Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: November 4, 2016
1. Angels of Steel
3. Prayer to the God of War
4. Iron Reign
5. No Gravity
7. The Army-Geddon
8. Feel My Pain
10. Send Me Back to Hell
Vader belongs to one of the most important Polish metal exports. The guys started already in the beginning of the 80’s, conquering the world with their brutal and dynamic interpretation of death metal. Vader is very much Piotr ‘Peter’ Wiwczarek, the main man and constant factor in Vader’s line-up. Wiwczarek had to face many line-up changes over time, something that led to an almost complete renewal in 2010/2011 when guitarist Spider joined followed a few month later by a new rhythm section.
This line-up seems to work very well. The four-piece have been charge for the latest great Vader records with the newest strike waiting in line. “The Empire” is Vader’s next raging step. It’s a long player that shows the band raw, wild and hungry. This record wasn’t recorded to make compromises. The quartet doesn’t linger over soundscapes, epical songs, and unnecessary details. “The Empire” is spot-on and each of the tracks directly hits bull’s eye – each note plays has a meaning.
The entire album gives you a bit more than 30 minutes running time which means that the longest tracks are just scratching a four minutes level. Actually, there is a lot of tunes that are boiled down to its essence, with two minutes of pure death/thrash metal.
What strikes is that Vader plays partly slower. This doesn’t mean that they have a foot on the break. There are still furious leads like in the opener “Angels of Steel” and also the following “Tempest” keeps the pace up high. Things start to become slightly different with “Prayer to the God of War”. Vader adds more thrash elements to their sound which makes the tune to a grooving metal track that reminds of Kreator. The four-piece continues their way to slow down with “Iron Empire” and it’s no surprise that this track is the longest one the album.
Just looking for these four songs shows the width of Vader’s sound on “The Empire”. The rest of the album follows this pattern featuring fast-paced attacks like “Parabellum” up to slow groovers such as the closer “Send Me Back to Hell.
The guys added a lot of variation to their sound which makes the album to a shining highlight in 2016. This long player feels like the most mature one Vader has released so far. Without threatening their own trademarks the quartet shows what’s possible within the framework of thrash-/death- and groove metal. Thumbs up.
Reviewer: Markus Wiedenmann