VADER – The Beast

The Beast is the sixth album from long-running death metal veterans, VADER, who have come a long way in helping to establish Poland as a hotbed of death metal creativity. That said, it’s surprising to hear a somewhat uninspired offering from one of Poland’s finest. “Out of the Deep” starts it off with all of the power and fury that the band is known for, but then the album shifts into sluggish, mid-paced tracks that really detract from the band’s impact, and really bring down the album’s momentum. While the songs are by no means bad, it’s that air of familiarity and predictability that sadly fails to bring any fresh ideas to the table. It’s not bad, but we have all heard it done better before by the same band in the past. But The Beast isn’t without its gems as things start to pick up around the sixth track with the catchy “I Shall Prevail” and the blistering “Insomnia” before ending with “Choices,” which despite its moody intro, kicks in with ferocious force, leaving the listener wondering why one of the album’s best songs was stashed away quietly towards the end. The Beast isn’t necessarily a bad album. It just lacks the driving aggression that made De Profundis and Black to the Blind such classics. It’s not that frontman/guitarist Peter has lost his touch, but it certainly couldn’t hurt the band to see contributions from Mauser and Novy (who both delivered excellent work on their DIES IRAE side project) and to say nothing of new bassist Novy‘s work with BEHEMOTH as well as his own DEVILYN. Also missing this time around is former drummer Doc (who was forced to quit due to a severe injury). His replacement, Daray, is by no means a slouch, but lacks the finesse and subtleties that Doc used to push the band over the top. Nonetheless, while The Beast may not be the band’s finest hour, it can still wipe the floor with ninety-percent of the fashioncore crap currently being pimped by Hot Topic and Revolver and still goes to show that one of Poland’s longest running death metal institutions still has plenty of fire left in them. (Metal Blade Records)

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