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Tear, erase, slaughter, scar - 87%

EzraBlumenfeld, December 2nd, 2019

I have a soft spot for Vader, the Polish death metal giants. They have proven themselves time and time again to be one of the most consistently interesting, unique, and high-quality bands to be found in the world of extreme metal. There's something about the thrash-influenced riffing and Piotr Wiwczarek's throaty growl that makes me want to overturn the nearest table and open up a pit wherever I am, however inappropriate those actions would be perceived as. Despite being rather short, the band's latest EP continues the Vader trend of being very good and very entertaining.

Thy Messenger contains five songs (only three of which are never-heard-before), and clocks in at just over thirteen minutes in length. The EP is unrelenting until the fun little rendition of the Judas Priest classic "Steeler" takes the intensity down a notch. The clean production of this release offers a new opportunity for "Litany" (originally released on the album of the same name in 2000) to shine through in a more listener-friendly context, and generally helps the EP as a whole to be as pleasant as any death metal record could be.

It's hard to pinpoint what exactly sets Vader apart from the rest of their death metal peers, as there are no dramatic differences in songwriting style between them and the rest. The guitars play fairly technical, yet not mind-warping riffs through a refined-yet-biting thick distortion. Though the bass never really separates itself from the guitars in the mix, it can be heard thundering along with them quite clearly. The drums probably represent the most technical aspect Thy Messenger, with break-neck double bass and impossibly quick fills a near-constant factor throughout the entire EP. The aggressive vocals add the perfect punch to the songs, and quasi-melodic vocals adopted by Wiwczarek for "Steeler" are quite amusing (though he's no Halford).

I think Thy Messenger is a great EP, especially considering how short it is, and is perfectly in line with what one can expect from Vader. With three new songs, a re-recording of a Vader classic, and a classic metal cover like those the band is known for pulling off so well, this EP is truly a great addition to the band's discography which maintains the consistency and quality I respect them so much for.

Best songs: "Grand Deceiver," "Emptiness."