There are many of the stubborn opinion that Slayer was the end all of streamlined aggression and speed picking. So caught up are we, especially in our formative years, with Slayer‘s undeniable command of imagery that we don’t often understand the steps taken in their wake by bands like Sadus and Vader. Namely, that there was still progress to be made. Truth is, compared to the near mechanical execution of Vader, some of Slayer‘s work is downright sloppy. Long before the days of hypertriggered, blatantly doctored up recordings, Vader gave precision a new name. Though for the longest time I wouldn’t listen to anything by this vicious Polish band that wasn’t named De Profundis, I’ve come to realize that the first four records are neck-and-neck and, in the right mood, 1997′s Black to the Blind shines as brightly as any of them.
“Ture Names” – Every bit as dense and elaborate as De Profundis, this album nothing short of porn for dudes and dudettes that worship at the alter of the riff, that fundamental building block which will forever definite any form of metal not plagued with the “post-” prefix. The skinwork of Krzysztof “Doc” Raczkowski, who passed away from heart failure in 2005, should never be forgotten either. His excellent feel for the riffs and the satisfying pop of the snare propel each song forward rather than simply keeping time or adding bombast.
“The Red Passage” – The salient combo of crisp production and mid-scooped guitar tone is also indispensable. What would be a trainwreck in the hands of many other bands, is delivered flawlessly and with emphasis.
“Black to the Blind” – It’s really not hard ti figure out what lessons to draw from this album. DEM RIFFS, DAT TONE, and DAT CRISP DRUMMING. These guys put on a clinic in the mid to late 90s and every Slayer worshiping bro was asleep in the back. Though they made some mediocre turns into sluggish quasi-Bolt Thrower territory at one point, Vader bloodied noses far and wide with Return to the Morbid Reich. And though on Black to the Blind they didn’t quite have the same lead guitar prowess they do now, younger Vader was even known to simply opting for a serious of wammy dives and calling it a solo, the streamlined riffing of the early period provides for a solid death metal experience, both nostalgic and strangely contemporary.