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Review: Vader – 'Future of the Past II – Hell In The East’

Released on the same day as their ‘Before The Age Of Chaos live 2015‘ release, ‘Future Of The Past II – Hell In The East’ is a twelve track covers album, in a similar vein to their first covers album, 1996’s ‘Future Of The Past’, but this time predominantly Polish and obscure. It’s also a controversial decision to do a full album of covers when you are an established band, but unlike many who have tried the full covers album, Vader are particularly good at performing other peoples material, as well as their own of course, to the point that in some cases, they sound better than the original version.

This covers extravaganza begins with ‘Ostatni Diakon (The Last Deacon)’ an Exorcist (Poland) cover from 2014‘s ‘Utterances Of Going Forth By Day’. The Vader version is much crisper and clearer, with a polished edge I prefer along with great riffing and shredding, I really like this version.

‘Noc Demona (Night of the Demon)’ is a cover of the now defunct Ghost (Poland), and again Vader have added a sharper edge to an obscure death metal classic. In fairness to Ghost, this was from their third demo released in 1989, so a better quality is now expected. It more than does the original justice.

’Necronomicon’ from 1991’s ‘The Time Before Time’, by Polish Death Metal quartet Imperator,  is the next cover, and stands very true to the original. Nicely done.

Czech death Thrashers ‘Krabathor’, a band still going strong after over thirty years, are the next band to be covered, with their track ’Totální destrukce’ from their 1988, nine track demo ‘Total Destruction’. Here Vader add slightly sharper edges to an underground classic but still keep it suitably rough and brutal .

‘Sen schizofrenika (The Dream Of A Schizophrenic) the title track from the 2010 full length by Heavy/Thrash metallers, Markiz de Sade. This cover is a brave and bold choice, but holds true to the punchy and powerful delivery of the original.

Next up for the ‘Vader’ treatment is ‘The Beginning Of Darkness’ from the 1987 demo ‘Eternal Condemnation ’by Polish Death/Thrash outfit, ‘Merciless Death’. It doesn’t have that dirty squeal of the original that will appeal to purists, but I think this more refined version sounds utterly stunning, particularly with higher quality production.

A slightly different choice is, the short sharp shock, at around the one minute duration, ‘Ostatni Sakrament (Last Sacrament)’ from the 1989 demo by Polish Speed/Black metal quartet Scarecrow. Here, Vader manage to capture the raw, high speed intensity perfectly. The vocals are not quite as harsh, but that’s not really vocalist Piotr’s style, having a deeper, richer vocal range.

The original version of ‘No Return’ by Polish Grindcore outfit ‘Slashing Death’ from their ’Irrevocably And With No Hope’ 1989 demo was a short, sharp, and insane chunk of Grindcore, and Vader do make a reasonable job replicating this superb, muzzy, dirty sound. This is Vader like you have never heard them before.

Certain to be another challenge to cover well is ‘Czas Apokalipsy (Apocalypse Now)’ by Polish Thrashers ‘Slaughter‘, from their 1989 demo ‘Into The Darkness’. The original was a very raw offering, with quite indecipherable vocals, but Piotr has got the vocal delivery spot on. It does have a touch more clarity , probably due to better production, but the intonation is perfect, as is the rest of the track. I really can’t fault this release so far at all

‘Necromaniac’ featured originally on the ‘Out Of Sanity’ demo 1990 by the cult Polish raw Death Metal band Thanatos. The original is superb and still stands up to scrutiny today. Vader’s version is very good, but just a little too clean. On this occasion, I prefer the original.

The original ‘Czarny Anioł (A Black Angel)’ by Polish band Thrasher Death, from 1988 demo ‘Women Die’, was a pretty insane offering, and before listening to the cover I wondered just how Vader would cope with a track quite this mental. They wisely haven’t tried to replicate that level of insanity but have gone for an equally fast but more sensible rendition that works well.

The final offering is’ Wyrocznia (Oracle)’ by Polish heavy/speed black metal band ’Kat ’ from their 1986 full length ‘666’. On this version, Vader win hands down for me, as on the original, vocal delivery just didn’t work for me. Vader has all the raw riffing, but way better vocals.

Personally, I think that ‘Future Of The Past II – Hell In The East’ is a superb collection of reasonably obscure covers, and hopefully, as well as being a superb and often nostalgic listen, it will draw some attention to this collection of obscure, yet superb, bands by the more curious listener. Out on Witching Hour Productions as a CD, cassette, or 12” vinyl.

Review: Jools Green

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