Tibi Et Igni
Nuclear Blast Records
02 June 2014
by Rob McAuslan
Tibi Et Igni translates as “for you and for the fire” – this was a postscript attached to confidential Roman documents and meant, basically, “read this and destroy”. That’s pretty cool. What’s not so cool is the ghastly resurfacing of that most hackneyed of metal tropes – the atmospheric, keyboard-led intro. Come on guys, can we please stop doing this? Especially if you don’t have the good grace to keep it as a separate track, you annoying bastards.
That whinge aside, what we get with Tibi Et Igni is another entry into the long line of fine Vader albums. This is, of course, basically a good thing. They’ve long been my personal favourite of the Polish ‘Big Three’ – Decapitated have never quite resonated with me for some reason, and Behemoth only managed to put out an album I’ll actually choose to listen to earlier this year. Vader have quietly gone about the business of putting out multiple releases packed full of just the sort of thrashy, savage death metal that’s guaranteed to get me reconsidering my retirement from moshpits.
Tibi Et Igni is nothing if not mostly aggressive, and it does have a broader melodic streak running through some of the solos, but it’s at its most interesting when Vader slow down a bit. That can’t be right, surely? Part of the point of this type of death metal is that it hammers on your most primal, Slayerised instincts; the idea of removing the core of the assault, the pace and fury, seems, well… a bit off. However Vader are at their best when they’re trying out new things, a truth bared out by this album’s highlights. The final track, ‘The End’, features a vocal during the early parts that rings of Peter Steele, whilst ‘Hexenkessel’ features an irresistible chugging groove and some hyper-speed blasting to go with its orchestral pretensions in the intro. Choral vocals and off-kilter rhythms feature throughout ‘The Eye Of The Abyss’, which also has a wickedly-addictive chromatic riff that pops up here and there as a kind of chorus section. It’s just a shame that the whole thing just isn’t quite as revelatory as its predecessor, and therein lies its biggest problem.
Following their last album was always going to be tough though. Welcome To The Morbid Reich was (quite rightly) hailed as their best work since 2000’s Litany, which definitely puts Tibi Et Igni on a slightly-wobbly footing. Some of what made that 2011 release so great was the signs of progression from their well-worn style – more intricate playing and interesting writing than Vader had become known for over the previous decade, with some truly tricky rhythmic deviations to spice up the arrangements. Compared to it’s predecessor, Tibi Et Igni feels like a bit of a step backwards.
Sounds Like: Old dogs sometimes forget those shiny new tricks too
Standout Tracks: Hexenkessel, The Eye Of The Abyss, Triumph Of Death