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Vader - Black to the Blind
Review: Taking a more populist tack toward the battle-fast death metal of their last album, Vader combine different parts of their history in a release that maintains the broken segments of blasting rhythm from "De Profundis" but integrates into it an updated version of the ambient melodic Massacra-style riffing from their first effort, "The Ultimate Incantation." The influence of black metal can be seen in the more classical European melodic sense which is built from these disparate fragments of structure assembled in a macroarchitecture of tempo and narrative which articulates each piece as a view to the centrality of the whole.
Aggressive piledriver rhythms in the style of later speed metal bands and fast black metal like Sodom provide the basis for songs that alternate between the smoothly-flowing and often melodic speed rhythms which carry the weight of verses with power and the counterpoints of percussion breakwater that throw the song into a self-recursed expectant momentum. From these each song recovers with a resumption of the rhythm embedded in the syncopation of each interruption translated into smoother columnar tremelo riffs accented by introduction of notes to heighten melodic intensity or harmonic proximity. Skillful musicianship allows Vader to move through variants of the same riffs in multiple incarnations without reaching a boredom, but it is the homegrown songwriting this band popularized that enables them to consolidate disparate structures into a high-speed rhythmic congruence.
Lead guitar is the drunken skydiver of chaotic neo-noise playing which establishes the space marked by even the simple harmonics here through dynamics of counterposition which illustrate a sequence of betweens rather than finite points, causing an ambiguity to defer the normal stolidity of guitar solos in favor of an accentuation of both aggression and sensitivity. More impressive almost is the complex and seemingly divergent yet rigidly ordered rhythm guitar, where whip-wrist precision strumming layers textures of complexity and allusive pattern metaphor into an existing whirlwind of alteration, creating a technicality and recursive rhythmic power that exceeds Meshuggah and Voivod while entirely shaming stuff like Pantera.
As always vocals from this band are a staunch gutteral enunciation that is more spoken than sung to the effect of intense cadence and resulting uptake into the overall flow of each song, and drums are expectedly excellent with less emphasis on the stranger combinations of beats found on previous albums and more focus on direct and supportive precision. Tempo support is excellent, configuring itself expertly to each song's unique central pattern and the substructures which reflect that singularity throughout its length.
As a continuation of past work this album is excellent, and experimental in arrangement as it integrates stand-alone cadenced speech and abrupt breakneck structures into otherwise ripping speed-powered death metal; as a metal album it stands for a unique concept and an unmistakeable intelligence which stood out in the distinctive stylings and composition on the last two Vader epics as well.