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Shadow Music Ryan Harding Review by
Ryan Harding
Metal Blade

After the efficient streamlining of their sound from DE PROFUNDIS to BLACK TO THE BLIND, many are curious to see where VADER could go after the 29 minute slaughter of the latter. I expected a return to the DE PROFUNDIS days, but instead the elite Poles have maintained BLACK's sensibilities with a few PROFUNDIS tricks here and there. The result is a 31 minute thrashing you won't soon forget. Rather than repeat the error of opening with the most lackluster song, this time we get the driven blaster "Speed." This will get your attention right off, and then "The One Made of Wings" comes along to blindside you with its crazy precision. Definitely one of VADER's most intense moments, over before you know it. Immediately you see everyone's on target - Peter on vocals and lead guitars, Shambo at bass, and second guitarist Mauser. There was initial concern that Doc would not return to VADER after "personal problems," but he rejoined and again proves what an integral part of VADER he is - the technical double bass gallops, unbelievable speed, and ability to stand out at any tempo.

In the tradition of "Blood of Kingu" comes "Xeper," a highly technical track that impresses without the benefit of notable speed. Title track "Litany" nods back to "Black to the Blind" with its main riff, allowing its all-out moments to show up announced. "The Calling" similarly hides its aggression until nearly the end. "North," "Cold Demons," and "The World Made Flesh" dispense with such formalities and keep the accelerator trounced.

Track lengths decrease later in the album in the VADER tradition of leaving the most
dazzling tracks for the second half. The appropriate finale on this occasion is the
re-recording of "Final Massacre." This was my personal favorite from THE ULTIMATE INCANTATION. There are minor differences this time, mostly in the drum breaks and the enunciation of different notes in a couple of the riffs. I wouldn't call it an improvement on the original as that one still strikes me as being a bit crazier, but on the plus side the vocal approach is better and the solo overkill is corrected. In fact the solos all around seem slightly more restrained, though the whammy bar certainly isn't collecting any dust. Overall LITANY is another compliment to
VADER's illustrious career, and will satisfy and impress their fans as usual.


Perplex SkullPerplex SkullPerplex SkullPerplex SkullPerplex Skull

This review copyright 2000 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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