may be the biggest-selling death-metal band ever to crawl out of Poland and the first behind-the-Iron Curtain band to sign a Western record deal but that's obviously not saying much. Vader does, however, deserve some small recognition, if only for tenacity. From their 1990 demo, Morbid Reich
, through this year's The Art of War
EP, they've pounded out the same late-'80s-vintage Euro death-thrash with a disregard for musical trends and innovation that's striking even among extreme-metal bands. In a genre where burnout, premature violent death and album sales in the low four-figures are the rule, not the exception, Vader's fifteen-year recorded career of solid but second-rate evil adds up to a notable metal achievement.