The last time I saw Vader was when the band were supporting their 11th album 2016s ‘The Empire’. Vader were opening for Kreator just outside of Paris on the God’s of Violence tour. What struck me about their show was by the middle of it you felt that they were the headlining band and getting to see Kreator was an extra bonus. The 2,000 plus crowd were fully immersed and unlike other support bands everyone was already crammed into the venue to watch the four piece from Poland.
Fast forward a couple of years later and Vader are back with their new release, not a full blown record but an EP that clocks in at under 15 minutes and let me tell you right off the bat this is brilliant from start to finish. There are 3 brand new tracks here, a re recording of ‘Litany’ from the album of the same name released almost 20 years ago and a storming cover of the Judas Priest classic ‘Steeler’.
‘Thy Messenger’ gets straight to the point and opens with brand new track ‘Grand Deceiver’, the band are as tight as ever and as you’d expect this is straight in your face. James Stewart on drums holds it altogether and this is a brilliant introduction to an EP which feels like a gift from the band to us. ‘Thy Messenger’ in large part is being released as Vader were aware that their new album will not be released until later this year.
‘Litany’ was first recorded in 2000 and this new version feels even heavier and slicker than the first, like a ball of energy and Piotr’s vocals are much clearer. The track has always had that standout intro with a memorable riff and when James’ drum section kicks in at 0.26, we are in heaven, or hell or wherever you want to be. Piotr sings Hatred, Pain, Anger, Madness and by the end screams his statement, ‘This is what you mean to me’! By the end he changes this up to ‘This is what you will always be’, almost sounding Regan(ish) possessed in this version.
Third track ‘Emptiness’ could actually have been a brilliant instrumental if that is what the band wanted. The guitars in joint tandem by Piotr and Marek Pajak are simply breathtaking, and ‘Emptiness’ slides from instrumental to what will be one of the best songs live, let’s just say the mosh pit will be working over time.
Penultimate track ‘Despair’ is all of 78 seconds long and ‘Thy Messenger’ is wrapped up by ‘Steeler’ the classic Judas Priest number from their seminal 1980 release ‘British Steel’. Piotr sounds terrific and does the song justice. You could say that he also sounds very much like Lemmy in the first verse. ‘Steeler’ ends a short sharp EP with a nod back to the early 80s when Vader formed, it’s been a long ride and one that will hopefully continue for many years yet. ‘Thy Messenger’ is a triumph and these songs will sound killer in a live environment, and if this collection of songs is anything to go by then we can’t wait for their 12th album due later this year.
‘Thy Messenger’ will be released through Nuclear Blast Records on May 31st.