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you can probably skip this one - 68%

RapeTheDead, January 2nd, 2017

The notion of Vader having very little variety tends to make less sense the more you listen to their albums. Sure, the band doesn't stray TOO far from their foundation, but there's always a different element emphasized depending on what release you're listening to. Though you can trace the progression throughout their discography, in reality The Beast sounds nothing like The Ultimate Incantation, it's even pretty far removed from Litany, and it doesn't sound much like what the band would evolve into by The Empire. Also, this variety between albums is the only possible explanation for why Vader could release an excellent album in Revelations and then follow it up with something like The Beast that seems alright from the outset, but hasn't really stood out in any way by the time it's over. It just sort of...happens, and once it's done I have this faint memory of listening to a Vader album, but I can't even pick out a riff I particularly liked.

So what's different about The Beast, then? Mostly the melody. Vader discovered their signature sound on De Profundis, and then spent a bit of time slowly fattening it up until Revelations. After that album, they must have realized that they wouldn't be able to do anything as heavy and punishing as Litany despite their best efforts, so on The Beast you can see them opting for a slightly more melodic direction that they would mess around with for a couple of years. I don't think they've ever written anything as light and accessible as "The Sea Came in At Last". That song and a couple others feature some delicate, non-distorted guitar lines. I never thought I would hear those on a Vader album until I heard The Beast. The faster riffs are less straightforward and blunt, with little extra harmonies and flourishes that were there in trace amounts on Revelations now becoming the focal point. There's more solos on this as well, and they're more simplistic and sustained, less chaotic and Azagthothy, also indicative of The Beast's more melodic direction. There also seem to be more chuggy, groovy moments...or at least they feel like they're going on for a lot longer than they usually do. Vader are usually at their best when they opt for short, punchy songs, and all of the tracks on The Beast clock in at around three and a half to four minutes. That doesn't seem like it's very long, but given the fact that this doesn't quite have the same immediate punch that their previous albums did, these songs tend to feel a lot longer.

Part of that might also have to do with the drumming. Doc was supposed to be the dude layin' down the beats for this one, but apparently he broke his hand so the drums had to be recorded by Daray, who ended up staying with the band for a few albums. If my logic is correct, that would mean that Doc created all the drum patterns during the writing process, and Daray just played them as closely as he could to the best of his ability. Not that it's necessarily Daray's fault, but his presence on the album may contribute a lot to why The Beast isn't as engaging as other Vader albums despite the groundwork being the same. He just lacks those little extra accents that Doc used, especially during the slower sections, and as a result the grooves just aren't as groovy. On The Beast, he just sound like he's trying to follow Doc a little bit too closely, which makes sense given the circumstances, but he doesn't have that x-factor that pushes the songs to the next level. Fortunately, he would come into his own in a big way on Impressions in Blood, where he sounds more comfortable and like he's doing his own thing.

Even though the more melodic sound on The Beast isn't necessarily a positive, I wouldn't say it's the sole reason why this is one of Vader's weaker albums, either. Piotr doesn't really sound like he's trying as hard with his vocal lines (and the clear but thin vocal production doesn't help matters much in that regard), and generally the band doesn't really sound as inspired as they usually do. When you take out the clean guitar parts and the extended solo sections, there aren't a lot of interesting songwriting quirks to draw your attention one way or another. I wouldn't go as far as to call this a bad album, though. If you'd never heard a Vader album before, this would probably sound fine. Unfortunately, they have an extensive and varied discography, and pretty much every trick you hear on The Beast has been done better on another album. I'd rather listen to this than The Ultimate Incantation, but given that album's position as an idiosyncratic debut, The Beast may very well be the most disposable Vader album. Who knows what their later work holds, though...

Murmurs In The Vadervoid - 62%

OzzyApu, November 9th, 2013

The Beast is a bad Vader album. It came during a period when the band wasn’t really doing anything new or refining themselves to the point of sheer amazement. The band would have these down periods every time a kickass album was released: after De Profundis, after Litany, after Impressions In Blood, and (as of writing this) maybe even after Welcome To The Morbid Reich (edit: Sept. 2014, "fuck no, Tibi Et Igni is amazing!"). There’s still always something for me to enjoy, as is the case with this album, but I recognize when the whole thing ends up being a flawed body of work. It’ll come down to individual tastes on this one, so if you like the general formula of thrashy riffs, onslaughts of blasts, and pulverizing heaviness without going into brutal or technical territories then this album’s going to be at least listenable.

A complaint that sticks to this album like glue is that it’s bland. I wouldn’t disagree, but to what extent is this true? The album already opens cryptically with low leads before ripping right into a fiery first song, “Out Of The Deep”. This one’s Vader with all the traits: dicey tremolo and dirty riffs, an even more autonomous bass (you can hear it quite easily is what I’m saying), blast beats, and Peter’s cogent growls. Add more melody to that as well, which is a plus in my opinion. “Out Of The Deep” is proof enough that this is a heavy album, but after every track things feel tiring. Like Revelations, this album doesn’t have any unique identity to it that makes it standout. It’s hard to describe, but it might also be an effect of the modern production plus the lack of divergence from the band’s formula.

For example, “Dark Transmission” is catchy, mid-paced, and contains a consistent riff. It reminds me of “When The Sun Drowns In Dark” with the thrashy riff and pacing, but what that song does that this one doesn’t is maintain my interest. “Dark Transmission” doesn’t develop into anything besides being a jumpy song. “Firebringer” picks up in seconds right after it to go right back into Vader’s typical formula. I’ll praise the leads and solos here for being more melodic, but what’s occurring is meandering under the same conditions as before. After a minute of “The Zone” my mind ends up feeling like it was just wiped. I swore I’ve heard this song four times before on other Vader albums. The chugs, the blasts, the hoarse growls, the callous tone… and then I hear it again in “Insomnia” with the start-stop momentum of seething riffs. It just felt mundane, and then “Apopheniac” does it again until I forgot that over ten minutes goes by when adding all three songs up.

Give me something to cling to. Give me something that justifies its own existence with compelling writing. For all that I could bash this album for, no Vader album loses that above sense of reasoning. “I Shall Prevail” goes on a ballistic path of harmonious solos flanking addicting thrash riffs. “The Sea Came In At Last” treads with a darker mood and less wildness. Lastly, “Choices” starts out cleanly like a Porcupine Tree song sullenly drifting on its own atmosphere before turning to hellish barbarism. For three dull songs in one block of time there are these other three spread out over the album. Along with “Out Of The Deep,” the success of these great songs keeps The Beast from sinking into total mediocrity. What should have been done was making an EP out of this with those four songs and the intro. It’d be a phenomenal release that way, and pairing it with The Art Of War would give two kickass EPs instead of one.

The Slumber Of The Beast? - 79%

Erin_Fox, October 28th, 2006

Compared to earlier releases like “Litany”, this offering from Poland’s Vader reveals a thrashier side of the group that resembles the raw sounding vibe of groups like Kreator, while retaining crucial elements of their death edged material.

Vader manages to pull off a great deal of technical deviations in their music, which makes for some interesting listening. “Dark Transmission” is particularly of note from a compositional standpoint. Here, the band reins in the odd time signatures and abrupt accents for a straight ahead, mid tempo thrash sound that is much more commercially accessible than the group’s previous output. The result is a gruff, thrashing metal attack sure to get heads banging in live situations.

‘Firebringer’ takes on a more upbeat nature ala “Beneath The Remains” era Sepultura and features a trio of excellent leads that are a dead on fit for the aggressive theme of the music. ‘Stranger In The Mirror’ is another blistering, fast paced affair that is driven by an extremely moshable riff. The production on this record is tight, with plenty of compression on the kick drums, making for some savage double bass rolls and rhythms.

Above all, the most improved attribute of this group is their ability to keep these songs moving forward, they have developed a good sense of balance between maintaining a deep, blackened groove whilst keeping enough different changes to keep things interesting. As one of the giants of European death metal, Vader have proven here that they are still quite masterful at creating extreme music.

Although this is certainly not the defining album of their career, it is a solid effort nonetheless and certainly worthy of the attention of fans of the group’s previous recordings.

Unfortunately, Easy To Ignore... - 48%

MutatisMutandis, May 6th, 2006

If there's a list of "legends" somewhere under the cacophonous dome we call 'extreme music', Vader; had they chosen to split up right after the release of De Profundis; would fit quite snuggly next to Malevolent Creation. The songs purveyed from their demo material through their legendary 2nd full length are absolutely essential, crushing Slayer-influenced Death/thrash at it's finest, whipping out breakneck tempos and excellent riffs faster than you can say... well, something long, facetiously poetic and cliche relating to the manifest of 'astonishment', I suppose.

Unfortunately, Vader lacked the balls to drop out on a hot note, or the brains to realize how mediocre their schtick became with the follow up album, Black To The Blind. The way I see Vader nowadays is much like I see Jennifer Tilly. Sure, back in the 80's and so on she was an apparent hot commodity, with her unorthodox beauty, ample curvature, and the artsy quality of her photoshoots. But now, much like Vader, she's become older, and as much as one would like to immerse themselves in wank-related worship, there's really nothing left to be wanked to but a sassy face that could be your cosmetic slathered Aunt Patricia.

Vader, I'll admit, is consistent. They've been putting out albums forever and haven't shown any signs of closing down, but the way they rehash and borrow has become far too obvious to ignore. Okey, you guys like Slayer and clearly have a near worriesome attraction to older Morbid Angel, try some progression for once. Carcass did it. Not one Carcass album sounds like the last. 'The Beast' is exactly what you'd expect from Vader a decade or so after their opus was revealed. It's somewhat bland, repetitive, but pulls a few tricks once in a while. The music here does slow down quite a bit more than other releases, entering doom territory, if you want to call it that, but for the most part, it's just endless blasting with sleeptastic monotone riffing. The new drummer, whatever-his-name-is, plays his skins fairly well, but without that somewhat punkish element found in the good ol' days, it fails to hit any high-water mark above standard black metal pounding.

The riffs, as I said, are nothing special, unless you've never heard any death metal band before you heard this album, and throw in quite a few ridiculous, seemingly-random, squealy solos that just go on and on until I inadvertently reach for the fast forward button. Vocals share the same traits, and are fairly singular and strangely backed up. Sure, he releases a screech here and there, but if the solos didn't impress, these outbursts sure as hell won't. Production doesn't rack up any points with me either, as the entire package reminds me of the musical interpretation of Ben Stein as the economics teacher in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'. Every beat, chop, lick, and solo immediately is converted by my slobbish neurons to the droning question "Bueller? Bueller?" Would you really be interested in listening to that for over 40 minutes?

As much as I'd like to call Vader a legend and buy their shirts, see their shows, kill sheep in their name, I just can't bring myself to enjoy this. Something tells me it's really Dan Seagrave behind the early sounds of Malevolent Creation and Vader. It's plausible. Why else would both of these established acts turn to shit just like that? 'Stillborn' was the last worthwhile listen grunted out of Malevolent Creation, and just look at The Ultimate Incantation. A pattern... hmmm...
Anyway, everyone present seems totally obsessed with these guys already, and I doubt this will sway any opinions, but goddamn, don't you people like creativity once in a while? I'm done.

Boring :p - 60%

Ayeka, June 21st, 2005

To be honest, the thing going through my mind after giving this album a few spins and collecting my thoughts was, "Is this album really a good place to start?". As a total newcomer to Vader I guess I was expecting raw blackened Thrash, but got something quite different.

The Beast is quite a modern-sounding piece of Black/Death Metal, with traditional style riffage presented with a clear tone and production - no brutal riffs lost in fuzz or buried by drums here, and no buzzsaw all-treble-no-bass guitar sound either. The lyrics are quite clear despite the vocals being delivered with a kind of deep retching sound, and I suppose it's quite refreshing to be able to actually hear words and see (hear?) that these songs have a point, are actually about something. We even end up with the odd catchy chorus, such as on Insomnia! In this sense, the album seems to borrow from current commercial bands, the kind that Kerrap! magazine features, without actually being commercial in itself. You even get your obligatory acoustic intro on the last song.

This still can't save the album in my mind though. The biggest failing is a simple yet very important one. None of these songs particularly sound out. The album as a whole manages to be quite unremarkable and, frankly, dull. This is why I expressed concern about starting off with this album - perhaps earlier Vader is rawer, faster, wickeder, and one would be able to appreciate this as an evolution of a band's sound. Or maybe it is just a truly unremarkable album. No riffs stand out, nor do any solos. The album manages to trundle by without making much impression. Which is quite a pity.

- originally written for Metal Monk webzine

consistent.reliable.vader!!! - 84%

krozza, November 2nd, 2004

If Poland’s Vader were car manufacturers, you’d buy their product blindly. That’s the kind of guarantees you can expect from this band – consistency and quality, year after year, album after album. ‘The Beast’ marks full length album NO.7 for this legendary metal act and whilst it isn’t their best effort, it isn’t far off the pace (all of their albums rank within a mark of each other in my opinion).

‘The Beast’ is simply classic Vader. They’ve always been one of my favorite death metal acts, but that because they’ve always incorporated a healthy ‘thrash’ element in their guitar riffs and pacing. The drum patterns and riff structures continually display that same attitude and vibe of those 80’s Slayer albums. This is a good thing. ‘The Beast’ is actually an even thrashier affair than usual, and embellishes upon a style they consciously developed over the past two albums (Revelations and Litany).

Furthermore, as a signature sound, this is about as Vader as you’ll ever get - The material is an excellent blend between the fast stuff they are renowned for and some more mid-tempo material. I’d even go as far to say that ‘The Beast’ is possibly Vader’s ‘catchiest’ album yet. That’ll put the fear through the diehards, but really it’s nothing to be too concerned about. ‘The Beast’ still rips in true Vader style, but with a slightly more deliberate structure and focus.

There are some who will accuse ‘The Beast’ of being a ‘safe’ Vader album. In part, I would agree with that statement. There is no doubt that Vader have a formulaic style now and whilst the material on ‘The Beast’ isn’t a rehash of former glories, the more discerning fan with recognize familiar riff patterns. However as a rebuttal, I’d argue that no one could really expect many surprises with any new Vader release. They’ve been honing this style for the past 15 years. We know what they sound like. We know what to expect. ‘The Beast’ is pure Vader with some slight refinement only. If you’re after progressiveness in Vader’s music now or in the future, don’t hold your breath.

‘The Beast’ should please 99% of current Vader fans. If you’re new to the band, Vader have released stronger albums (2002’s Revelation in particular) but as a starting point this album would be as good as any. It doesn’t tread any new paths or explore any virgin territory (except maybe in atmosphere) fro the band, but you can be assured that Vader have again delivered with ‘The Beast’.

Beastly - 65%

AtteroDeus, October 4th, 2004

To say that I was slightly looking forward to this album might give a sense of misguided disappointment when you're through reading this review.

Put it this way. I'd been introduced to the band with the customary "bigger/ better than Slayer" and their reputation as the biggest band to come out of Poland ever. Musicwise, I'd started off with the thrashy deathfest that was 'Revelations', liking it a bit I sought out more, and got hold of Litany which completely and utterly owned my soul for the first 6 or 7 songs before bludgeoning me to death with the sheer repetativeness of each and every song using the same old formula again and again.

It's this problem in my opinion that plagues the overall sound of this, the latest Vader album. They, or more to the point Piotr, seem most content to just simply sit back and rely on the same monolithic big monstrous riffs and rhythms that may well destroy, but are nothing more than an everyday occurance in a Vader song but begin to seriously blur into one formulaeic lump.

To put it another way, Vader sound as though they're either bored playing this kind of music, or they're happy treading water and resting on their proverbial laurels as opposed to actually providing fans with music to reiterate their position at the supposed top of their game.

Most reviews, even those insipid ones written by myself, usually find at least one song to pick up on and recommend as one amongst a bad bunch... but quite frankly, just as much as the latter half of Litany blurs together, practically all the songs on this album sound alike and very much stoic. So I guess it'd be a case of love one song & love them all, or hate one song & hate them all.

Vader need to stop treading water with the blatant filler material that this album largely consists of, and start releasing more of the music filled with the attitude that gave them the accolades of the huge band that they can be on their day.

Maybe they missed Doc and that through them off their rhythm, or maybe they just had a bad day.
Either way, this is way short of the high standard you can usually expect from one of the biggest bands in European (non-melodic) death metal of the 90s and current times.

Another Solid Release - 92%

Reaperwheat, September 17th, 2004

Well, it's time for another Vader album, it's solid, entertaining, and well produced, as they always are with Vader. There's some really cool songs such as "The Sea Came In At Last" with an awesome atmosphere behind it, interesting start/stops, and some well done clean vocals(as per mandatory every Vader album has to have a track where Peter laughs, this is the one for this album,). There are cool riffs, change-ups, and bridges throughout the album as there always are on Vader albums, but at the same time during certain parts, the way they were building up sections, I kept thinking they were going to bust into a riff or drum pattern from a previous release (namely Litany/Revelations/Blood) but didn't exactly, it was the same type of feel but a different chord/change-up(good or bad depending upon how you look at it). Though, I found this occured mainly on the first two tracks "Out of the Deep" and "Dark Transmission", which are good tracks. The rest just felt like fast, death/thrash Vader, but nothing that they had exactly done before. The solos are rocking and awesome but never go over the edge. They also have an instrumental, ambient intro for track 1(boo), but it does help build up for the first track, so I'll let it slide though they should have just made it a part of the song rather than a seperate track. I also wish the drums stood out a bit more and performed some more crazy fills or patterns, there are a couple parts that they do this on the album but I wish it happened more, they are very well done though. This is a solid, entertaining album, as Vader has come to be known to deliver, doing what they've always done. They entered a bit of new territory with more attention to atmosphere, soft intro on the last track, "Choices", and bit more of the clean vocals, but not enough to alienate or destroy the sound they have developed. I don't think this will be my favorite Vader album, but if you've enjoyed their past releases, as I have, then this one will fulfill your need for new, enjoyable, entertaining material from Vader. In relation to ratings for the other Vader albums I own: De Profundis - 97%; Litany - 97%; Blood/R.F.W. - 91%; Revelations - 90%