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Vader's "South of Heaven" - 81%

The_Emo_Hater, August 24th, 2011

As the review title would suggest, "Revelations" was a hell of a different beast compared to the preceding album. "Litany" was a literal facefuck of brutality, short speedy numbers, and a production that would give Scott Burns a boner. Thus my first listen of Revelations back in 2002 was met with some disappointment. Back then I was a Vader newbie, all I knew was "Litany" and I was sad to see the bass heavy production and the speed largely absent, replaced by midpaced riffing and more complicated song structuring. Truth be told, anything following "Litany" would probably be a slight step back as that was, and still is one of the most violent offerings in death metal. But that would be another review.

"Revelations" is unmistakably Vader, with Peter's distinctive accented roaring, Doc's still in good form on the skins(sadly, this would be his final recording), Mauser does a fine job with the riffage and some of the solos, and Simon makes his only Vader appearance holding down the low end. The production is nowhere as bass heavy as Litany was, but it is thick and meaty and gives the songs a sonic punch in the balls. The songs are somewhat of a mixed bag, as mentioned before, there is quite a bit of slower, midpaced material on here. However there is some of the fast paced Polish godness you've all come to expect out of these guys.

"Epitaph" opens up the album with some slow guitar lines before a Slayer-ish riff takes over and the song then marches through a couple verses, complete with Doc's pounding double bass, before speeding up halfway through and treating the listener with a set of solos and Peter's Polish accentuated warcry of "KEEL THEM ALL!!!" Good stuff. The opening riff to "Nomad" is strikingly similar to "Xeper" and the song itself is similar to the opening track, sans the speedier second half; "Nomad" is pretty slow in its entirety.

"Whisper" has some guest screams courtesy of Nergal and some eerie spoken words from Peter and is one of the faster tunes on display here. "When Darkness Calls" is the most varied song here, with a good build up to the fast verses and slows down considerably after the first solo to a crushing breakdown like section before blasting off again towards the end. "Torch of War" and Lukewarm Race" both cook pretty goddamn hard throughout and could easily found space on "Litany". The closing "Revelation of Black Moses" is easily one of the best songs Vader has ever written. It is doomy, crushing and has some of the best riffs on the album. And that first solo could incite ejaculation from the castrated, it is that good.

"Revelations" was a sidestep in Vader's illustrious career but looking back, it is better than rewriting "Litany" and robbing that album of it's punch. If you haven't heard Vader yet, this is as good an album to start at as any other.