Release Date: August 13, 2011 (EU), September 13, 2011 (US)
Polish death metal army, Vader has cast upon the world its ninth studio reckoning, Welcome to the Morbid Reich. The new album is a firm and hostile reminder of why Vader are among the elite Polish death metal hierarchy, along with Behemoth and Decapitated.
The album opens up with a dark, atmospheric instrumental piece by guest keyboardist Krzysztof Olos. While it lasts less than a minute, it sets the tone for what’s to come, and segues quite nicely into “Return to the Morbid Reich”. There is nothing sloppy here. Every instrument is struck with precision and clarity. Band founder, vocalist/guitarist Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek wastes no time getting right into the listener’s cerebrum.
This marks the debut album for the new guitarist Marek “Spider” Pajak who joined in 2010. Wiwczarek handled bass duties for the recordings and Pawel “Paul” Jaroszewicz filled in on drums. To say “filled in” minimizes his ungodly impact behind the kit.
Track by track this record is simply a juggernaut of pummeling death. “The Black Eye” could nearly give you one with its brooding heaviness and rapid-fire attack.
“Come And See My Sacrifice” is as close to a single as these guys are capable of, and the guitar pyrotechnics make it a stand out on the record. Spider’s guitar even has Malmsteen-ish neo-classical flourishes to it. He also co-wrote this track.
The out-of-control tempo continues on “Only Hell Knows”, and by the time the band slows down for the epic intro to “I Am Who Feasts Upon Your Soul” you would gladly sell your soul for the brief respite. This is one of the best tracks on the record, with its symphonic background and its mythic feel. The drums are like hellish pistons and the guitars like a machine gun attack. Spider co-wrote this gem as well, leading me to believe Piotr may have found a songwriting chemistry that will breathe fresh life into the band’s sound.
“Don’t Rip the Beast’s Heart Out” picks the pace back up, and the brutal high-velocity battering keeps up through “I Had A Dream…”. The latter being another of the songs Spider co-wrote.
The band re-recorded “Decapitated Saints” from the band’s 1992 debut, The Ultimate Incantation. For the most part it seemed needless, but I won’t complain either. Just listening to Piotr trying to keep from falling over the edge of his own singing is worth it.
Spider adds his own instrumental piece, “They’re Coming” as a prelude to the final bludgeoning assault of “Black Velvet and Skulls of Steel”.
For those into bonus tracks, Vader offers up covers of The Exploited‘s Troops of Tomorrow” and “Raping The Earth” by Extreme Noise Terror.
Vader may be death metal’s version of W.A.S.P.: Peter and company stick to a formula they rarely stray from, but the results are always a sonic treat, so it simply doesn’t matter that they are not really breaking new ground. The listener knows that no matter who passes through the line-up, as long as Peter is there, every album will have a similar style and songwriting. This keeps Vader fans coming back, and one cannot blame them.
Quite simply, Welcome To The Morbid Reich is a pulverizing maelstrom of savage death metal.