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Vader - Live in Japan

1999 Pavement Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-14

"I'm just not a big fan of live albums...". How many times have you heard people (even yourself) express that very sentiment? More often than not, most likely, and who could blame us? For especially in the realm of extreme metal, there wasn't much to convince us that a soundboard could accurately capture the sound quality, the energy, the overall feeling that one was indeed in the audience that very night the tape was rolling. There were a few, but recently, a whole slew of live albums have come out, some decent, some a bit lacking, but then there's Vader. I think this album finally answers the question of why this Polish band of maniacs is, and will always be, at the forefront of the scene, for whatever the band does, they do it 150%, putting in superhuman effort to make for a memorable performance. A key aspect of Vader's live show is their use of intros, which succeed, even on CD, in temporarily building the dam which holds the mounting anticpiation. The floodgates blown wide by the opening of Sothis, you really have no choice but to be a captive listener. Focusing on the last two full lengths, it's obvious that this band can more than ably reproduce their studio sounds live, in fact, it's yet another arena in which they dominate. The sound here is excellent, everything caught in high detail, and the mix? Well, the drums are pushed up a tad high, but that would be a petty argument for any release, and given that this drummer is Doc, there's even less room too complain. Comparable to the live Rush documents, not much (if anything, really) changes for the live set, but the energy here, and just hearing the tracks reproduced perfectly with just the right amount of the "live" edge, makes this well worth it. No arugument about the set list choices either, as Vader mix the ultra fast Black to the Blind material with the fretboard manics of tracks Blood of Kingu and Crucified Ones. One more note, I also have to hand it to the Japanese audience present that night for providing the perfect forum for Vader to perform their set. Overall, a stellar release. The perfect place to hear some of the best tracks from Vader's back catalogue, and live, no less! This is the one that will bring these guys to the masses.