Review Summary: Vader may be the epitome of consistency to excess, but on Tibi et Igni they prove once again that repetitive material can still work, whilst also expanding their sound.
Vader's last effort, Welcome To The Morbid Reich
evidenced an interesting development for them; utilising a more mature and targetted approach on album highlights like I Had A Dream
and I Am Who Feasts Upon Your Soul
, which made it their strongest release since Litany. Sure, the album lacked variation with the usual tremolo picking and blast-beat-athons, but it also demonstrated a notable margin for expansion on the following album. Pleasingly, Tibi et Igni sees this come to pass.
Firstly, it's worth noting that the material present on this release is probably the best in terms of minimum quality any Vader release has had in a long time; there are no bad tracks here, with the weakest ones like Where Angels Weep
and Worms Of Eden
still outclassing any of the material from Necropolis. The general upturn in quality lies in a more thought out approach to the riffs, with more varied tempos, occasionally quite technical sections, and quite frequent harmonized tremolo picking. Additionally, an overall increase in the quality of the lead guitar playing and the somewhat meatier sounding bass lends a more powerful sound to the proceedings, and whilst the lyrics do bring the cheese fairly often, it's the tasty, tried and tested satanic variety.
Tibi et Igni's predominant strength, however, is a much clearer variation between tracks. Whilst on most Vader albums the character of some of the songs could be very easily mixed up, certain tracks have much more definite features than on prior works. Go To Hell
is the thrashiest number present, whilst Hexenkessel
is the melodic centerpiece; Triumph of Death
serves as a mid paced headbanger akin to the material on The Beast
, and The Eye Of The Abyss
fulfills the same purpose I Am Who Feasts Upon Your Soul
did as the epic, groovier track. There's still a whole host of requisite Vader "death metal by numbers" tracks, but they're all quite good despite the band's apparent autopilot direction on them, and with the presence of the aforementioned album highlights they don't feel tedious towards the end of the album. Coupled with a stronger sense of pacing, the album as a whole simply works better.
Of course, nothing actually groundbreaking or especially "new" for Vader occurs on this release, but with a set of more focused and diverse material and thus a better overall pace, Vader may well have released their best album since De Profundis; with clear album highlights that stand among the upper echelons of their discography, Vader has found their most effective sound in a long time.