I’m starting this review by stating that Vader and the term “disappointment” have nothing to do with each other. The band always release albums of high quality, remaining faithful to their old school death metal and paying homage to their thrash and heavy metal influences. Vader do not fail fans’ expectations even in their EPs; indeed, some of them might be even better than their albums, remaining classic points of reference in their long discography (“Sothis”, “The Art of War”).

Currently, the band is preparing for another record that will be released possibly next year. In the meantime they finished early, in January and February 2019, the recording of some songs; hence, they decided to make an EP as an appetizer, recorded at Hertz Studio, and perform the new material in their summer live shows.

“Thy Messenger” throughout 3 new songs, a re-make and a cover presents once again the dualism of many albums; Vader’s music, either being pure death metal or showing explicitly a thrash orientation remains raw, aggressive and compelling. “Grand Deceiver” grabs you instantly with its extremely up-tempo hellish riffs and tones of blasts. Powerful, dynamic, with no intention of slowing down, even during the properly placed Spider’s solos (a feature that I like a lot in the recent records), it constitutes the optimal way of opening the EP. Simply structured, the song defines perfectly through its intensity what Vader do in the extreme genres. Those who are accustomed to listening to traditional, aggressive death metal will feel like home.

“Litany” is a re-make of a classic -and highly appreciated among fans- Vader song, originally recorded 20 years ago; hence, no other comment should be made about its splendid riffs. This time, they recorded the song with a similarly heavy sound, but with a more polished production compared to the original version, bringing the vocals in the foreground and adding a lead solo. I liked their approach, since they made “Litany” sounding fresher, without losing its brutality after all these years.

“Emptiness” diversifies from the first two songs, indicating the band’s thrash influence. A mid-paced groovy riff, collaborating perfectly with timely and precise drumming and melodic lead solos, keeps the addiction constantly at high levels. The song is full of rhythmic vibes, combining heaviness and melody, while the aggression is still present, although not in the way it permeates “Grand Deceiver” and “Litany”. Let it attract you and you will refer to it several times in a day.

“Despair” is a return to the band’s traditional death metal, with a somehow punk approach. It’s really fast and violent, even for Vader standards, raising the adrenaline abruptly during only 78 seconds. Literally, it “fights” with “Grand Deceiver” over the informal price of the most fast, violent and aggressive song of the EP.

Finally, Peter pays respect to his classic influences and the bands he loves since his childhood. This time, he and the band made a cover of the hyper-classic Judas Priest’s “Steeler”. Of course, you are all familiar with the addictive riffs this song has, especially towards the end (I still remember the first time I heard it when I was a teen); try to imagine its patterns marginally accelerated and harmonized to vaderic standards and we have the absolute death/heavy metal experience. Vader made “Steeler” a song of their own, adding their elements with respect and dedication, without changing it violently.

Overall, Vader succeeded in revealing the optimal dose of their work that made us wanting for more. I consider “Thy Messenger” as the best possible opener for the upcoming album for reasons that relate both to its quality and selective content. Its powerful, well-crafted riffs, solid rhythm section, proper lead solos and Peter’s harsh vocals guarantee our amusement during the 13 minutes it lasts, revealing a band that really enjoys what they are doing. Sadly, its duration is short, but the repeat button might be helpful after all!

♦ 9/10

Alex Nikolaidis