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Vader - Welcome to the Morbid Reich - 95%

Orbitball, March 4th, 2012

No need to introduce this band since they've been around since 1983. These death/thrash genres that Vader falls into have nothing but good riffs, solos, vocals and songwriting on this album. Everything that's positive in terms of the music is there. There's no lagging from a musical aspect. Another album that you can listen to over and over and never get sick of. I don't own any other Vader releases, so I can't really compare this one to their previous ones. But there's much to say about this latest release by them.

2011 was a year of disappointing metal releases. This was one of the albums that didn't fall short of fan's expectations. Vader fulfilled everything musically and they're only a 3-piece on this lineup. 14 tracks of purely dark and unrelenting darkness that has an enormous amount of energy put into the music. The riffs were catchy and the tempos varied. That crunch tone of the guitar was most noteworthy. It sounds like they tuned down their guitars to make them fit in with the morbid setting.

Peter's vocals were deep for the most part but backup screams were also present on here. Both guitarists had some really killer leads. The drums were going with some fury on tracks that had faster tempos. They fit in well with the music. No lagging in that department at all. Amazing songs that clocked in about an average of 3-4 minutes in length. There were some instrumentals too as well as bonus tracks. "Troops of Tomorrow" was a killer ending to the album.

The production/mixing was awesome, but it was difficult to hear the bass guitar. That's the only real negative thing to conclude about the album. The rest of the instruments blended in smoothly to the mixing. Really memorable songs that expend death/thrash to the core. YouTube "Come and See My Sacrifice" because it's a good track to check out. The tempos on all songs varied. A lot of tremolo picking galore. The guitars were again at a perfect chunky tone that suits the double genre fitting.

If you're a death metal fan or a thrash metal one, well Vader fulfills both of these genres so "Welcome to the Morbid Reich" well suits these categories. Again a great album to listen to repeatedly and can never become distasteful. The overall musicianship was amazing. No mistakes and everything came together on this one. No leads that were misplaced or overused, variety in tempos, and dark as hell. Purchase this one because it's so worthy of praise!

Like Mama Used to Make - 77%

godsonsafari, January 14th, 2012

Vader has never pretended to be a band interested in being considered an innovator. For much of their 20 year existence, Vader has stuck to a formulaic approach to song writing and production. The same can reasonably said about a great number of peers across the death metal world. No one pretends that Cannibal Corpse or Incantation are seeking to reinvent the wheel. What all those bands provide instead is essentially the equivalent in heavy metal of good ‘ol home cooking. Just like gulping down whatever it was your mom was best at making in the kitchen, there’s a comfort level with that style of music that can take you back to when you first became interested in the genre of death metal, and keep your head and fists moving. Innovation is worth nothing if it can’t entertain, and Vader simply seeks to make entertaining death metal.

Vader’s modernized take on the classic death metal style originally created by Death and Master is well at work on “Welcome To The Morbid Reich,” their 9th full length of original material, and 15th total studio effort. There’s little doubt once the title track kicks in that this is Vader by numbers - and that isn’t a bad thing. The music is as raw and violent as ever, the twiddling and masturbatory passages nonexistent as most always, the vocal cadence always on point from Peter. Yes, yes, you’ve heard this exact record several times over since Black to the Blind. But goddamnit man, isn’t that why you’re listening to Vader? You listen to Vader for songs like “Don’t Rip The Beast’s Heart Out”, which pulls one of those awesome tempo changes out and just blows you over and beats the living hell out of you. Sure, there’s a lot of bands that are “death metal” that play super fast in weird time signatures or play glorified Hatebreed worship with the occasional solo to make you think its actually death metal. But man, this, this is death metal.

That’s not to say this is perfect. Vader has a lot of releases, after all, and subsequently has written a lot of songs. It isn’t outrageous to claim that the second best song on the album is “Decapitated Saints,” a re-recorded song from "The Ultimate Incantation". Frankly, much of this album borders on the forgettable compared to many of the more classic releases like "Litany", "Ultimate Incantation", "Litany", "Revelations", "Litany", "Black To The Blind", and also "Litany". But really, filler from Vader is still better than 99% of present heavy metal bands regardless of genre. They are to death metal what Overkill is to thrash, for better or worse. This isn’t a mandatory record that one needs to experience, but when in search of something fresh and new to listen to among the morass of half baked new releases, it stands as among your best bets.

Suprisingly impressive - 90%

DethFanatic, January 12th, 2012

Vader. Never been that big of a fan. I always thought they were a decent enough band, but they just weren't catchy enough to make a serious inroad into my usual playlist. At least I could credit them with attaching something worthwhile, death metal, to a name whose only other association I can think of is with something completely asinine. Welcome to today's installment of "how shit changes."

OK, I'm not gonna lie. Having been unimpressed, or maybe more accurately not overly impressed, with the admittedly limited amount of Vader material I'd heard before, I picked up this album solely because of the cover art. It's awesome. Easily one of my five favorite covers out there right now. Having now grabbed the disc, which I realized was a digipak containing bonus tracks, I figured the next logical step was to rip it, transfer it to the Zune, and blast it at high volume while I puttered around the house to see if the music managed to match the artwork in terms of awesomeness. This is one of those cases where I found myself seriously impressed by what I was hearing.

First off, the instrumental bits. Two of them make an appearance here, serving as the intro to the album (Ultima Thule) and the final original track (They Are Coming...). Now, usually when I think "instrumental," I think of something like Metallica's Orion. You know, an instrument-based song without lyrics. Well, you aren't getting that here. Vader's instrumentals serve as orchestral intro pieces, and they're executed very well. My only gripe is that I'd actually enjoy hearing longer versions. They certainly aren't groundbreaking by any stretch, but they definitely complement the music to come. In fact, some of the better tracks on the CD make use of a lot of the same elements heard in the instrumentals.

The actual tracks on the album provide a nice variety of approach and tempo. The slower tempo songs manage to set up a very nice groove in many places. Black Velvet and Skulls of Steel is a great example. Vader seems to get a lot of credit for the faster side of the metronome, but this is probably my favorite original track on the album. It's almost got a death'n'roll feel to it. Almost. When Vader wants to crank the tempo, such as in Decapitated Saints or Only Hell Knows, they certainly pull it off without sacrificing clarity. You can tell that the musicianship is definitely top-notch here when they're able to perform with both speed and precision at the same time. Decapitated Saints also serves to showcase a different side of Peter's vocals. He cranks up the tempo to match that of the music, echoing Tom Araya during the first segment of Dittohead, for example. Other standout tracks include Return to the Morbid Reich and I Am Who Feast Upon Your Soul. The latter makes very good use of some of the elements found in the instrumental tracks and has a great verse riff.

On to the bonus tracks. Me, I like cover songs. I like seeing bands put their own stamp on different material. The first one here is a cover of Extreme Noise Terror's Raping the Earth. This one didn't really do anything for me, although they definitely do the song justice. I'm just not a big ENT fan, so I wasn't really expecting much anyway. However, the second cover, a performance of The Exploited's Troops of Tomorrow, is outstanding. It's almost blasphemous to consider a cover song as the best track on a band's album, but this is easily my favorite track. Vader simply blows this one out of the water and makes it their own. I have visions of driving through D.C. blasting this at high volumes!

In short, this album changed my opinion of Vader. Front to back, it's a solid death metal CD and easily one of the five best albums I heard in 2011. The production is crisp, the musicianship is excellent, and overall Vader definitely deliver the goods. My only real complaint is that a few of the songs are on the short side. It doesn't take away from the individual songs per se, but there were a few cases where the song seemed to come to a premature end. Only Hell Knows could've used another verse, for example, to really make it stand out. But that issue is really more to do with my personal taste than anything actually "wrong" with the album. For that reason, I can't knock it below a 90. Perhaps the best thing I can say about the album is that it's caused me to go back and give the rest of my admittedly limited Vader collection more attention, and to track down some more of their releases. These guys clearly deserve more attention than I've been giving them, and I look forward to seeing what I might have missed.

Are you Morbid? - 95%

Thatshowkidsdie, November 27th, 2011

I hate the term “meat and potatoes death metal”. I’m not sure who originally coined it (keep an eye out for this person, as they need to be tarred and feathered, stat) , but I hereby move to have this ridiculous piece of jargon forever expurgated from the metal reviewers’ lexicon. Not only does it exemplify lazy journalism and a lack of capacity for real critical thought, it states the blatantly obvious. All death metal should have meat on its bones (I’m not sure where the potatoes come in). It should be raw and bloody and hanging from stainless steel hooks and chains. It is the music of carnivores and cannibals.

Poland’s Vader are one of the bands that gets wrongfully saddled with this obnoxious term on a regular basis. One would think that being genre pioneers and nearly thirty year veterans of the scene would garner a bit more respect, especially when they’re still capable of unleashing some of the most potent death metal around. Indeed, the quartet’s ninth studio album, Welcome to the Morbid Reich, is a prime cut of death metal beef. There isn’t an ounce of fat or gristle to be found anywhere amidst its thirty-seven minute running time, and the music is appetizingly rare and juicy. It’s one of the most satisfying slabs of DM to show up on the chopping block in 2011, the type of album you can really sink your teeth into.

Alright, I’ll dispense with the silly meat analogies, as I’m sure you’ve all gotten the point by now. What’s really interesting about Vader is their consistency and unwavering dedication to death metal, traits which are abundantly apparent on Welcome to the Morbid Reich. According to Metal Archives, the band formed in 1983, and even though guitarist/vocalist Piotr Wiwczarek is the only remaining original member, the fact that the band has stuck to their guns and has released stellar material on a regular basis across nearly three decades in spite of ever-changing musical climates, about a million lineup changes and personal hardships (not to mention the fact that Poland was a part of the Eastern Bloc during their formative years) is beyond impressive. In this respect, Welcome to the Morbid Reich (whose title references one of the band’s early demos) can be seen as celebration of everything that makes Vader great.

What makes Vader so great, you ask? First and foremost has to be intensity. By surrounding himself with a lineup of younger musicians, Wiwczarek has kept Vader lean and hungry, which undoubtedly plays a key role in maintaining the relentless assault of Welcome to the Morbid Reich. Of course, it could also have something to do with the fact that Wiwczarek clearly hasn’t lost any of his own personal intensity and youthful exuberance for death metal; listening to the album makes it seem quite possible that he had no choice but to hire youthful musicians, as it’s hard to imagine his fellow forty-somethings being able to keep up with him on tracks like “Only Hell Knows” and “Don’t Rip the Beast’s Heart Out”.

Intensity is nothing without craftsmanship. I’ve espoused the virtues of craftsmanship many times in previous reviews, but it is particularly important to address in the case of Vader. I think we can all agree that Vader’s approach to death metal has evolved little over the years, and while some might equate this with stagnation, I beg to differ. The fact of the matter is, Vader perfected their sound roughly a decade ago (see 2000′s mighty Litany) and everything they’ve done since has arguably been an attempt to hone and maintain that high level of craftsmanship. Welcome to the Morbid Reich doesn’t push any boundaries because it doesn’t have to; there’s no need to evolve when you’re already an apex predator. Vader have wisely chosen to continue to follow their hearts and write great songs in the process, from the smoldering skull-crush of “Black Velvet and Skulls of Steel” to the blistering high-speed bloodbath of “Decapitated Saints”. Indeed, the band’s knack for penning sharp, concise and headbangable death metal is truly unparalleled.

Welcome of the Morbid Reich is also quite stellar from a production and playing perspective. The album sounds dark, dense and crunchy as hell without falling victim to the over compression and poor mastering jobs that plague modern metal. New guitarist Spider brings some serious shred to the table and Paweł Jaroszewicz’s drums have never sounded so full and organic. Piotr’s rhythm guitar-work is as tight as ever and his vocals are still the heavily accented hell-furnace bellow that Vader fans have come to know and love, if anything it’s gotten even more gnarly with age. The recording bristles with a calculated precision, yet retains a high degree of warmth and emotion that’s sorely lacking in much of today’s cold ‘n’ clinical death metal.

At this point it’s safe to say that Vader are more than just a band, they’re a death metal institution. Defiant longevity, quality songwriting and an unwillingness to bend or break in the face of multitudes of obstacles and naysayers has secured them a throne amongst the unhallowed halls of the death metal elite, sitting atop the broken bones and shredded carcasses of a zillion lesser bands. Welcome to the Morbid Reich is yet another jewel in their collective crown, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that their sound is anything but mere “meat and potatoes”.

Originally written for

Polska death design. - 95%

Pratl1971, October 25th, 2011

Death metal from my own mother country of Poland has always had a soft spot for me; mainly because you can count the good death metal bands on one hand form the Eastern European continent. As long as I’ve been a Vader fan, which is going on over 20-years, I’ve always loved the natural progression each release has taken. From the humble, yet brutal beginnings with The Ultimate Incantation Vader has managed to decimate the death metal underground with a brand of music that no longer pays ominous tribute to Slayer and now sits atop the leader board in terms of fast, disruptive heavy metal.

Welcome to the Morbid Reich might not be the most original name (working off of the band’s early demo title), but the music is unmistakably Vader in all facets. The band has a revitalized energy that was there for Necropolis, but seemed to just sort of labor a tad here and there. Still a terrific album, the overall energy of Necropolis was just a little…off for my taste. One track into the latest blasphemy and there is a guided tour into all things broken and jagged, with the familiar Pitor vocal that sounds as if he’s gargled with glass shards while swilling beers in a darkened room. His is one of the more potent vocals in death metal music; it’s absolutely easily recognizable. What is always vital about Vader is the lyrical content that never seems to get trite or dull; there’s always a brutality and poignancy that Slayer used to have years ago before they took over the Pantera pickup truck-driving crowd and now offer a lowest-common denominator effort each and every time. The riffs in “Come and See My Sacrifice” are so decidedly destructive that it’s nearly impossible to remain calmed during this album’s duration. Every track from “The Black Eye” to “They Are Coming…” is a how-to in terms of creating and cultivating true death metal that doesn’t retain water along the way. “Only Hell Knows” carried enough patriotic pride to decimate an entire country in war; if Slayer was played in fighter planes in the Gulf War conflict, I can only imagine what this track might do to compliment the euphoric feeling of hitting enemy targets. Everything that Slayer once was but is no longer is in Vader’s arsenal kit, so I suggest you check them out.

Traveling through the album for a second time only lends more credence to the notions that this is a much-wanted kick to the throat that many a band needs. Our movement cries out for a band like Vader who, selflessly, affords us brief glimpses into its collective psyche and takes us deep into the caverns of strife that each of us carries inside. The attentive riffs, the brutal and intentional barking vocal and the intelligent, yet sardonically sadistic lyrical content afford us a fantastical and realistic look inside the fascinating world of death and arduous life experiences we can’t ignore or escape short of the former’s illustrious grip. The causal derivative here between the Vader fan and the band is a perfect marriage because we expect the band to take us to places we fear and loathe, and the band leads us there with no hope or promise of peace afterward.

Vader has always been about the purity of the death metal arena, that’s just a given from the band’s long, storied discography. They’re great at creating feelings of dread, hate, war, rage, despair, revenge, arrogance and strength - the pinpoint perfect formula necessary for any true death metal fan to keep coming back for more. After hearing Welcome to the Morbid Reich twice and going back into the hellish musical hole for more, I can say that the non-rational contemplative essence that is my chemical makeup might fare well for yet another day without incident.

(Originally written for

Quite welcoming indeed - 84%

metal_militant, October 11th, 2011


20 years ago when death metal was a very new concept, almost any album worked. All it needed was guttural vocals, furious low-tuned pentatonic rhythms and blast beats. It was musical brutality at its visceral best for that age. Now, however, bands that try only that bookish formula end up with stale music. However, there are bands like Vader that keep reinventing their own formula for every album, hence they keep adding something new to their sound. Like wine, they improve with age.

'Welcome to the Morbid Reich' is, if nothing else, Vader's most dramatic offering to date. It is one of the few death metal albums in existence to open with an orchestral tune, 'Ultima Thule'. This orchestral vibe is maintained in the intro of the next track, 'Return to the Morbid Reich', resulting in an epic set of tremolos and breakdowns that dive headlong into the rest of the album. Now, groove has always been an ally of this band, and on this album they have really used it well. They haven't drenched their music in it, resulting in something far removed from a death metal sound, nor have they used it too stingily. It has its latent presence in the heavy tremolo barrages, in the powerful chugged sections, and of course, in the drum beats.

There are sections, however, where one does feel that the groove is taking away emotion from the song, and at other times the 'brutality' is doing the same. Examples are 'Only Hell Knows', 'Come and See My Sacrifice', and 'Lord of Thorns', but there are more good things than bad about this album. Two of them are 'I Am Who Feasts Upon Your Soul' and 'Don't Rip the Beast's Heart Out'. Both songs have a great sense of tremolo mathematics, have a lot of beat and groove variations, and are inherently simple yet powerfully effective examples of songwriting. Both songs provide a dark and doom-laden vibe as do the closing tracks 'They Are Coming' and 'Black Velvet and Skulls of Steel'.

The vocals have nothing new about them and are the regular half-spoken, half-growled strains of Piotr Wiwczarek. The guitar solos are well-executed while not being overly technical and have a memorable tune to them for the most part (it's also great to not hear them relax into the 'whammy bar' trap inspired heavily by Kerry King). In the end, this album will definitely be one of 2011's memorable albums and will also be an album that death metal fans won't forget in too much of a hurry.

Fanfare fit for an undead king. - 91%

hells_unicorn, August 14th, 2011

There are few things more appetizing than an old school fit of symmetrically structured mayhem in a concise, sub-40 minute package, and this has been Vader’s stock and trade as a pioneer of that fine art that cropped up in the midst of that violent fit of evolution between thrash and death metal. In those mystical days, circa 1988-1991, there was a bit more to the storyline than just unintelligible verses about the anatomy of a mutilated murder victim. The dark tales of spiritual distress, darkness, and religious conflict paint a picture of woe and dread more in line with classical horror, and emit’s a sort of class unto itself that is less heard of in more brutal manifestations of the style.

With their 9th full length album “Welcome To The Morbid Reich”, the message is a flair for brilliance amid a strict and consistent template. The aesthetic is all but a perfect modern realization of the greatest aspects of Possessed through the better days of Deicide and Morbid Angel. Room is made of punishing mid and upper tempo riffs that are more thrash based, at least by the more extreme standard, and the almighty blast beat is not abused in the name of a straight-line chaotic approach, which is more along the lines of what present Behemoth strives for with a different atmospheric flavor. It’s literally as heavy and a vile as the recent return of Benton and company in “To Hell With God”, but has much more variation and detailing.

While not really a massive departure from the band’s root sound, this album has a bit more of a grandiose, regal feel to it that fit’s the title. The orchestration work on the two instrumental offerings “Ultima Thule” and “They Are Coming…” reminisce of a grand film score sound, perhaps along the lines of a darkened variation on a Hollywood blockbuster. This tendency is then infused into the killer first full length and title song “Welcome To The Morbid Reich”, with all the pomp and droning tremolo riff trappings to cast a shadow not all that different from an earlier offering out of Kreator. The vocal work of Peter is the chief influence keeping this in the death metal realm, while the guitar work exemplifies a duality of chaotic evil and singing beauty. Other fits of grandiose brilliance can be heard in “I Am Who Feasts Upon Your Soul” and “I Had A Dream”, which play up the thrash side a bit more.

If quality is a requirement, this reaches well above and beyond the call of duty insofar as death metal goes. There are many albums that have achieved a similar level of majestic wickedness, but most of them were put out before 1996, and in this modern age of genre splicing and watering down the meat and potatoes in order to draw in new adherents, it’s rarity translates into an obligatory purchase. Now if only Morbid Angel could still put albums with this level of intrigue, as they did in the early to mid 90s, there would be an American equivalent stylistically to this fine homage to arcane sonic morbidity.

Textbook Polish excellence - 98%

autothrall, August 12th, 2011

Poland's pummel-gods Vader have always been one of the most consistent and reliable acts in all of death metal, but in truth, many of their records catapult beyond that threshold to the realm of veritable classics. One of the few bands that can simultaneously imbue their works with pinpoint technicality while retaining an unabashedly old school framework of composition, they relentlessly pursue modern aesthetics without ever betraying their roots. One could listen back through their nearly 20 years of albums, back to The Ultimate Incantation and hear a fluid, formidable progression straight to their 9th full-length Welcome to the Morbid Reich, which is stylistically a sandwich of Impressions in Blood, Black to the Blind and their last, divisive effort Necropolis.

I'll come right out and say that I'm an impetuous fanboy for this band, and if Peter continues to produce such taut and magnificence exercises in technique and aggression, that status is unlikely to change until my heart stops beating, or his does. That he continues to surround himself with such crack musicians is admirable, and he's got himself a great new lead guitarist here in Spider, who kicked around briefly with a few other Polish bands. For his own swansong with the band, drummer Paul has provided an unflinching foundation over which the massive riffing flourishes; and from a production standpoint, Welcome to the Morbid Reich is infallible. Intense clarity is cast through the bricklaying vocals, the manic and beauty lead manifestations, and the concrete artillery of the rhythm section. You'll continue to hear the influences that have always been prevalent in their sound, from Slayer and Possessed to Sepultura, and even a few surgical traces of old Pestilence (Mallevs Maleficarvm era) spliced into a handful of tracks.

Honestly, for the first 11 tracks, I was in utter, crushing paradise here, because the album is pretty much perfect through all of that time. You've got your atmospheric instrumentals that expertly escalate the listener's excitement into the oncoming onslaught ("Ultima Thule" and later "They Are Coming..."), and then an incessant beating which is constantly mindful of great riffing and variation. The lead guitars in "Return to the Morbid Reich", "Come and See My Sacrifice", and "Only Hell Knows" explode into the listener as if he/she were launched over the edge of a cliff with no rope and suddenly had to experience all their exhilarating life memories before a quick and flattening end. And that is exactly how they fucking should be. As usual, this is not a band who blasts needlessly. Oh, they blast. But there is always a goal in mind, and here that end zone is divided between deeply thrashing, memorable breakdowns and segues of glorious atmosphere that round out the overall work with an appreciable added layer.

The one track I wasn't blown over by was the closer, "Black Velvet and Skulls of Steel", which is essentially a death metal march with fairly average riffing. The lead here is nice, but the guitars leading up to it just don't resonate with quite the same thrills as the rest of the album. Granted, you do get about 34 minutes of excellence before this arrives, but it simply doesn't end on a high note, and that's a quip I'm unlikely to ignore. Otherwise, this is a triumph on all accounts, with a nearly flawless presentation, the sort of album that is not going to exit my radar any time soon. Welcome to the Morbid Reich is marginally more brutal than its direct predecessor, so fans who (incorrectly) thought the band was drifting south of cool might be drawn back here; but really, Vader has never fallen off the scent of superior craftsmanship, and here is another of the many reasons they deserve your utmost support. Hell, the 'Morbid Reich' might even help compensate for another 'Morbid' disappointment many of us have no doubt experienced of late.