track of the album...Reborn In Flames. The most emotional track,and an excellent finisher. The song starts off real slow and lets the energy sink into you before the pre-verse kicks in. The lyrics also really tell a story. An story of armageddon, the earth being redone in a flaming chaotic cleanse. "Born to destoy..." shows the riffing taking its form, as the earth has now learned its plagueful lesson. The 2nd set of solos are beautiful...really sparking into form. After the last chord...the world has ended...full of decaying corpses...then it comes back for one more run. Truly a great ending track for an epic album. 4.5 / 5

De Profundis in my opinion is Vader's best. Truly an epic example of superior musicanship. Peter does an excellent job giving his best, performing guitar and songwriting in prime form. Doc's drumming also needs to be recognized. His drumming skills are really uncanny. Not the best drummer, but definately needs to be noticed. Jackie and Shambo also give a good show, but when Mauser comes in in Black To The Blind, you get to really see a great guitar-duo.

Any Death metal fan needs to hear this album or buy it. It truly is to me, my favorite death metal album release and Vader release. Hail to metal....

Polish Death Metal Masterpiece - 85%

Deathcult, May 26th, 2003

As far as I know, this is the Vader addicts' favourite Vader album. Well, mine is probably Black to the Blind, but still I feel De Profundis is a must have for all death metal fans.

Vader's music is all about rhythm and De Profundis is a typical Vader album; one might even go as far as to say it's THE typical Vader album. You won't find any killer riffs here and sure as hell there ain't no melodies. De Profundis is an unholy orgy of double bass and blastbeat drumming, with superb but not flashy guitar work. The tempo varies from lightning fast to fast, the very few slow passages in the album are used only to emphasise the head crushing speed of the rest of the music. This is the kind of album that makes you bang your head like a lunatic for the whole 34 minutes, even though the frequent tempo changes make it not as straightforward as Reign in Blood for example.

Stylistically, the music on De Profundis can be described as 'Morbid Angel meets early Sepultura', though I'm sure many people will disagree. The Vader style is instantly recognizable and you can always tell you're listening to Vader even before the vocals kick in. And so, we've come to the vocals. This is the only problem I had when listening to Vader for the first time. Peter's vocals are somewhat distorted shouts and I'm sorry to tell the Morbid Angel fans that Peter doesn't do the typical death growls. But that's not the problem, since this vocal style matches the music perfectly. The problem is that shouting in English is not what Peter does best. His voice is not very powerful and he sings his lyrics with an extremely heavy Polish accent, to the point of being incomprehensible at times. But once you get used to him, it doesn't matter simply because the vocals go so damn well with the rest. Of the other Vader members the drummer Doc deserves special attention. His technique is simply perfect, it has to be heard to be believed, and it is mostly his drumming that defines what Vader is all about.

De Profundis is a monolithic album, all the songs in it fit with each other like a puzzle and I find it very hard to point out any single one of them as a 'hit song'. However, the opening track 'Silent Empire' stands out, managing to be both real fast and epic at the same time. Another killer track is 'Revolt', which is a violent extreme metal inferno done in the good ol' Vader-style. There we have something not unusual for Vader - a black metal-like riff combined with Doc's magnificent blastbeats, after that the whole thing goes very thashy and at the end everybody dies. Ehm, the last bit was a joke.

Black metallers will find some familiar stuff in De Profundis, namely some of the riffs and the lyrics. They are written by a guy who's not a band member and it shows he is very deep into the occult, or at least he's done a bit of research on the subject. In the CD booklet, accompanying each lyric there is a short explanation so that we poor uninitiated bastards can know what it’s all about.

On the whole, my rating is 'buy or die'. Valid for death metal and thrash maniacs.