Vader - Litany Metal Blade Records - 2000 /images/covers/Vader-Litany.jpg The band Vader hails from Poland, and their newest release, Litany, came out in May 2000. Vader plays extremely fast, pounding death metal, and it is definitely not for the weak. Their precision-tight, razor-sharp sound is perfect for some intense head-banging. The drums (played by Doc) are so fast and so loud in the mix that sometimes I swear they sound like a machine gun firing a constant round of bullets. The guitars, handled by Peter and Mauser, are just as fast and unrelenting, and their ability to quickly shift gears from riffs to leads to solos and back again is really cool. The bass, played by Shambo, is also of note, and is just as good as the rest of the band. The album starts off with "Wings." Filled with intensity and power, this is one of the highlights of the album. It shows the band's ability to change tempos and keep the song interesting and flowing well. "Cold Demons" is another excellent tune, and is actually a song about tanks - at the beginning and ending of the album there are some cool tank sounds. The CD contains a CD-ROM section featuring the video for "Cold Demons" and other goodies. The video is pretty cool; a bunch of tanks blowing up a bunch of stuff with occasional live shots of the band. Next, Litany's title track is highlighted by the fact that the lyrics are just piercing adjectives, which actually works really well because of the way the music is molded to the lyrics. My favorite tune of the album is "Xeper," which features a lot of technical expertise and some of the best guitar playing on the album. The main driving riff is crunchy and heavy, and I really enjoy the piercing guitar hook that comes right around the one-minute mark and is repeated at various times during the song. The band does not let up during the entire album; it is an impressive effort of brutality. However, all is not well in Litany. The album goes downhill right after "The Calling" - three of the remaining songs are less than two minutes each, and "The World Made Flesh" is just under 3 minutes. I find nothing really memorable about this section of the album. All of a sudden the songs become just noise, which is a shame, considering how great the first half of the album is. Litany has one final moment of glory in "The Final Massacre." It shows the same ingenuity and astounding playing that is featured on the first half of the album. This is album is simply brutal and punishing, and is, at times, excellent. I think it is a shame that more thought and better songwriting were not put into some of the songs. There is a point where just playing fast and unrelenting is boring, and I feel that way about half of this album. The other half shows that Vader can deliver what I really look forward to when I listen to death metal. If they can show more consistency in future efforts, they might find themselves with an outstanding album. For now, Litany is average at best.