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Nothing says war like a black flag toting metallic automaton, armed to the teeth, commanding his legions forward, and that is precisely the image that Vader conveys with their 2005 slaughter of an EP "The Art Of War". Far from being a collection of sing along anthems talking about the glory of war as the Sabaton album by the same name did, this is brutal, nasty, violence crazed death metal that gives the audience a bird's eye view of the carnage that is war's reality. There's no pleasant melodies to sugar coat the reality that the soldiers face, just good old fashioned thrash infused riffs played at about the same level of intensity as recent Behemoth offerings. An auditory treat for the blood thirsty, some might say, even if the blood spilled is the black oil of a human-like android.
Perhaps the greatest charm of this album is its brevity, as nothing on here ventures beyond the 4 minute mark and all of it features a distilled verison of metallic rage that leaves little room for a break. There are two brief ambient keyboard instrumentals that instill a sense of sorrow in the listener before the impending bludgeoning that is to follow, further amplifying the sense of reality regarding war that this album seeks to convey. "This Is The War" proves to be a fitting intro to the horrors that are to insue, kicking off with a monstrous military march feel and a heavy as an anvil thrashing groove that hits like a ton of bricks. This is immediately followed by a deluge of blasting fury and sepulchral barks that is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Through out this rather brief excursion into the horrors of the battlefield, there is a line between technical mastery and simplistic catchiness to the music that is walked all but perfectly. The guitar solo material, which features Mauser at his absolute best, definitely takes heavy hints from early Morbid Angel and Deicide, and flutters along like a pestilence of maddened locusts. By contrast, the rest of the arrangement is fairly formulaic and only occasionally resorts to the sort of frenzied tremolo riffing and frequent changeups normally heard in contemporary Cryptopsy and Dying Fetus, though the guitar sound and presentation of the traditional riffing style of the early 90s heard on here is about as vicious and mechanized as both bands at several key points.
This is definitely a key pickup for anyone looking for an introduction to this band's latter days, and also has clear crossover appeal to those who generally go for a more brutal and simplistic sound that goes with much of the present death metal scene. It's a bit further removed from the band's traditionally oriented thrash sound from the 90s, but it holds on to a strong remnant of it and is a good indicator of where the band still is as of today. If nothing else it proves that when all things are equal, it's best to stick with what works, and in this band's case the formula is a powerful mixture of formulaic structure and pummeling aggression. Wage war in good health.
Like a previous reviewer stated, this EP is the perfect example of quality, not quantity. That statement couldn't be any more true. Within the 20 minutes or so, there's brutality. Brutality which only lets up once on the ambient track, "Banners in the Wind". The awesome intro track, "Para Bellum" (this and the previously mentioned song are by Siegmar, of the Polish metal band, Vesania) perfectly leads into the catchy opening riff to "This is the War" and that sets the mood for the whole EP.
One thing that really stands out on this album is the drumming. I mean, HOLY SHIT. Daray is a beast. From the triplet rhythm on "This Is The War" to the machine gun-like blasts of the closing track "Death In Silence", everything is so tight, precise, and fast. This is by far some of the best blasting I have ever heard.
Well, on a small album like this, it is hard to pick standouts without picking 80% of the album. Although, I will discuss one song as a standout because, it is so different than all of the other songs. "What Colour is Your Blood?" has a sweet, thrashy riff and an incredibly catchy chorus.
All in all, this EP is many things. An awesome metal album, a great gateway death metal album, an embodiment of futuristic warfare, a shining example of quality not quantity. There are absolutely no filler tracks, every (actual) song is a death metal masterpiece. Now, one might argue that there are 2 filler tracks ("Para Bellum", "Banners in the Wind") but, they really aren't. It really adds to the album as a whole. I would not listen to these songs individually, but, as an album, they lead into the songs quite well. The pioneers of the genre, the band that helped put Poland on the map reign supreme again in this true work of ART (pun intended).
Although heavier than what I normally listen to, Vader is a band I’m really starting to like. It’s begun with the album The Beast, but this is what really got me interested. Just a short EP, 6 songs, less than 15 minutes - and it’s what could be a definition of “quality, not quantity”. There are no significant weaknesses; at least I cannot name any. It’s not normal for me either that I can listen to something over and over again. But this EP is totally damn insane.
It will certainly do no harm to say something about each track here. We start with "Para Bellum" – a short, atmospheric intro which is a very good beginning. It passes nicely into “This Is the War”, which instantly shows how powerful and fast this EP is. Great beginning with drums, very fast changes, excellent riffs, great vocals and very nice solo in the middle – you can really feel the battle, it’s just blazing fast and damn heavy, full of chaos, but with some order in it. Also, the chorus is one of the most addictive and powerful I’ve ever heard. However, after this one, we pass into my personal favourite. After a slightly slower beginning, it leaves no doubts that it’s going to be even more powerful than the previous one. And it is - absolutely flawless, full of killer riffs (the opening and the chorus one is among my favourites), great drumming and a totally insane solo near the end, not to mention that it makes you feel like shouting “LEAD US!!!” with every single listen.
After it, we get a very short (50 seconds) break, thanks to the interlude called “Banners in the Wind”, which works just as well as the intro. However, we won’t have much peace, because the next one is “What Colour Is Your Blood?”. It’s just as fast and heavy like the previous tracks, but in a different way. Less quick changes, it’s driven by one main riff most of the time, the “you won’t stop headbanging” kind. Of course, there is a solo in the middle (short and great like all the others), after which it passes into a slower part. Not for long though, because then the main riff returns with just as much force as in the beginning, and soon ends. A pity, but there’s still the last song on the EP – “Death in Silence”. However, Vader made sure it’s not a danger for us, as it’s the shortest (not counting the intro and interlude) track on the EP, but also the fastest and just relentless. It’s slightly more melodic than the rest, but equally heavy, again with a lot of great riffs and again constantly changing. The lyrics are pretty ironic at the end, when Peter growls through an insane riff “the silence is killing me!”, and finally – we reach the end. In my case, it’s usually pressing “play” again…
From the above description, you might have a feeling that it’s all heavy and fast, but all four songs are similar. No way. It’s insanely powerful and all four are based on a similar structure, but they don’t get boring even for a second and they’re not the same in any way. This EP is full of great riffs, dynamic changes, very good drumming and excellent solos. It’s just four tracks, with the intro and the interlude making it more than just a bunch of songs put together – they give it a kind of atmosphere. It’s certainly worth listening to if you want something heavy, it never gets boring and has a lot of memorable parts. Now I’m going to check the other albums – The Art of War has certainly convinced me I won’t be disappointed.
I am actually very disappointed this is only an EP consisting of just four complete songs, because this EP is absolutely incredible. This is yet again another release of Vader produced late into their career, yet still manages to stand out as their best material. For the most part Peter is the brain behind the band, so it is hard to tell if the new and better sound is because of the many different line up changes. Still this album reflects much more creativity, more speed, and more mature solos and vocals than before.
The first two tracks, which are connected, will send a chill down your spine and you will find yourself going back to listen to it over and over again. We start off with a very symphonic intro that is unusual for Vader, and the keyboards have a very clean, epic sound. Soon the drums come in with a war chant and at soon enough the guitars come in (which is now the second track). It is a very loud and heavy sound, and the recording for one thing is excellent. The song builds up flowing smoothly into each riff. Once the keyboards leave and the main section of the song enters, the classic Daray blast beats come in. You are going to soil your leans once you hear how fast this drumming is. The vocals are cool, the solos are blaring and clever, and the transitions are well thought out.
The third track is very catchy and a little simpler than This is the War. The blast beats combined with the low and syncopated guitar sounds really cool. It is interesting because the guitar is playing a slightly slow rhythm while the drums are rocketing away. The solo is quick but cool, and there is an interesting breakdown at around two minutes. Then a classic Vader move, MORE SOLOING. The solos combine pentatonics with dissonant chords and speedy melodies, which sounds very diverse and interesting.
The fourth track is just an eerie soundscape, interesting but not much to talk about.
What Color is Your Blood is a very heavy and classic Vader sounding track. It sounds different from the rest of the EP, but none the less is awesome. The vocals are more bouncy, and I can see this being a very popular song to be played live, as it would most likely get the crowds blood flowing (not that any Vader song usually doesn’t). The solo is a little smoother unlike the random and speedy solos elsewhere on the album. After the solo there is another cool breakdown which leads back into the main theme. This is a very cool song; I suggest you listen to it even if you don’t want to buy the album.
The last track is just pounding and heavy, but a little short and leads out quickly. It has some cool riffs and intense drumming. There is some interesting use of the whammy bar at some points, and this is most likely the fastest song at some points on the EP.
So I definitely recommend this EP, it probably won’t cost you much and is worth adding to your music collection. There is such a fast and intense feel to it and the production and sound is beautiful and well produced. It is a very good preceding album to Impressions in Blood, as it shows the new Vader sound and style, and proves the ability of Vader to sound awesome after so long.
The EP is a strange thing. For some bands, they merely involve putting a radio edit, a couple of covers, and some old tracks from a different album onto one disc and flogging it for a fiver. For Vader however, the EP is a work in itself, a self-contained, all-new piece of music. The Art of War shows as much respect to the fan as the fan shows when they shell out their hard-earned cash for something that isn't even a full-length record.
The EP is less than eighteen minutes long, and includes two short instrumentals. These tracks are something slightly new for Vader, ambient synth-orchestral pieces that create atmosphere and a buildup to the following songs. The band would later expand on this with the integration of keyboard intros into the following album Impressions In Blood.
The remaining tracks are straightforward death metal powerhouses, with Piotr's now famous roars characterizing the neo-crusader themes of the lyrics. While Vader have often used an EP as a taster for a forthcoming album, The Art of War has none of the meandering or chugging present on Impressions In Blood, meaning the EP and the album accompany one another nicely as two sides of the same band.
Highlights here include the explosive This Is The War and the almost blackened, dramatic closer Die, featuring a memorable drum performance from new drummer Daray. The artwork deserves a mention too, a cartoon robotic sentinel bearing a flag; a strong image for a solid piece of death metal. The EP is as good a place to start as any with Vader after you've heard XXV this year, and for long-term fans it is a guaranteed treat.
This is just incredible. Incredible but weird. A little EP containing some of the best tunes Vader has ever produced; and it's in their latter years, an era which is considered a disappointing era by several people. The whole EP however is put together like a real album, only short. There are two interlude tracks in it. The first track which is the mood-setter of the album and connects nicely with This is the War. The other track is Para Bellum, which serves as an atmospheric interlude only. Other than those tracks, Vader is at their most heavy on this EP.
Daray is a drummer almost as vicious as the great Doc. The drum parts are fast as fuck, and although it gets quite pompous at times, it really fits into the Hate Eternal gone thrash music. On What Colour is your Blood he also delivers a great groove metal drum beat. Though mostly what he does are punk beats, blast beats and all of those sorts. It's what fits best with the guitar riffs. Death/thrash crunchy distorted guitars like Slayer, only heavier. The great production sure helps to get the thick sound The Art of War has, but the guitar riffs are the highlight of the album. Although Vader portrays a single statement with this album, the riffs are highly varied. As I said earlier, What Colour is your Blood is very groove orientated (though it's not the boring American groove/metalcore crap, more the later era of Sodom groove). This is the War is the new death metal anthem with his incredible infectious chorus. Lead Us!!!, Die (gin psie) and Death in Silence are more of the standard Vader tracks; full of guitar riffs above the 240 BPM.
The reason why this EP feels more like an album than The Beast does is because of it's consistency. The interludes already give a more concept-like feel to the album. The tracks itself flow nice into each other. It all sounds similar, while not being repetive. It's just the material a death/thrash classic needs, and it's all present in this little EP. Some more material would be nice though. I'm still wondering why Vader would release some of it's best material on a EP, although the rambling group spirit at that moment would explain a lot.
At this time I'm still hoping to see a happy return of Vader as a group, and not Peter and some session musicians. What Colour is your Blood, This is the War and Death in Silence proof that newer Vader is just as good, if not better, than older Vader. De Profundis, Black to the Blind and Litany were awesome records, but The Art of War proves that the modern take on death metal is just as good.
Vader are one of the most solid and revered death metal bands to have ever graced the scene, going now 25 years into the foray of death metal becoming one of the biggest titans. Everyone knows how awesome Vader's musicians are, (RIP Doc, even though you didn't perform here) Daray took over drum duties and despite having to fill the massive legacy, he did so playing top notch, Piotr playing excellent guitar riffs and ripping his vocal chords establishing himself as one of the best death metal vocalists, and Mauser shredding this bitch up with wicked solos. All to create an outstanding death metal EP, yes a fucking EP, and probably one the best EP out there as well as probably the best Vader has ever done.
Songs on here are just pure all out blasting death metal with highly memorable songs, as well as the opener song instrumental Para Bellum and the interlude type song aiding to create the otherworldy atmosphere of a battlefield with it's symphonic mechanical sound almost. The whole sound of The Art of War is a very devilish, mechanized and furious combination, probably as someone mentioned previously brought on by the non stop barrage of double bass overall performance of Daray on drums. That mixed with the guitar tone being very 'buzzsaw-ish' compliment each other to a furious mix of something like a mechanized battleground. The production here as well is very tight and polished, having a great mix with the perfect amount of keeping in a slick guitar tone being just razor sharp and punishing drums as well as the vocals being another highlight. The biggest letdown is probably the lack of bass but in the end it isn't much of a negative.
This Is The War, Lead Us!!!, Death In Silence are all awesome death metal songs in standard Litany-era Vader sound, pure all out assault on the ears, from the hyper fast solos in This Is The War and Lead Us!!! to the ultra fast blast beats on Death In Silence it all works. The riffs in the first two are very mighty as well, I find it impossible not to headbang to pretty much any of the actual songs on here. But, those are all trumped by the monster of a track, What Colour Is Your Blood? Now my favorite Vader song, this features one helluva main riff that is completely headbang-worthy and just plain awesome, as well as having an awesome chorus, I swear it's impossible to not sing along with Piotr here. As for singing along, This Is The War is just as hard to not sing along with, yelling about fighting along in the war against God and whatnot... 'THIS IS THE WAR, THAT YOU WERE ASKING FOR!'. Just fucking awesome.
Vader have done something amazing, AND IT'S JUST AN EP! So I recommend checking this out if you want awesome fucking death metal. It's got a great production, absolutely top-notch musicianship, highly memorable songs as well as a fun mechanized/futuristic atmosphere. I can't imagine how death metal fanatics can't like this it's so damn catchy. Polish death metal at it's best!
It seems like most peope dig Vader's EP "The Art of War", and I can see why - there are plenty of riffs, it is fast, brutal, violent and relentless. Just like death metal should be done, right? Sure. My only beef with this EP is that, to these ears, everything is so damn generic and the riffs are so non-descript that the songs are hard to differentiate from each other. I don't know if this is typical of Vader in general, because this is my only Vader purchase, and frankly I plan to keep it that way.
Sure, its not all bad. 'What Colour Is Your Blood' has a few stellar riffs thrown in there, but of course they go by so fast that before you realise that a decent riff had just hit you, the band has already launched into a sub-par, standard death metal riff. The very first track is a nice, melodic little orchestrl ditty with a suiting millitary-esque atmosphere, but that all ends quickly with 'This Is War' which just sucks.
The main problem with Vader is the tone of it all. I HATE the guitar tone - it sounds too much like a buzzsaw. It has no crunch and no feeling to it - no atmosphere. Vader really don't try with their riffs here - they just kind of alternate the note patterns on the first five frets of the first two strings and play the alternations as fast as they fucking can. Yeah, the drum work is pretty stellar - fast as fuck without a break, but the drums sound far to "click-y" is the fact that the constant double bass work and blastbeats NEVER end, not even for a thrash-like interlude like so many death metal bands do, just gets fucking irritating. And the bass is inaudbile. Which is probably a good thing.
There are no standout tracks here, because they all sound the same - and there are no especially bad songs as well, because, one again - all the songs sound the same. This is just a foray into the sub-par. Apparently I must be missing something, because this is a highly praised piece of work. But I think it blows, with a very few, very brief moments of cool riffage.
Vader seems to have stepped it up a little forom their last album with two key elements: Speed and production! "The Beast" was great, but not even close to the same speed as this release and the production on it? Eh, your typical Thrash production/mix job. "The Art Of War" is super loud and clean sounding which I like.
The first song "Para Bellum" is a perfect intro song to the EP. It has a nice string/orchestra arragement and it gave me the feeling of an army marching to battle through an old rainy town. All of a sudden the snare drum just busts into a march like beat and before you know it the next track has already started; that track being "This Is The War". This song has to be one of the fastest songs I have ever heard! I can't think of a song that has a faster blast beat going. I had heard all of Daray's work in Vesania, but his stuff on there wasn't this fast at all! The next song "Lead Us!!!" is a great super fast song as well and a standout feature in it is it's 2 guitar solo's. "What Colour Is Your Blood" is a great song, but it is a littler slower paced more straight forward thrash then the rest of the cd, but thats good, it shows that they dont stick to making all their songs with the same formula. "Death In Silence" is another insanly fast song with great Thrash riffing, but as soon as it starts it seems like it's over because this song clocks in at a mere 2:10. It's a good way to end the album though. Vader seems to know what they are doing though becayse it makes you want more!
The only downside I see this is "Banner's In The Wind". It sounds like an exact rip off of the song "Lumen Clamosum" from their Polish mates Vesania... Daray is in both bands too! Either Vader did'nt care that they have a song that are exactly the same or they were hoping no one would notice, I don't know. Besides this little oddity, this album is flawless!
First off, I want to say that this is some of the best shit I’ve heard from Vader, and that is saying A LOT because I love everything I’ve heard from them. With the release of this EP, Vader shows that still know what it is to write good fucking death metal, with their own little twist.
The EP opens up with “Para Bellum”, which is very nice and atmospheric keyboard piece with a very war-like and sad feeling to it. It eventually builds up to “This Is The War”, which starts of with a war-march like snare drum part and then the whole band explodes in full force. The main thing I want to point out is Daray’s drumming. His drumming is so fucking fast it’s ridiculous. This guy is definitely a worthy replacement of Doc (RIP). This is probably my favorite track off the CD. Total fucking chaos! Next up is “Lead Us!!!” which is completely written by Mauser. I expected some differences in the song writing since it wasn’t Peter writing the song, but it follows the same vein as all the other Vader songs, but I definitely think Mauser should write more material for Vader in the future. I love the part around 1:53. This part makes you want to headbang until your head flies off! It fucking rules! “Banners In The Wind” is another song like “Para Bellum”, very beautiful and war-like once again. The last two tracks, “What Colour Is Your Blood?” and “Death In Silence” are also very good tracks. Both are heavy and fast as fuck.
This is quality fucking Vader right here, this definitely has my vote as one of the best releases of the year. If the next Vader album is like this, holy fucking shit…
Vader have always been one of the most reliable forces in Death Metal. However, their last opus "The Beast" lacked their usual edge and had way too many melodic intensions. Considering how this new EP sounds, they are surely trying to redeem themselves.
After the short intro "Para Bellum" they rip straight into "This Is The War", a song reminding me very much of the stronger tracks on "Litany". This is exactly how I want this band to sound, as they're going for maximum speed and crunch. They might be going right back to their prime with this EP, because this is fucking good.
"Lead Us" continue in the same vein, but with somewhat more slow parts. It sounds like they've listened a bit to their polish buddies in Lost Soul, and that's definitely not a bad thing. It works very well, and slaughters everything on their last album thoroughly.
One thing that must be said is that drummer Daray does a far better job this time around. He plays more inventive and more intricate, allowing the riffs to be strenghtened instead of just following patterns as on "The Beast". He's clearly proven that he's a worthy replacinement of Doc if he keeps playing like this.
There's also one more short interlude and two more full tracks on this EP, and Vader continues to deliver on those songs. "What Colour Is Your Blood?" sounds like a more brutal version of "Revelations" and it fucking owns. It's really catchy without losing any intensity whatsoever. The last song is one more piece of classic Vader. Fast, furious and to the point.
I must say I'm very happy with this EP. Vader seem to be going back to the "Litany" days. I'm definitely looking forward to the next album from these guys, as well as seeing them live once again.
This CD rules!!
Now that we have that out of the way, I'm going to review it. starting off this wondrous, orgasmic feast for the ears is "Para Bellum", a little "symphonic" intro full of drama to give it that "war" feeling. 10/10
It immediately continues on to track number 2, "This Is The War". it starts off where Para Bellum left off and continues the "war march". picking up into the classic Vader drumming and insane guitar riffing. Halfway through the song it has a little guitar solo. 10/10.
Track number 3, "Lead Us!!!" That's right, lead us indeed Vader as you continue to shred your way through the compition. It starts off with mid-tempo drumming with an awesome beat, then immediatly kicks off with unbelievable drumming and insane riffing. At about 1:23 in the song it has a wicked guitar solo as you would expect from Vader, then at 1:47 it achieves great riffing that leaves my ears in a state of euphoria. 10/10
Track number 4, "Banners On The Wind" is another instrumental, intro song that gives even more "warlike" environment to the CD. 10/10
Track number 5, "What Colour Is Your Blood?" Is my personal favorite on the album, as it picks off where #4 left off and leaves you wanting more from Vader. some memorable guitar riffs and technical drumming. the chorus at the end makes me sing along with Piotr 'Peter' Wiwczarek, with him singing "What Color is your blood!?". 10/10
Track number 6, "Death In Silence" is the final song on the album, and leaves you beaten into submission from Vader with it's insane and incredible trademark Vader drumming. 10/10
This album has everything you could want, the sound is incredible and crisp, every single note is played perfectly and you can clearly hear it when listening to it. the only bad thing about this EP is the end, at only 14 minutes and 31 seconds you will be begging for more. I am looking forward to their next album. On a side note, I downloaded this album early so I didn't get the video clip, but because I enjoyed it so much I will buy it to support them and hope they continue to make more great music.