Saturday, June 23, 2012

Vader - The Ultimate Incantation

Wow. Who new that Vader sucked so bad as a musical "force"? Sure, there's talent abound but the vision behind the expertise is in dire need of a new pair of specs.

Vader is another band whose hype machine has been in overdrive for the last 20 or so years. Unlike Autopsy though,   there's something about Vader that keeps me coming back from time to time. The main problem with Vader is that they're rather boring. I know people say that Bolt Thrower has sounded the same on every album, but that's bullshit. Perhaps due to the change up in production style and methodology throughout their career more than an actual shift in musicianship, Bolt Thrower has managed to deliver the goods that they're known for with each release yet do it in a way that makes them sound different each time. Vader, on the other hand, has sounded the same on every album since their inception save for a few albums that are even more boring than usual (such as the staggeringly overrated 'Litany'). Now unless all Vader fans and fanatics possess special skills that allow them and only them to detect great chasms of change that differentiate each album from the next, then I'm pretty sure I'm on point with this.

I'll admit, Vader's brand of death/thrash isn't really my thing, but every now and then it's rejuvenating to hear blasts over muted tremolo riffing, which, in a nutshell, is Vader's specialty.

The Ultimate Incantation rubbed me the wrong way from the beginning as I had heard through some long since forgotten source that the band would be recruiting Tomas Skogsberg (he of the Temple of Sunlight) for production duties. Being a humongous fan of the sound on Entombed's debut album as well as those by Carnage and Therion, I was interested in how this would turn out. I hadn't realized nor heard that the band were ultimately unhappy with the work he had invested and opted to re-record the album elsewhere. had I known that, perhaps I would have been a bit more prepared for the flood of tinny sounds to come. Right off the bat I was becoming annoyed with this album as the first track takes about 15 minutes for the vocals to make their appearance, which by that point was the 'make it or break it' moment for me. Of course by the time Peter's haggard sounding rasp hit my ears I was dismayed by the weak and unconvincing vocals on display. The final nail in the coffin. Where the gay pirate from Autopsy, at the very least, sounds frenzied and all over the place, Peter's vocals sounded like the guy from the old Dunkin' Donuts commercials in the 80's waking up and doing the Thorazine shuffle on his way to "make the donuts". I always preferred the more hateful sounding vocals of the lower end that David Vincent began to employ on 'Blessed are the Sick' and perfected to godliness on 'Covenant'. Even Glen Benton on the very first Deicide album had an unbelievably hateful and commanding sounding voice before he ended up sounding like a rival to the throne of the gay pirate from Autopsy.

Most of this album is a fucking chore to endure though every now and then a groovy little riff will pop up like in the beginning of 'Chaos' or the second riff in 'Final Massacre'. Of course the truly standout moments on this album are far and few between and life is way too fucking short to spend it yawning your way into oblivion.

This is definitely not Vader's best album though it's certainly not their worst. As mentioned earlier, my main problem with Vader is that they are unbelievably boring outside of an occasionally inspired sounding riff accompanied by the obligatory blast. Listening back on this album brings back a lot of fond memories (I was about 17/18 years old when this came out) and that alone has sort of breathed a new life of interest into the goings on within the Vader camp for me. Of course I'll always prefer the haunting chords of Immolation or the toxic waste, satanic ritual keg orgy of Incantation to this.

If you prefer the thrashier side of the metal o' death with a handful of blasts thrown in for good measure and are not very picky when it comes to wimpy and tired sounding vocals, then Vader is your man, er, band.

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