Vader Blood / Reign Forever World

Possibly the only Polish metal band still active after nearly 20 years, Vader are to Europe as Cannibal Corpse and Deicide are to America. To tide over fans until the group’s next album in the spring, Metal Blade has compiled two import-only EPs, last year’s Blood and 2001’s Reign Forever World, added two bonus tracks from the Japanese version of Vader’s 2000 full-length Litany, and subtracted two live tracks along with a cover of Thin Lizzy’s (not Slayer’s) "Angel Of Death.” The two newest tracks, "Shape-Shifting” and "We Wait,” are most blistering: the former resembles a classic Slayer bruiser as front-man Peter and guitarist Mauser trade licks like Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King, while the latter is mid-paced like Obituary or Bolt Thrower. Other noteworthy tracks include an even faster version of Destruction’s "Total Desaster”; a growl-y reading of "Rapid Fire” that sounds more like Motörhead than Judas Priest’s original; and a colourful cover of Mayhem’s "Freezing Moon.” The short instrumental "Red Dunes” comes off sounding like Queen, but the rest of the cuts — "As The Fallen Rise,” "Traveler” and the Morbid Angel-like "Reign Forever World” — contain more blast beats and guitar grindings to more than satisfy your metal mojo. Leading the European death metal denizens, Vader continue to set the standard for extreme music on the other side of the pond. (Metal Blade)