Vader - _De Profundis_
(Conquest Music/System Shock, 1996)
by: Alain M. Gaudrault (
Conquest has once more done justice to a high quality death act by domestically releasing Vader's (the first Eastern-bloc metal band ever to be signed to a Western label, according to the press release) follow-up full length to 1992's well-received _The Ultimate Incantation_. Although officially released in 1995, North American distribution has been problematic for the band since being dropped from their original label, Earache (Fools! Dig, stop following sonic trends and start giving metal the attention it deserves once more.) The Polish quartet has recorded a mesmerizing album, still highly influenced by Morbid Angel, although more focused and less experimental than MA, borrowing early Slayer ideas, and producing a distinct sound that often evokes greater aural impact than their American counterparts. While not as chaotic nor as intent on speed as the debut, _De Profundis_ manages to improve on their twin guitar approach, displaying more inventive and harmonically complex passages, delivered with precision and conviction. If you liked the actual songs on the _Sothis_ EP (minus the Black Sabbath cover), I'm convinced you'll be listening to _DP_ for some time after purchase. Most instruments are played impeccably, with bass being too low in the mix to tell either way. The band's production is top notch, giving them a very full, thick sound, mixing the vocals in at just the right level to render them more of an instrument on par with the others, while still permitting them to be distinguishable. Slightly reminiscent of Nicke Andersson's _Clandestine_ work, Piotr Wiwczarek (who also plays guitar and writes all the music) does enough damage with his throat without being entirely incomprehensible, and avoids becoming disjoint from the music, meshing perfectly with it and accentuating the highs and lows of the pieces as they flow along. The low point of the album is easily the closing cover of Depeche Mode's "I Feel You", a bonus track not appearing on the European release. After fourty minutes of blistering, bone-chilling death, this lightweight track sounds entirely out of place and far too mainstream, even with Vader's attempts to beef up the song. Personally, I don't consider this track to be a part of the original album (I've had a copy of the European pressing long before receiving the domestic promo), which is why I'm not letting it affect my perfect rating.
(article published 2/4/1997)
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