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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.