Review Summary: An underrated classic
How can a full, ass kicking release be crammed into under half an hour. 29 minutes is scarcely more than an EP, and yet the third release from Polish death metal titans Vader, Black To The Blind, manages to rip plenty of faces right off in that amount of time. Packed into this 27:47 wonder are 11 great outings of death metal, many of which do not even reach the three minute mark. This album also contains my first foray into the Vader discography, True Names.
For those unfamiliar with Vader, they are a death metal band formed as the project of Piotr "Peter" Wiwczarek, who writes the majority of the music and lyrics and, on this release, takes the guitars, bass and vocals. They are heavily influenced by the 1980's thrash acts, in particular Slayer and Venom, the former of which forms a large part of their sound, with their riffs boasting a huge amount of Slayer homage. Combine this with a roaring growl from Peter and some crazy blast beats from Krysztof "Doc" Rackowski, and you have Vader, one of the most unique and consistent bands in the genre.
Black To The Blind contains some fantastic songs throughout. Album opener Heading for Internal Darkness is the perfect introduction for the uninitiated, with a lot of extremely fast drumming, the usual aggressive vocals, and absolutely perfectly written riffs. This is a prime example of how death metal should be done to perfection, with many memorable moments, including a growl towards the end that trails on for far longer than Vader fans are accustomed to.
True Names, my personal initiation into the sound of Vader, remains one of the standouts of the album. Coupled with Sword Of The Witcher, this is the finest song i have ever heard from the band. It starts out fairly fast, with a lot of aggression to it and sheer talent behind the instrumental work. However, around the halfway mark, it shifts into absolute insane speeds, with some very fast growls reminiscent of Cannibal Corpse's George Fisher. This is a true masterclass in the art of death metal music, and deserves a listen from everyone.
The title track has a lot of tremolo riffing and blast beats, and some great lyrics from Peter, with some rather memorable riffs that make for an enjoyable listen. This is a song that should break the neck of any listener as he or she headbangs away to it, as it truely does earn it. The solos are what makes this song what it is, being very well written, and far more listenable than the majority of Vader solos. They does not contain many notes, and don't last very long, but they serves as a nice interlude and fits the brutal nature of the song perfectly. The last minute of this song is some of the finest death metal out there, with incredibly catchable riffs and a never ending atmosphere of dread.
This album is exactly what death metal should embody, despite being one of Vader's most often maligned albums. I honestly never understood the hate for this album, as it was my personal introduction to Vader and one that not many of their albums managed to top. However, this is still not the best thing they put out, merely a stepping stone to greatness, albeit an absolutely perfect album. 5/5