Vader - _Live in Japan_
(System Shock / Pavement, 1998)
by: Paul Schwarz (
Well, it finally came: a live album from Vader which showcases material from all three of their albums. I imagine that many will complain that _Live in Japan_ was released at all. From 1996 'till now, Europe has seen the release of two full-length albums, two live albums, one compilation of covers, one compilation of old demos and an EP from Vader (disregarding _An Act of Darkness / I Feel You_). Myself being a Vader fanatic, I have snapped up all of these products and enjoy them all to varying degrees. Vader have got a lot of money out of myself and others and many resent that. I don't. If I didn't like any of Vader's releases, I would get rid of them. I wouldn't have bought them in the first place if I wasn't interested in them. Vader have made a lot of stuff available but none of it is, of necessity, at an extortionate price and different versions or overlapping tracks are hardly an issue. They have offered their fans a wide range of releases and if people are too weak minded not to buy things they don't want that is their trouble, not the band's. Digression aside, _LiJ_ is an accurate sonic rendition of Vader live. Having seen them twice, I can say with all confidence that the build up of the intro into opener "Sothis" is well reproduced. Unfortunately, part of the brilliance is the dark, visual effect and the anticipation of the unknown set ahead. Also, you only get the anticipation once on the live album and the whole set list is on the back cover. _LiJ_ features a well chosen set. "Sothis", "Silent Empire", "Carnal", "Dark Age" and "Reborn in Flames" all make an appearance. Some of my favorites are missing ("Revolt", "Vicious Circle", "An Act of Darkness") and I feel the new album _Black to the Blind_ is a tad over-represented (six out of ten songs). But no live album has a perfect set list for everybody and this one is pretty good for me. The sound is amazing and makes me wonder how "live" this record really is. Though I don't think the band would "fake" the live recording, nor would they need to, judging by the gigs I have been to, I still find it has that "too good to be true" feel to it, along with quite an honor roll of mixers and digital editors. Ultimately, though, this is a great live album if you go in for them and also a very good pick of Vader's material if you have never heard the band before. It also includes cool covers of "Black Sabbath" and "Raining Blood" to boot, so, if you want it, get it; if you don't, don't.
(article published 1/16/1999)
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