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Vader, The Shelter @ Vicar St, Dublin, 16th March 2002

The first visit to these shores by Poland's Vader, the eve of St. Patrick's Day - they played to a packed venue on a Saturday afternoon. Strange to be going to such a concert as this in the middle of the day, as the lead vocalist from supporting act Dew Scented quipped, "How does it feel to be getting up early in the morning for death metal? I don't know about you but I felt like fucking shit!" Indeed.

I got there only to hear the last song by Centurian, and, to be perfectly honest, know very little of them to make an opinion either way. However, what I will say is that of what I heard wasn't bad, and they were apparently going down a bomb with the Dublin crowd.

This was the first visit too by Germany's Dew-Scented, and I must say they certainly gave Vader a run for their money. Coming across as the youngest, angriest brother of Entombed and The Haunted, they almost stole the show. Fast, precision-tight tracks ripped from the speakers, the crowd went nuts and Dew Scented made a lot of friends that afternoon. With new album "Inwards" just out and a guest appearance with Destruction, Kreator and Sodom as part of the "Hell Comes To Your Town" Tour, things are looking bright for these young German Deathsters.

But it was Vader that the Dublin crowd was here to see, and man they did not disappoint. Greeted like conquering heroes they took to the stage and let rip, blasting out the tightest, incredulous, sharpest death metal it's been my pleasure to see. Playing choice cuts from their impressive back catalogue, from earlier albums like "The Ultimate Incantation" through to "Sothis" and last year's excellent "Reign World Forever" (reviewed recently), there were a lot of happy faces at the end of their set (apart from the poor fool who got battered after accidentally knocking over some guy's beer whilst slam-dancing - ouch). They even played a new track for their forthcoming album "Revelations", a taster of greater things to come.

With the news that Vader are set to return to Dublin in August/September with fellow countrymen Decapitated and Krisium, I urge you to catch perhaps the greatest death metal band around at the moment, and yes, that does include all your Morbids and your Cannibals too.

Ken Blackmore.

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