With the exception of Decapitated, the big four of Polish death metal seem to be steadily synthesizing into the same band. Behemoth, Vader, and Hate, are all wound up in the same semi-atmospheric, semi-technical, mid-paced sound. While this means an improvement for Hate –2013's Solarflesh being packed with my favorite riffs of the band's career—and perhaps a return to form for Behemoth on the Satanist, it means an occasionally atmospheric departure for Vader.
Much of the album still bears those surgically angular riffs and that certain sense of cadence that initially made Vader famous. And while "Triumph of Death" reminds us of the once close bonds between thrash and death metal, it's tracks like "Hexenkessel", "The End" and "Eye of the Abyss" that offer the most intriguing forecast of where the band might go next. Flirting with melody is generally a good thing for established death metal bands, of course; it lends character and memorability to an album. It can even give each record a distinct identity. One recalls the facemelting gems that Dismember put out towards the end of their career, especially when faced with some of Spider's more blatantly melodic leads on display here.
Though the band still retains that uncanny ability to craft riffs that are lethal to your braincells, they just might be lighting a few more incense around the studio than they were while recording 2012's Welcome to the Morbid Reich. Admittedly, Tibi et Igni isn't quite the record that Morbid Reich was but bands can't reasonably be expected to top their best record in 12 years right away. Instead, let's hope for a beefy headling tour with the likes of Vital Remains and Bolzer. Now, that'd be something.