Vader – Thy Messenger

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Nuclear Blast Records
Released: 2019
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Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek – Vocals & Guitar,
Marek “Spider” Pająk – Guitar,
Tomasz “Hal” Halicki – Bass,
James Stewart – Drums.


1. Grand Deceiver
2. Litany
3. Emptiness
4. Despair
5. Steeler


What more can be said about the Polish masters of death/thrash, VADER? They’re nearing forty years as a band, and have seen their fair share of praise and criticism (though, let’s face it, it’s mainly the former). So a customary lengthy intro would just be a mere droplet in an ocean, so let’s not bother. Please disregard the above as an enormous waste of your time.

Is “Thy Messenger” any good? Yes. Another Independent Voice classic review there. Thank you for reading and see you next month.

Okay, so the levels of professionalism here are vastly superior to snarky one-liners (shut-up, yes they are!), so “Thy Messenger” will receive due course. It’s testament to a band as seasoned as VADER that, for all the scourges of modernity in extreme music, they stick to task and blow your bloody head off in doing so. There is, as always, an inherent risk with being a veteran and peddling the same wares that have been before, but execution matters an awful lot in these parts. And if it’s execution you’re after, then the man in the morgue’s going to be earning his crust today.

It’s a quick one, too. “Thy Messenger” clocks in at under fifteen-minutes, so blinking is expressly forbidden. What blasts past in a flurry of frightful fury is a balanced and well-mixed barrage of death metal, with just the right dose of thrash to get the denim-clads testing it up. Opener “Grand Deceiver” is about as honest as they come, igniting in unrelenting fury from the off and never letting up with flaying riffs until all that remains is a burnt husk. “Emptiness” showcases the band at their thrashiest, with some truly 80s-style leads that hark back to the leather-spandex era (mercifully without the vocal wails), whilst the band’s cover of JUDAS PRIEST’s classic “Steeler” takes on a delightful new life. Halford himself would be proud.

This EP demonstrates what an awful lot of other bands lack when constructing a body of work. Yeah, songwriting chops are a veritable boon when writing this sort of music (and something very sorely lacking at times), but the big one is brevity. VADER keep things right where they need to be – there is no room for songs to wander, and no time to allow the material’s vicious assault to lose its impact. Less “death by a thousand knives”, and more of a swift, brutal execution.

These sorts of EPs can often feel like a stop-gap or reminder to folk of the band’s abilities, but thankfully, “Thy Messenger” is neither. Rather, this EP comes across as a band just having some fun and exercising their creative muscle. The JUDAS PRIEST cover sees to the former, whilst the others see to the rest, and it’s something quite wonderful to hear. It subsequently delivers its intended point dutifully and brutally, with that message being “death” (and “headbang”).