Originally written by Tim Pigeon
“VAAAAAADERRRRR! \m/” If I had my way, I’d just write that line and pass it in for a D . But, we have higher standards here, and that would be a very worthless review. Getting down to business, Vader is back with another full-length after teasing the metal world with 2003’s Blood EP. As reliable as a Japanese automobile, we are treated with Vader’s umpteenth release of quality, no-frills death metal, performed in the fine Polish tradition. Never heard these legendary Poles? Then let me elaborate on their sound… Old-school, mid- to fast-paced simplistic death metal, highlighted by top-notch drumwork (Daray on this album, filling in for Doc) and the excellent, hoarse-throated vocals of Peter. Their guitarwork is not overly technical, but never fails to get heads bobbing. To put it simply, I’ve found that I can learn to play Vader songs fairly easily, and I’m not much of a guitarist. But regardless, the end result is the quality of the notes played, not the quantity. So where does The Beast stack up in the lengthy Vader discography? Right in the middle. Litany is on its own high plane, but this album continues on the path set forth upon by Revelations. In terms of their older albums, the top tracks of Black to the Blind and De Profundis surpass the best of The Beast. This is an easy album to enjoy even if you aren’t typically a rabid death metaller, as was confirmed by a friend. The non-gutteral vocals help to that end. “The Sea Came in at Last” is one of the high points of this record. Relentless double-bass drumming is the foundation for the cold riffage within. Vader also tries their hand at playing clean guitar passages, like in the intro track, as well as the lead-in to the vicious closer “Choices”. Slayer riffs, adept and appropriate solos, Peter’s bark…what more do you need? “Insomnia” and “Apopheniac” are classic Vader, and “Dark Transmission” has its moments, but unfortunately, a few unremarkable tracks bring The Beast back down to Earth. Ultimately, Vader have provided me with yet another satisfying album. The Beast satisfies not just for the fact that I chuckle at hearing the title (I have a friend that we call “The Beast” who is a Vader fan), but because this is the kind of death metal that absolutely rocks in concert, as well as pretty much anywhere else. This is a Vader album, you know what to expect after all these years, act accordingly.