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I Don't Usually Do Covers Albums, BUT... - 95%

corviderrant, January 27th, 2005

This is an exception. I usually hate covers, live, and "tribute" albums because they indicate a lack of inspiration and/or the desire on the record label's part to rake in a few extra bucks from the diehards, but Vader changed my mind for this one release. Some of these songs are typical in their choice, but a couple are more left field, and that gives them points also.

For one thing, the intensity level is consistently high throughout this CD. Every song is delivered with reverence and power, and in some cases better than the original. Case in point: the opening Sodom cover of "Outbreak of Evil" is both three times faster and 100% tighter than the original (blasphemy, I know, but Sodom were never known for being very tight or proficient in the beginning). And the production is pretty good too, with an incredible dark, saturated guitar tone that dominates the proceedings, though the drums have a little more of a garage ambience than you'd expect. But if memory serves this is mostly a collection of B-sides and such, so I'm not surprised in that respect. Here's the rundown:

"Outbreak of Evil": A powerful run-through with toe-curling intensity and a heavy foot on the gas pedal. Some shredding wah-wah leads rear their heads as well, and Doc as per usual nails the beat down with his customary precision. Peter's thickly-accented ogre-like bellow takes a little getting used to compared to Tom Angelripper's adolescent snarl, but he sounds more angry and evil for my taste.

"Flag of Hate": Yow! This version is, again, both faster and tighter than the original (and I love the original, so that ought to tell you something). Frenzied leads again tear it up with a vengeance, and Cesar from the band Christ Agony contributes some evil-sounding black screeches on the chorus. Doc's drum solo is better and more imaginative than Ventor's on the original, too.

"Storm of Stress": The first blast beat song on the record, and Doc naturally blasts like a motherfucker, driving the song along with amazing power. Terrorizer are not for the weak of heart and Vader do this tune justice.

"Death Metal": The song that gave a whole subgenre a name is tackled with enthusiasm and you can tell that they're enjoying themselves on this one. Peter's roars of "DEATH!!! METAAALLL!!!" are especially convincing!

"Fear of Napalm": Another Terrorizer tune and again it's all about Doc, who navigates the various tempo changes in his sleep. I'm amazed that the rest of the band can keep up with him at times.

"Merciless Death": Peter's vocals are better and more appropriate than Don Doty's chipmunk squeal ever was on this Dark Angel classic. This benefits from a better guitar sound than the original as well as better leads (DA were never known for good soloing). and Shambo's bass tone is warmer and deeper than the original too. Peter's shriek leading into the solo section is a nice surprise!

"Dethroned Emperor"" Sigh...another Celtic Frost tune, but Vader manage to pull it off. The guiitar tone is better than most CF wannabes and they have a good feel for the tune as well. This is such a covered tune that I have a hard time getting too enthusiastic, but they do well anyway.

"Silent Scream": The fact that this version has the low end that the original lacked makes it even better. Doc again handles Dave Lombardo's daunting drum parts in his sleep, feet on autopilot as he casually pounds back a beer (or maybe not!)...Peter's spoken word bit at the end fares better than Araya's because his voice isn't quite as twee as Araya's was, dare I say it.

"We Are The League": Never heard the original of this tune, but I suspect it's nowhere near as fast and flesh-ripping as this version. The Anti-Nowhere League were a punk band, actually, and people often forget that punk was a major factor in the birth of speed/thrash metal. Cool tune, and Peter gets in his "Anti-Human League!" and "Anti-Christian League!" in the course of the tune's choruses.

"IFY (I Feel You)": A squall of feedback opens this up and this is the most surprising cover choice here. I never was a Depeche Mode fan, and I have to say this is my least favorite tune here on the CD. But I still give Vader credit for having the balls to cover a non-metal tune like this and doing something really different. Peter's vocals are actually kind of amusing on this one, he sounds like your drunk uncle at the family reunion! No disrespect to him, of course.

"Black Sabbath": The primordial metal tune of them all, and if you cover this you'd best do it well. Does Vader hang? Heh, you tell me. Peter's vocals are sinister and cleanly sung on this one mostly, and he conveys the character's anguish well. Of course they speed it up a bit at the end and he goes back to his usual roar, and guest guitarist Greg Skawinski uncorks the best solo on the album! I mean, I don't know who this guy is, but man, he WAILS! The ending with its bluesy feeling is well-done with a mild distortion filter on Peter's voice for an industrial bullhorn feel, and his chuckle and declaration of "You will give in to me," cap off a hell of an album.

For completists more than anything else, this one is, but I will recommend it over most anything else of its type.