Death Metal Double Review: Vader & Centinex
Upcoming full-lengths from two death metal stalwarts.
Vader – Solitude In Madness
With closer to 40 years of death/thrashing madness (seriously, what the hell?) below their belt, the Piotr Wiwczarek-led Vader shows no signs of slowing. Quite the contrary actually. Solitude In Madness continues where Thy Messenger left off, containing less of the thrash influence re-unveiled on The Empire and the Dark Age re-recordings. Instead, it’s just under half an hour of Vader’s trademark tremolo-n-groove ridden straight to the point death metal, even the longest song falling under four minutes.
With Vader, you know what you’re getting into, and often you feel like you’ve already been there whenever a new album drops, but they always find a way to make it work. Solitude In Madness doesn’t waste time easing in; the opening trio of songs taking roughly six minutes to rough it up with a constant barrage of riffs, ensuring that despite their similarity with each other and Vader’s prior work, things are changed up so often there’s little chance of ossification to settle in. By the time “Incineration of the Gods,” one of the record’s more thrash-inflicted cuts, comes around, Solitude In Madness is already vowed in.
The mid-album explores the band’s thrashier side to greater extent, especially “And Satan Wept’s” intensity and the old-school riffs of “Emptiness,” re-recorded from Thy Messenger, hitting hard, but it’s the last few tracks that leave the biggest mark. The raucous fun of “Dancing in the Slaughterhouse,” the blasting madness of the sub two-minute “Stigma of Divinity” and “Bones,” a return to the grooving mid-tempo death metal that once filled their records to a much greater extent.
As stated above, Solitude In Madness makes absolutely no effort to gain new fans or take Vader upon an untrod path. It’s Vader being Vader, doing what they do best, what they want to do and what they have, and will, always do. It’s not an essential album in the Polish death metal giant’s discography, but it is a good one, and sure to please any prior fan.
3,5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
Centinex – Death In Pieces
Centinex was found in Sweden’s Hedemora in 1990, but despite their sixteen-year existence, they don’t seem to have made themselves a name as a cult band like so many others from that period and place in time. Or perhaps that’s precisely why they haven’t become revered as such. Existing too long in the shadows of the titans and reforming in 2014 before their grave had been robbed and exhumed, they’ve been treated rather as a newcomer band, in retro-style, and not a returning originator.
Whatever the case, it seemed that 2016’s Doomsday Rituals pushed them enough to the forefront that the break into the bigger circles seemed inevitable- only a matter of time, as they say. But not the only matter of time, as it would soon turn out. Vocalist Alexander Högboom exited the band in 2018, and Centinex was forced into a lengthy hibernation, as soon guitarist Sverker Widgren and several drummers would follow suit, leaving bassist Martin Schulman as the lone original member and to assemble an all-new lineup.
Death In Pieces may be the first fruit of the renewed band, but it makes little difference to the music. Simple, riff-heavy, Stockholm-styled death metal is the name of the game, and opening cut “Only Death Remains” makes a fairly good argument for the band – riffs guaranteed to cause some headbanging action for verses, hanging chords for choruses and Henka Andersson’s more vomitous, forceful vocals than his predecessor’s inhabit the center stage, and the entire rest of the first half follows suit, only alternating between faster cuts and mid-paced stompers.
Unfortunately, while all of it is certainly very competent and well done death metal that’ll surely make for a great gig, it’s also almost completely devoid of personality of any kind. It’s not just the usual kind of unmemorable where you’ll have a terrific time with the record, but struggle to recall anything afterwards: it’s that I can’t remember a single riff from a song as soon as it ends. I know I enjoyed “God Ends Here,” but as soon as its last note has rung and the groovier “Tomb of The Dead” begins, all I could tell you about it is that it’s faster.
The only even vaguely memorable songs are “Pieces” and “Sacrifice.” The former begins with the albums best, stomping, mid-tempo riff; features one of the only audible moments of bass; and begins to incorporate a little melody to it’s mix closer to two minutes in. It wets the mouth with anticipation, clearly a build-up for a longer track, the album’s centerpiece. But then it just sort of ends, and there’s nothing to it but the two-minute buildup, and as soon as something interesting is supposed to happen another run-of-the-mill track begins instead.
“Sacrifice,” on the other hand is a dragging, one-riff track, and one of the longest on the record. It’s vividly reminiscent of (earlier) Six Feet Under at their least clunkiest, and as you can probably already tell, neither of the tracks registers as a positive. Centinex’s workman-like death metal is competent on all fronts, but unfortunately that competence only translates into mediocrity and tiresome songwriting.
2/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell