Vader – Welcome to the Morbid Reich (2011)

Posted: August 12, 2011 in Music

I don’t know a whole hell of a lot about Poland. They make a mean sausage. They have a whole encyclopedia of jokes based on their descendants. They also have two of the nastiest, most brutal bands on the planet. We’ve talked about Behemoth before, and now we finally get our first crack at their partners-in-pummeling, Vader.

Formed in Olsztyn, Poland in 1983, Vader has spent the last 25 years slowly morphing from a death metal band into an absolute institution. Their status is beyond legendary as one of the most hostile, aggressive forces in music, and they have cemented themselves as the martyrs of metal.

One of the best albums of 2009 was Vader’s Necropolis, and when we were delivered their new release, Welcome to the Morbid Reich, we locked ourselves in, prepared to be beaten alive by the one of the strongest metal bands going.

Without spewing tons of details, it should be noted that Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek (guitar/vocals) is the last man standing from the original lineup. In fact, none of the other members have been around longer than 2008, but when you are an institution, the names of the guards don’t really matter.

What does matter is how the institution is run, and it has been tight as a drum since the beginning, and “Welcome…” is no exception. In fact, it seems as though the warden has slammed down his fist and secured the locks, as Wiwczarek and his new band of sentries deliver possibly the fastest, most intent album of Vader’s storied career.

From the opening note of “Ultima Thule”, I felt the bruises of a billy club, and was left feeling starved and tortured by the end. And that was just the first fucking track.

By the time we hit the second song, it was obvious the warden had beefed up security, as newcomers Marek Pajak (guitar) and Tomasz “Hal” Halicki (bass) display the brawn and prowess that keeps the prisoners coiled up in the corners of their cells. It’s frightful, menacing – and outright brutal.

The rest of the album carries on the tight-knit lockdown that Vader has always had. There are no cups clanging on the barred doors, or angered hate-filled rants from the convicts. This is serious fucking business, and it’s best just to take the punishment.

The lights are dimmer, the floors colder, and the atmosphere far more desperate. There’s no hope for parole, and even less of a chance to survive.
Even guard-for hire Pawel Jaroszewicz (drums) barely escaped, and he was one of the good guys. After tracking the amazing drums for the album, he left Vader. But not without leaving his inevitable mark on the album. Technical, supersonic, ferocious drums have always been part of the sound, but Jaroszewicz took it even further with his blitzkreig assault this time around.

The facility is only as strong as its leader, though, and Peter rules the yard here. His gnarled roar is as loud and vindictive as ever, as he barks his way through a dozen tracks of dedicated hate. For a guy that’s been doing it as long he has to still have the pure energy and intent is a testament to why Vader are what they are – legendary.

There is absolutely nothing to complain about here. The technicality and precision displayed here is flawless. The guards all take their shifts – “Come and See My Sacrifice,””Only Hell Knows,” and “I Had A Dream” have the guitars patrolling the halls, while the rhythm section of drums and bass take the long walk during “Don’t Rip The Beast,” “Lord of Thorns” and “Decapitated Saints.”

But throughout the album, everyone is watching each other’s back, complimenting themselves with great walls of sound and impenetrable cohesion. The rifles in the towers are filled with live rounds, and Vader takes the troublemakers in the courtyard down with one head-shot after another.

Perfectly placed at the end of the album is “Black Velvet And Skulls Of Steel.” It’s the ultimate “lights-out” call that throws the prisoner back to that deep, desolate corner to shiver the night away. It’s haunting and dark, and epitomizes the power and respect Vader has gained over their career.

Regardless of how you feel about Vader, there is no denying their rightful place as the rulers of the penitentiary that is death metal. Welcome to the Morbid Reich only strengthens the iron fist they’ve had clenched for years, and once you walk within the walls of this album, you better have said your last goodbyes – there’s no turning back.

9.5/10 – Available September 13, 2011

01. Ultima Thule
02. Return To The Morbid Reich
03. The Black Eye
04. Come And See My Sacrifice
05. Only Hell Knows
06. I Am Who Feasts Upon Your Soul
07. Don’t Rip The Beast’s Heart Out
08. I Had A Dream
09. Lord Of Thorns
10. Decapitated Saints
11. They Are Coming
12. Black Velvet And Skulls Of Steel

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