By 1997, VADER had already made a name for themselves as Death Metal legends with their aggressive and upfront assault of musical prowess. But for me it was “Black To The Blind” where it all started. It was a step in a new direction for the band and it came at the right time when perhaps their music might have started to become a bit stale.
“Black To The Blind” has the band adding in a definite groove element to their chaotic and Thrash inspired sound. For example, “True Names” has a definite swing to the rhythm section but instead of weakening the overall consistency of the band, it added a whole new level and layer to what VADER could be and would become later. And there is a tinge of this new found structure throughout the album. And even though the old VADER still lives quite well in the album, it’s this new added groove that initially caught my attention.
It’s not like suddenly we have VADER trying to be PANTERA or anything. It’s far from that. VADER still thrashes and pummels the living shit out of their instruments on this album still and one listen to the opening track “Heading For Eternal Darkness” will lay any doubts to rest. The drums are still thundering even if the blast beats aren’t always playing and the riffs and solos are still chaotic and monstrous. And Peter Wiwczarek’s seething vocals will still raise the inner demon out of you.
If I had one real complaint about this album, it would be that it is too short. Clocking in at just under 30 minutes, with some of the best songs feeling like short blasts of Death Metal joy (what do you mean “Carnal” is already done!? I want more!) “Black To The Blind” is literally a punch to the face of great music. It works as a whole quite well but I find myself sitting in silence at the end and just starting it over to compensate.
VADER has proven to be one of the most consistently awesome bands on the planet. And even though “Black To The Blind” inserts some new elements of groove to the mix, it still succeeds on every level. It’s lean, mean, and just plain brutal. Too bad it’s not longer.
Songs to check out: “The Red Passage”, “Carnal”, “Heading For Eternal Darkness”.
(Online October 9, 2008)