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Makes Up For The Dip - 74%

OzzyApu, November 9th, 2013

Revelations isn’t inventive nor does it set any high standards. It came out during a period when Vader went into a brief recession (or a lull period). Maybe after every fantastic release the band sort of goes in a period when they release less-than-stellar quality stuff. After Litany Vader had to put up some numbers that weren’t too bad in comparison. There’d need to be more time for another major success. On its own Revelations is a decent album that captures the right stuff but lacks any inimitable identity – the kind that explains why the best Vader albums are as good as they are.

“Epitaph” indicates the kind of Vader I love most – catchy riffs, groovy rhythms, and the need to not have to be breakneck-fast with obligatory blast beats. Peter’s vocals are spot on with that hoarse growl loudly proclaiming dominance over the album. His voice’s dry harshness is inseparable from the ferocious playing. The production’s like any modern death metal album: a well-balanced sound, muddy-sharp guitar tones, somewhat autonomous bass, and a pummeling drum kit with not one tinny thing about it. There’s no loss to the powerful blare the guitars leave after every pick, with plenty of riffs to go around. It’s a huge sound that does justice to the album’s rough conduct. That conduct is the delivery and attitude of the album from the more refined tracks to the less developed ones.

Both types of tracks have their place. On one hand it makes for an album with no wrongs, but recall that Vader’s style is very straightforward. It takes putting a twist on this type of music to make it even better than what the compositions themselves can accomplish. The Slayer-esque influence only takes Peter so far, so it’s up to him to create something credible and fascinating. This album lacks that fascinating component (except for one track), so it gets knocked down in that regard. The bonus track “Son Of Fire” reminds me too much of “Decapitated Saints” if it was less interesting, “Lukewarm Race” is almost as lukewarm as its name due to its lack of variance, and “Torch Of War” feels like Vader treading the same ground. If the band churned out something like “The Code” with those catchy riffs and switching up the rhythm instead of going for blasting assaults then this album wouldn’t be held back as much.

Above all else the one song that totally saves this album from ending on a poor note is the final song, “Revelation Of Black Moses”. As far as I know, this is Vader’s longest song and it’s just different enough from the rest of the album for me to appreciate it on an extra level. For an album that lacks epic tendencies this finale sure makes up for it. It features the same class of riffs as the rest of the album but brings it to a mid-paced platform. It opts for a trudging pace throughout while spilling out a few times into a death metal with elegance. The cross between the vitriolic death metal side and the poignant leads don’t make this one completely distinguished. Like I said, it makes it diverse enough to be a competent finisher that hooks me in a way the rest of the album doesn’t.

There’s not much else going for this one. It’s good from the start but dips a little near the end when it opts for shorter songs. That’s nothing new for Vader, but putting a spin on it is required to be interesting. On a whole and when compared to The Beast this isn’t a bad album. It just shows good ideas mixed with a few half-full ones that prevent it from being a great album. Had Vader gave this a different coating and gone for the epic angle like on “Revelation Of Black Moses,” we could be listening to a far more exciting album (or at least one that attempts a different approach).