Sunday, April 26, 2009

Vader - Blood EP

You can always count on Vader to supply a healthy dosage of death metal medicine. Without relying solely on blasting fury, indecipherable vocals or convoluted meandering songs, Piotr and Co have assembled once again to provide fans of death metal with the steaming mounds of flesh they crave. Don't allow me to misguide you however; there is plenty of blasting fury, plenty of brutally demonic vocals and twisting riffery. What Vader do differently than other bands from their homeland of Poland such as Decapitated or Behemoth is that, the song is lord - as it rightly should be.

Vader truly excel in writing strong, memorable songs that find a festering place in your heart and the songs on "Blood" are no exception to the rule. Opening track "Shape-Shifting" is the most adventurous track on the entire EP. Taking some cues from the Swedish style, a clear underlying disease, a swarm of frustrated hornets, moves the song through it's phases; starting like a battery of gunfire then marching through the dead to reap the graves of the enemy. Complete with an atmospheric segment not unlike some of the more recent Bloodbath material, "Shape Shifting" is in itself a mini-documentary into the varying styles that death metal can deliver. Superior track, gritty, aggressive and hauntingly memorable. "We Wait" is a monstrously catchy, monstrously heavy and neck breaking festering showcase of well written death. It relies not on torrents of riffs but instead, allows the one or two monster riffs roll over you and crush every bone in your body. It is a simple construct though works like a charm, a reliable hand tool of sorts that needs only a skilled wielder to awaken. "Son of Fire" is a blistering track composed of nothing but hatred and aggression, fueled by the maniacal drumming of Doc and is unquestionably death metal.

The strength of the songs are aided by classic death metal production - thick guitars, a great bass tone natural, live sounding drum battery and an intense though decipherable vocal deliver. One of the best aspects of this release is the mix. It is professional, sturdy and enables everything to be heard perfectly including the much abused and ignored bass. Within all the frequencies however, there is some muddiness in the lower guitar tones - the "chug" frequencies. The increased bass audibility masks some of these tones however, as a bassist, I don't mind. Musicianship on this release is excellent as any Vader release. Piotr Wiwczarek handles both guitar and vocal duties with ease with fine accompaniment from Maurycy Stafanowicz. Adding to the duo's tightness is Marcin Nowak and Doc Raczkowski on bass and drums respectively. As far as a rhythm section goes, Marcin and Doc have to be one of the finest examples of such in modern death metal.

The album has some let downs however, and is far from killing the gopher. The main riff in "As The Fallen Rise" has an Czervikian annoyance due to the repetitive nature of it. I also felt that both "Traveller" and "When Darkness Calls" were lackluster compared to the strong opening of the album. Even though "Traveller" has some interesting lead work, the song as a whole really never climaxes for me while "Darkness," aside from having the best lead section on the album, both takes a bit long to get started and drags on after it has gotten started. The inclusion of a Thin Lizzy cover is endearing though an odd inclusion. It is a far cry different from anything else on "Blood" and ending a Vader EP with a droning ambient-ish outro just seems weird to me. Strangely, I find the cover less aggressive than the original, less epic and lacking the characteristic Lynott narrative style. As a cover, it's fun to hear a death metal band doing a traditional metal track. Tossed on, it doesn't really detract, but it really doesn't really serve the rest of EP either.

________RELEASE INFO__________
Year: 2003
Origin: POLAND (Olsztyn)
Label: Metal Blade Records
Serial: 3984 - 14461 - 2

Piotr "Peter" Wiwczarek - guitar and vocals
Marcin "Novy" Nowak - bass
Maurycy "Mauser" Stafanowicz - guitar
Krysztof "Doc" Raczkowski - drums

1. Shape Shifting
2. We Wait
3. As The Fallen Rise
4. Son Of Fire
5. Traveller
6. When Darkness Calls
7. Angel of Death (Thin Lizzy)

Vader Official Website

________EXTRA INFO___________


Pressings:Metal Blade Records (2002): 3984 - 14461 - 2
Metal Blade Records (2003):
==> A re-release with the Reign Forever World Album
==> This release is missing "Angel Of Blood"
Metal Mind Poland (2008): MMP088
==> A re-release with the Revelations album

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