Released by Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date May 1st, 2020
Genre: Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek – Vocals, Guitars
Marek “Spider” Paj?k – Guitars
Tomasz “Hal” Halicki – Bass
James Stewart – Drums
Shock And Awe
Incineration Of The Gods
And Satan Wept
Dancing In The Slaughterhouse
Stigma Of Divinity
Polish death metal legends Vader has undoubtedly been one of the leading forces in extreme metal worldwide for almost four decades. The Polish quartet, led by Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek was formed in 1983 in Olsztyn. Despite having started as a heavy metal group, they have moved on to the thrash and speed genre, but they have become a death metal band in the late eighties. It would not be until 1992, though, that they have managed to release their amazing debut album “The Ultimate Incantation”. Since then, they have gradually established themselves as one of the most consistent teams in heavy metal music by keeping the quality of their material at the highest standards and without making false steps that could take away their majesty.
Vader is known as the absolute masters of short, razor-sharp shots of lethal intensity and maximum velocity. Despite their loyalty to their old school death metal roots enhanced with thrash elements, they have always managed to create listenable and accessible material through the years. Although they have always given priority to the aggressiveness and rawness of their sound, they usually leave some space for smoother melodies to their compositions.
Vader went through several lineup changes during their career with Peter as the only constant member. The four-piece has had a concrete synthesis in the last nine years and they have just added a new missile to their arsenal titled “Solitude in Madness” via Nuclear Blast Records. The Polish war machine shows that they have no intention to slow down they tend to accelerate with time. Its predecessor, “Empire”, was released three years ago and it seems that it was the last of a series of studio works where Vader have partially abandoned their traditional death metal style in favor of the thrash genre loaded with an intense perfume of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal sound. With “Solitude In Madness”, it seems that the band has opened a new chapter in their long career, which is nothing but the return to their old school death metal roots. They sound more ferocious than ever.
The lead single “Shock And Awe” kickstarts the album with imminent guitar fury and Peter’s famous harsh screams. Despite the song barely surpasses the two minutes border, it shows Vader’s abilities in making exceptional use of every second of it. The devastating drumming, the heavy riffing, and even a short guitar solo fit all together in this high-speed bullet. The breaking neck opener is followed by the darker, shady “Into Oblivion”. The song lacks no intensity despite the sensation of falling into the mist which is given by the haunting atmosphere. The listener is hooked by the impressive blast beats behind the raw growls at the first part, meanwhile, the lead guitar takes over the duty of giving the rhythm at the memorable chorus with a mid-tempo melody behind the rasping vocals. “Despair”, originally featured in the EP “Thy Messenger” of 2019, is a fierce introduction of chaos and agony into the mix. “Incarceration Of The Gods” shows a different approach to brutality and aggression by the band, hence a groove-based instrumental part leads to a speedy fierce chorus with huge hooks and a screaming guitar solo. At this point, the listener has to take a break from the previous cracking bones tunes.
“Sanctification Denied” gives a thrash tone to the album. Here the leading role is played by stirring, but more refined and precise guitar work. The consistency of the percussion is fundamental in giving the pace to this song. “And Satan Wept” brings back the maximum speed and intensity with its thrash style enriched with amazing blast beats. “Emptiness”, another piece previously released in “Thy Messenger” has a classic heavy metal sound, particularly evident with the screaming guitar intro melody and the solo work. “Final Declaration” adopts a grindcore, groove style and it could be another sample of how a band can make the best out of a barely over the two-minute song. It includes moments of excellent drum and guitar solo work.
The final part of “Solitude In Madness” could be defined as a concentration of excellence in two outstanding tracks. “Dancing In The Slaughterhouse” brings brutality and intensity to the next level, meanwhile the classic death metal sound is enhanced by grindcore influences mostly at the verse. The energy never goes down a notch and the amazing guitar sections with the precise percussion, the harsh growls, and the final evil laugh of Peter equally contribute to the creation of this huge track. The dynamics remain the same at the short “Stigma Of Divinity”, where the heavy riffing takes the leading role and fades into a powerful guitar solo. The heavy riffage and the imponent drumming continue at the ending track “Bones” behind Peter’s interpretation of the lyrics. The song starts with a mid-tempo thrashy mood, where the vocal parts become slower and more expressive, following the path of the music. There is a thunderous acceleration at halftime, where the verse becomes a piece of pure death metal assault. There are also amazing guitar parts with powerful solos influenced by the British classic heavy metal sound. The title of the album can be identified among the lyrics of “Bones”. This song could be considered the absolute highlight of the album, a major moshpit anthem.
Vader has fulfilled their fans’ expectations with “Solitude In Madness” by getting close to the excellence of “De Profundis” and the dynamism of “Litany” and going back to their traditional sound. The unstoppable death metal engine runs at full speed: Vader has added a new “atomic bomb” to their weaponry and they maintain a persistent consistency and quality that are rarely seen in groups with such a long career. They are the absolute masters in how it’s possible to include as much music excellence as possible in short timing tracks and make traditional death metal accessible to everyone. The Polish death metal legends have returned to the brutality of their early years with this unstoppable merciless assault of pure adrenaline. Vader is close to completing four decades of activity and being one of the absolute certainties in the music business is not an easy mission to accomplish. The stability of the lineup during the last nine years is also an important factor to consider. In conclusion, Vader sounds more vicious than ever without sacrificing the quality and listenability of their material.
Written by: Katerina Paisoglou
My Global Mind – Staff Writer