Vader - _Revelations_
(Metal Blade, 2002)
by: Matthias Noll (
In the guise of "just another Vader record", _Revelations_ found its way into my CD player, and during the first couple of listens failed to leave much of an impression other than that. Sure, the sound is totally top-notch, creating a physical punch coming at you from the speakers, even on low volume. And... what else? Well, it sounded typically Vader, with their most powerful production ever. My perception started to change when I got back to this record after my slight initial disappointment had worn off, and the more I listened to it, the brighter I saw the light. With the typical beating Vader style one gets with _Revelations_, the band has introduced certain additional elements which work extremely well. First of all, there is the incorporation of some wickedly cool and grooving heavy metal riffs. The band has also developed a more diverse use of pace, which helps to accentuate the heaviness of some sections as well as the insane speed of others. Don't get this wrong: Vader did not get softer or less fast than before; it's just not speed, speed and more speed from start to finish. Let me put it this way: if _Litany_ was Vader's _Reign in Blood_ -- and believe me, Vader is one of the two or three bands on this planet where such a comparison is justifiable -- _Revelations_ is their _Seasons in the Abyss_. The guitar solos are another point worth mentioning. I always felt that the solos were one of the few weak points in Vader's music, but this time there's more soloing than ever -- with the difference that Peter finally got away from worshipping Kerry King's whammy bar and instead delivered some really cool lead work with a clear Vader identity. Doc once again shows that he's one of the best death metal drummers around. His speed, precision, and ability to effortlessly and within milliseconds accelerate from extremely fast to even faster blasting is breathtaking time and time again. His style may not the most technical in a world of Roddys and Mouniers, but his sense of rhythm and especially his incredible breaks and fills are totally amazing. So, what's preventing this record from getting 10 out of 10? First off, I don't want to give the highest rating to anything that hasn't stood the test of time. Secondly, "The Nomad" is an obvious but inferior attempt to write another "Xeper", definitely one of my all-time favourite death metal tracks. "Xeper" is proof that Vader can do better, and had it been on _Revelations_ instead of _Litany_ this would have been a 9.5. This minor gripe set aside, I'm convinced this is the best death metal record of 2002.
(article published 11/4/2003)
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