Quick Review: VADER Thy Messenger
The speed of light. The sun rising again. The years roll on, the world’s beset with flood, fire, and famine, and Vader endures. Their foundry turns out pallet after pallet of burly, smoke-belching, tremolo-grooving death metal. But even high-quality consistency can feel tiresome. Change is dramatic. Vader has no Illud Divinum abyss to heroically claw itself out of. Tibi et Igni and The Empire, their last two albums, were very good. Still, one wondered if, behind their sharp skills, their passion was waning. Thy Messenger tells us exactly one thing: These guys are still having fun.
“Grand Deceiver” has no preamble and no amble. It’s a shot of high-proof distilled old school death. It and“Despair” are as subtle as a two-pronged fork in the eye. The same frantic glee soars through the re-recording of classic “Litany.” The closing burn through Judas Priest’s “Steeler” adapts the song to Vader’s more aggressive sound without draining it of its old soul.
The standout song on the EP, though, is “Emptiness.” The third original tune opens with textbook Vader tremolo-double kick fury, then shifts to a chugging NWOBHM-vintage riff backed by a simple, hard-hitting rock beat. It still sounds like a Vader song, but they do something a little different and it works.
Peter’s soot-filled roars remain among the best, most distinct vocals in metal. His and Spider’s guitar work is fiery and angry as always. Tomasz "Hal" Halicki (bass) and James Stewart (drums) stoke the fires and push the pistons with aplomb. The production sacrifices richness and depth for sharp immediacy. On the upcoming full-length this EP heralds, a fuller sound will be needed. Thy Messenger, though, is made to hit hard and get out, and the clear, forward mix fits. Vader fans can rest assured: Vader still loves being Vader.