Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Death Metal World Cup Semi Finals: Vader vs Behemoth

Tibi Et Igni
The Satanist

Did you know that Behemoth frontman Nergal has cited Vader’s De Profundis as one of his biggest influences? Or that Vader mainman Piotr Wiwczarek actually went by the pseudonym “Behemoth” early in his career?

So it’s safe to assume that the impression Vader left on a young(er) Nergal was a sizable one, and not without reason: Vader were a death metal band from Poland long before “Polish death metal” became its own descriptor. And yet, listening to The Satanist, that influence isn’t immediately obvious. Behemoth is a band that draws from a deep well of influences, from technical death metal to atmospheric black metal; even elements of goth and industrial pop up. Yet all these things are assimilated and incorporated without the slavish devotion that most death metal bands treat their influences.

Which isn’t to take anything away from Vader, whose own stylistic debts to Slayer and Morbid Angel are obvious but who have made that sound their own - to the point where any other band working in the same death/thrash space will inevitably get compared to Vader (find early reviews of Krisiun in Terrorizer to see what I mean). To that end, they’ve been delivering the same album with minor tweaks since the aforementioned De Profundis - hell, if it worked the first nine times, why change it up now?

THE MATCH UP: Vader is near and dear to my heart, being one of the bands that ushered in death metal’s late Nineties rebirth (and served as my window to same); but The Satanist is a landmark release for both its creators and the genre. Tibi Et Igni has all the comforts of a new Vader album, but it never transcends being that and that alone. Like a long-running horror franchise, the last few Vader releases have been of worth primarily to die hard fans, but everyone else can skip them without missing anything vital.


NEXT MATCH: It’s the final post of the series, as I try to figure out whether Behemoth or Origin did the most damage to my ears, thus deciding the winner of DoC’s’ Death Metal World Cup.