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Brutal yet delicate; Vader with a couple of tricks - 78%

Lane, April 1st, 2018
Written based on this version: 2006, CD, Regain Records

The seventh Vader album 'Impressions in Blood' was released almost a year ago. I forgot it pretty fast, because I thought there's not much new on offer. This week I thought I need some energetic blast and spotted this in my collection. Vader is one of those bands for me which I praise a lot and haven't had balls to write anything about. But fuck that, this is just my opinion I think I should make public...

Where 'Impressions...' is a capable death metal album, it also is something that I didn't expect from Vader after fantastic MCD 'The Art of War' (2005). The band are in fine form but the songs are just too familiar, being mainly non-surprising compositions for any Vader disciple. Many of the songs are filled with Vader trademarks which are energetic, magnificent performances on every level, shredding solos and pounding drums, plus generally unrelenting aggression. But as mentioned before, they are just too familiar! There are bit that even hark back to the debut album ('The Ultimate Incantation' from 1992) times. This time majority of the music is faster than anything since 'Litany' (2000), but surely the band know when and how to slow down a bit and give a breather for a listener. The guys know how to make songs. Orchestrated intros bring the name of Dimmu Borgir into my mind, but thankfully the metal music doesn't. They feel detached here for being like a horror TV series soundtrack, as doesn't the tribal beats at the end of 'Field of Heads'. New ideas do not always work perfectly.

For me there's only five really good songs: 'ShadowFear' with its finely honed compositional filaments giving it variety; 'As Heavens Collide...' and 'Warlords' (reminding me about the magnificence of the title track of 'The Art of War') with their pounding speed which work better than on other similar pieces; 'Predator' with slower and simplistic yet very much effective shredding guitars and blazing double kick drums; the atmospheric and heavy closer 'The Book' wrapping up the album. Otherwise it's just good or okay, at least when measured against Vader's releases.

I have to mention the voice of Peter. He grunts his hateful and at times very delicate lyrics (some aimed towards religions, some circling around the theme of blood) with passion and the words are easily understood, as he mostly utilized his low, unique snarl. One of the best voices in death metal, in my opinion. This is the second full length album with new drummer Daray (also in Vesania). This guy is on fire here, and shows that there still can be inventive drum work in death metal today. Absolutely pounding, and again, very delicate; blast beats, speedy D-beats, loads of double kick drum driven stomping. Two thumbs up, without a doubt. And heavy bass of Novy is backing up with the drums finely. The guitars are shredding and nailing, they'll rip you a second arsehole in no time! Insane tremolo picking, warped yet comprehensible solos and hard-hitting riffage are the thing that Mauser and Peter offer. Sound-wise this is into-the-point, close to perfect and bloody heavy assault. The computerized artwork by Seth is partly good, except for the crammed cover itself, and the band photography is totally suitable.

For me, Vader's music is a double-edged sword. On the other hand I want it to sound good old Vader, which is does, and again I want them to do something new and wicked. 'Impressions...' isn't a dull album for Vader, it's just pretty non-surprising for a big part. Nevertheless this kicks ass and does it in a cultivated way. No wonder Vader are one of the best known bands from Poland, and will be so for a long, long time.

(Originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in August 2007)

One of those albums that is actually "Brutal" - 95%

Idontsuckdick, December 10th, 2008

This album is proof that no matter how old you are, you still have the right to kick ass. With this album being Vader’s 8th release, it is actually their fastest, loudest, and most mature album. In fact, if given a choice of any release by Vader to listen to, this would be the one. I see this album as more mature than previous releases because of the longer song lengths, faster and more solid drumming, extensive and creative guitar solos, clever and deep lyrics, and intense guitar playing.

Peter really is the only constant member, and I don’t know if the new line-up had an effect on the bands capability to live on, but he is the mastermind behind Vader, so the line-up may have had little effect. I must say though Daray is the most impressive drummers I have ever heard, just listen to “This is the War”, which is on their EP “The Art of War”. It’s a shame Daray left the band afterwards, he would have definitely helped to create more solid works.

I especially enjoy the vocals on this album. Peter’s voice is absolutely vicious, and if you notice, nobody else really sounds like him. He puts forth a lot of anger and hate into his vocals. It’s also really cool that you can actually understand what he is saying. The lyrical themes on this album are incredibly satanic, though some see it as just anti-Christian. Either way, this album is Vader’s most satanic (Though The Art of War was really where the first satanic lyrics showed up, and is right before this album), and a very deep message is delivered through the music. He merely does not just say god sucks and kill Christians, but actually points out the hypocrisy and confusion among Christianity. For example, in As Heavens Collide, the lyrics state “Bow Down to none...For no God is greater than you!” Rather than just bashing god, he states that you don’t have to bow down to somebody because he is supposedly better than you. In most of the other songs he talks a lot about “The Book” which he is referring to as the bible. He uses a constant motif of the color red, expressing an evil feel towards the bible. I also can’t get over just how bold the song God is Dead is. The lyrical themes really assert how bold Peter is and how he wishes to be a martyr for the anti Christians. If nobody else will do it, why not do it yourself?

The whole album consists of three beats really, but lots of fills. Though it may seem as though there are just constant bashing blast beats, I believe it was done on purpose to, in truth, just be brutal. The more you listen to it, the more you enjoy it, as you pick out the other stuff going on. Then Daray uses either a fasts rock beat or a slow beat with lightning fast double bass rolling in. I just recommend not listening to this album if you have a headache, as the blast beats are constant and loud.

The guitar work is really cool on this album. For the most part, it is either crushing palm muted riffs, squeals, or tremolo picked riffs. Never the less, it is brutal and solid. I just LOVE the solos on this album. They are so f***ing cool. They are either just really good melodic and fast solos or on some songs Peter and Mauser just go nuts. Those particular nutty solos just have loads of whammy bar and crazy chords followed by random and fast runs. I believe they wish to follow in the footsteps of Slayer. Never the less, the solos and riffs are very well written.

There are surprisingly a lot of keyboards on this album. Tracks 1, 4, 6, and 11 all consist of some really evil yet epic sounding keyboards. Especially in track four, the keyboards add a really evil background effect, and it sets a perfect mood, especially for a song entitled “God is Dead”.

Definitely buy this album if you enjoy Slayer, Behemoth, or Possessed, as it follows in all those bands footsteps. Even if you don’t listen to those, I still recommend getting this album. Also, don’t give it one listen then give up, because at first I hated this album but after about 5 listens I fell in love with it.

Highlights:
God is Dead
Shadowfear
Solo in Amongst the Ruins
The Book

Swapping the sledgehammer for the meathook - 86%

BastardHead, September 29th, 2008

I've made it fairly well known that I find Vader to be one of the most consistently fantastic groups in heavy metal history, and that every album has it's own unique quality that makes it great. The irony of that statement is that they've essentially taken a page out of Running Wild's book and released the same album over and over again for a decade. But again, just like the German speed metal legends, each and every album has more than it's fair share of classics. Every album had at least one of those instantly recognizable fan favorites. Imagine Litany without Wings, imagine Black to the Blind without Carnal, Vader has always had at least one song that defined not only the album in question, but the philosophy of the band as a whole. Their current latest, Impressions in Blood, is no different in that department, but there is definitely a sonic difference when it comes down to it.

Over the years, Vader has been mauling fans with the fabled sledgehammer. A simple device that anybody can effectively use, but none with as much flair and familiarity as our favorite pissed off Pollacks. Ever since before The Ultimate Incantation, listeners have been mercilessly sledged into submission. It's always been constant pummeling straight from the get go, and there has never been anything wrong with that. Upon first listen of this album, listeners are instead greeted with a symphonic instrumental opener. Okay, so Vader has fallen into the trend of useless time wasters as album openers that do absolutely nothing for the album or upcoming song, but hey, everybody flubs up once right? Sure enough, the opening riffs to Shadowfear confirm most fans' fears, something has changed. The first semblance of Vader's classic furious blasting death doesn't rear it's mangled head until a full minute into the first song. The old school mercilessness fills only approximately two thirds of the record, with the other third being filled by a slower, slightly more melodic riffing style or silly tribal drum beats. Daray attempting to recreate the classic drum groove in the beginning of Kreator's Terror Zone by banging on a timpani with what sounds like rubber mallets is a novel idea when it first appears in As Heavens Collide, but what was once thought to be an experimental one-off really becomes awkward when it starts happening every other song. Imagine you're fast asleep, and one of your buddies drunkenly stumbles into your bed, kisses your neck, and proposes a session of orgasmic delight. As soon as you inevitably perk up and offer to pound him into oblivion, he shrieks and jumps out from under the covers. He then, humiliated beyond belief, shuffles over to the room where his girlfriend is sleeping. The first time this happens, it's uncomfortable and unsettling, but at the same time it's cunt blastingly funny. But if this were to happen every other night, you'd likely distance yourself from said friend. And as such, I feel like turning this album off and cranking up De Profundis after the third or fourth time a renowned death metal drummer starts beefing bongos with his face.

I guess what the previous joke was trying to say is that Vader have, in a spiritual sense, given up the method of garnering attention and fans with relentless brutality, and have instead opted for something a little more groovy and catchy. Keep in mind that this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it just seems like they are out of their element here... experimenting just for the sake of being different. Naught but two songs are devoid of this newfound love of all that is downtempo and chugtastic. Be it a somewhat modern styled breakdown or the aforementioned tribal tom beats, virtually nothing escapes its clutches. Now I must assure you that Vader is one of those bands that can manage to rise above a bad decision, and actually craft songs that work extremely well in this style. The Book is a great example. It's midpaced with a relatively simplistic main riff, but it ends up being memorable and carries a bizarre feeling of mystique instead of being boring and plodding. And like I had previously mentioned, most songs alternate between the newer experimental elements and the archaic demolition of old school Vader, so songs like Warlords and Helleluyah (God is Dead) also end up as a delightful mixture of new and old instead of an awkward one. I find the main attraction of the album to actually be the second half of it, housing tracks like Red Code and They Live, both of which sound like they could've been on Litany. And as previously mentioned, The Book is a great chugger as opposed to a terrible one like Predator. These tracks also contain some semi-impressive leads, another rarity for the band. If they had a solo in the past, it was usually Kerry King whammy madness, whereas a couple of these are a little bit more traditionally structured and executed with a thrasher's mentality.

So after all these years, Vader has finally shifted their modus operandi. The vintage sledgehammer beating has been retired in favor of the meathook disfigurement. Instead of pounding your skull in for the duration of the attack, they have now taken a liking to jabbing a meathook into your body, dragging you for a couple of feet, tearing said hook out and forcefully reinserting it elsewhere before starting the cycle over again. The change is a little discomforting at first, but their execution is good enough for you to overlook the difference. Standout tracks are Helleluyah, They Live, Red Code, and The Book, with the rest being rather hit or miss, with only Predator standing as the lone shitty track, sporting a boring plod as opposed to a pumping groove, and an insidiously annoying fade out that lasts nearly a minute and a half. If you are one of those who can't get past the new direction, my advice is to just give it time. And if it never grows on you, there is no need to fear, for De Profundis will never change. The good ol' sledge is always near if you need a quick fix, but Impressions in Blood is a fairly welcome change of pace to help spice up a catalog that was beginning to grow stale. Let us hope that they can keep this balance well enough, for a sharp shift back to the old style would probably end up being a collection of rehashes, and a continuation into this newer, catchier, groovier territory could just as likely yield nauseously bad results.

First impression dosn't necessarily mean last - 89%

DraggarSkullCrusher, July 18th, 2007

I have to say in my most deep and honest opinion, Vader is preferably my all time favorite death metal band. However this album has many changes and some intrigue sounds that aren't of a true death metal sound or Vader's previous works. This will be why the album lacks some points. For example the nu-metal whammy bar sound on one song, for example the track "God Is Dead", this act starts at about 1:52. Never have I heard a death metal band, use, or portray this techno type sound comparable to weak bands like Static-X's shitty guitar playing.

Other than this minor error, "Impressions In Blood" is another amazing addition to Vader's lengthy and legendary discography. This album is similar to that of year 2000 release, "Litany" in a way, because of the relentless brutality of the panzer tank Heavy-hitting (blast beats in particular), from the new and flawless enthroned drummer, "Daray". In addition never have I heard Peter subjugate vocals this much on an album. He is clear, understandable, and is second to none. Unlike most repetitive death metal vocalist that are very omnipresent Peter stands out in the whole death metal crowd.

The solos and tremolo picking are faster than ever, very clear, and easy to identify, because of the good balance of the drums and vocals when the album, was mixed and produced. Mainly what has improved is the production for a better easier listening experience. And, last but not least is the orchestral symphony. It has been portrayed with a mysterious scary feeling, that will have Christians horrified with fecal matter and blood squirting from their anus, knowing that their beloved "God Is Dead". Overall, what can I say? This album is still above average in "The Book", and in mine.

Fast album, fast impression...not their best - 84%

Invaginator, June 16th, 2007

The new Vader is out, and I took my time to listen to it more than just a few times, since many people glorified this released, said it was the "ultimate incantation", "Vader's fastest release to date" (if this is their fastest release, what the fuck has Doc done in Vader?) and Vader's rebirth. This band exists now for 20 years, and they left a long path behind them, a long discography with 8 Full Lenghts and 2 official live releases ('The Darkest Age' 1993 and 'Live In Japan' 1998). Its' quite a surprise this band still finds the inspiration to write albums that won't just be another Death Metal release, in the sea of mediocre releases (the scen faces today mediocrity and less than that more than ever, since 90% of Death Metal bands just tend to copy oldies and"kult" releases). I never really understood why Vader is so popular nayway; they just had a few releases which were incredibly fast and battering, crushing and had the most selled demo releases in the history of Death Metal (if not in the history of Metal) - 'Necrolust' and 'Morbid Reich'. So, what is actually Vader's secret, what is their contribution to the progress or just their meaning in Death Metal? Everyone ever listened to Death Metal can ask this himself.

On the latest Vader, 'Impressions of Blood' you hear a more than solid release, packed with orchestral incantations and almost symphonical blastings. This is far beyond Vader's formative years, way beyond they Thrash/Speed roots, back in 1986; since then they evolved fast into a Death Metal "beast", and with the furious drumming of Doc they just harrased over Europe, like a german tank, and over the whole world. But having set their sound srraight, they haven't changed much in the last 15 years, playing almost the same stuff day-in day-out. It's as if they were infected by the Bolt Thrower virus - to play the same music for 20 years, and to only bring some variation from time to time. And that's what Vader sounds like to me. Their sound hasn't changed from the last releases, from the last decade. I hear only repetitions of 'Litany' and 'Revelations', combined with those "new" symphonic preludes, and that's it. Vader has always kept the furious tempo, their aggression, Pjotr's distinctive vocals, almost Vader's trademark.

I could easily say Vader are boring, but that's not true. Although they seem to repeat the same stuff from the last 10 years, they still sound brutal, in the domain of Death Metal. The drumming on this release is just amazing. As if Doc was still playing (read: killing and destroying drum patterns), and they still sound as if they were played with the greatest calm, as Doc used to play them. And Vader's guitars still have those "blekkish" riffs, unlike most Death Metal bands, playing chuggy riffs, for groovy headbanging, but Vader still got grooves. Another attribute of this icon in Death Metal. Vader could release any shit, they would still be for most people an icon in this genre. With this release they put some concrete on that and make it a fact. They got their loyal legions of fans, just waiting for new releases. And Vader won't disappoint as long as they are alive.

Rolls over your ass like a fucking battle tank - 95%

Empyreal, February 15th, 2007

I'm not a veteran Vader fan, but this album fucking rules, that's all there is to say about it. Everything is done right, from the crunchy, heavy sounding production to the snappy, riffy, ass-kicking tracklist. Piotr Wiwczarek does an excellent job on the vocals, managing to sound both gruff and menacing while still understandable at the same time. The guitar team is outstanding, and the screaming solos and riffs are just what the Death Metal fan needs in their diet. And the rhythm team is very good, putting out a great preformance for the duration of the disk. Even the bass is audible, and Marcin Nowak does a very good fucking job at it.

Just listen to the ass-kicking opening trio of "Shadow Fear", "...As Heavens Colide", and "God is Dead", let them slaughter your unsuspecting ass like a battle tank ready for war, and you'll be convinced that this is definetly one of the better Death Metal bands around these days. "Predator", "Amongst the Ruins", "Field of Heads", "They Live!!!",...the band just doesn't stop killing, not throughout the disk's half an hour runtime. And special mention must be given to the last track, "The Book" with it's crushing mid-tempo riff attack, not at all like the speedier songs that took up the rest of the disk.

This disk isn't perfect though, as there are some obvious flaws. The songs here tend to be short, like most Death Metal bands do, and they seem to feel mashed together a lot, and only a few stand out on first listen, namely "God is Dead" with it's catchy (!) chorus, and "The Book" since it doesn't sound like anything else here. Especially toward the last half of the album, I didn't even remember some song names until I listened to it three or four times. So, like many Death Metal band, the songs on this disk aren't that different from eachother. They tend to blend into one big giant mess of ass-kicking glory, which is both a good and a bad thiing. Some people, as I've seen myself, have a strong dislike of bands that make albums like this, where the songs are generally faceless.

But ehh, the metalhead who just enjoys a good fucking time will love this, and that's who Vader are catering to. They want to kick your ass, and this album is the cumulation of 20 years of making music. Highly recommended.

An improvement but not a classic.. - 60%

RilontskY2, December 16th, 2006

Poland's Vader have been churning out their unique style of thrashy death metal since the late 80's and it is fair to say they haven't changed alot in that time. They've become one of those bands, like Bolt Thrower or Deeds of Flesh, where you know exactly what you're going to get everytime they put out a record. While staying true to your style is good, it is also important for a band to keep their music fresh. Recently, Vader seemed to have failed at this. With their last two albums, Revelations and The Beast, Vader seemed like a rip off of themselves -- the music was too predictable. The Beast saw the band incorporating some melodic elements into their riffs which only made them less intense. The question is have Vader dug themselves out of this hole with Impressions in Blood? Not exactly. To elaborate, this is a definite improvement over the last two albums. One thing they figured out is not to play slow, a trend which seemed to be growing between Revelations and The Beast. Impressions in Blood is as fast an album as Vader has ever made with only one slow track as an album closer. Many of riffs aren't as predictable they have been recently and there are less melodic elements
so there are steps in the right direction. Still the growth here is quite minimal. Examining the first three Vader full-lengths, Ultimate Incantation, De Profundis and Black to the Blind, it's clear that there is considerable development in style between each album without sacrificing their trademark sound. If Vader had maintain this evolution perhaps their music would be stronger today. As it stands this album is nowhere near as good as Ultimate Incantation or De Profundis but it is a decent effort that shows the band stepping up their game a bit. Fans of Revelations and The Beast will be thrilled.

A good addition to a long discography - 87%

stefan86, September 7th, 2006

Vader have, except for most of "The Beast", always delivered solid outputs of Death Metal. As they seemed to have ditched the whole idea of playing slower and more melodic with "The Art of War" EP I expected something good here.

After a short symphonic intro in the vein of those on the previous EP, "Shadows Fear" opens up the album with a bang, and the listener is thrown straight into the classic Vader sound. There's as usual a lot of high quality tremolo riffs and fast drumming, as well some nice mid pace playing. Where "Shadows Fear" sounds like it could be on "Revelations", the second track "As Heavens Collide" kicks into "Litany" mode. It's fast as hell, filled with blastbeats and aggression. Only a mid tempo break in the middle changes the pace before it goes back into blasting in the end.

So, now for the obvious question. Is there anything new in the sound? Well, the only real news are the symphonic parts featured in a couple of songs. This could be musical suicide if done wrong, but it's actually quite tasteful. The single, with its Lordi-like title "Helleluyah!!! (God Is Dead)" is actually enforced by the synths. This song's focus definitely lies on being a hit, as the chorus chant (God Is Dead, Dead, Helleluyah! etc.) is about the catchiest they ever did. If Dimmu Borgir got a decent vocalist and stopped doing piece of shit songs like "Puritania" they'd sound something like this.

The CD soliders on with a whole bunch of good tracks. "Predator" and "The Book" are more on the crushing mid tempo side of things, while "Warlords", "Field of Heads" and "Red Code" all goes into "Litany" gear. Now, one might think that a band with only two gears and a quite limited riff library would get repetitive. Strangely that rarely happens with Vader, as the onslaughts of tremolo riffs are of such high quality. The inclusion of such a slow song as "Predator" also adds to the variation.

In my book, Vader have done it once again. It's not the masterpiece of the century, it's another great Death Metal album.

Praise Poland! - 92%

los347, September 1st, 2006

I recently got my hands on the newly released album, Impressions in Blood by Vader. The Polish death metal band whose name was inspired by Darth Vader, "a mysterious, brutal, dark, intelligent, bitter, but sometimes romantic" Star Wars character, is recognized by producing their own style of music, both beautiful and powerful.

Vader started out as a thrash/speed metal band in 1986, but by their second album they evolved into a death metal band, adopting more intricate riffs and a more technical drumming style that included more double bass drumming and blast beats. While the vocals became deeper and more extreme, their lyrics were still comprehensible, as opposed to most other death metal bands. Their 3rd demo, Morbid Reich, is acclaimed as one of the best selling metal demos in history, selling over well over 10,000 copies, setting them as one of the best and most famous death metal bands. Their sound is deep but clear, with lead guitars usually playing solos in the diminished, augmented, and minor scale solos, with little use of the tremolo bar commonly used to create dissonance.

Impressions in Blood definitely lives up to the fame that surrounded their most famous albums De Profundis and Litany. In this album they’ve adopted a more progressive style of drumming, not limiting themselves to just somewhat repetitive blast beats and blasting the double bass drum. It’s also interesting to note that they use synthesizers on this album.

The album starts off with the song “Between Day and Night”, a short classical piece that sets a dark tone for the rest of the album. Then the album kicks off with the song “Shadows Fear,” jumping right into a fast, crushing guitar riff with nice drumming and a fast double bass drum blaring in the background. Then there’s a short pause with the rhythm guitar, followed by a sick riff occasional blast beats. Towards the end of the song Mauser, the lead guitarist, plays a mid-tempo but powerful and evil-sounding solo. The song later ends with the chorus. This is by far one of the best songs on the album.

The next song, “As Heavens Collide,” a song about clashes between religions, is a relatively short but fast song, including an even faster guitar solo a minute into the song followed by a slower solo later on. Towards the end of the song there’s a really catchy riff. The next song, “Helleluyah!!!,” a song about when God dies, is a rather basic song with an almost-happy, triumphant sound to it, usually not typical in death metal songs. The song ends with a rather dissonant solo, then some synthesized sounds, along with the chorus.

“Field of Heads” is a ferocious track, with blaringly fast guitars with pinch harmonics used sporadically. This song also has a lot of tempo changes and ends with the drums fading into the background. The next song, “Predator,” is the most brutal song on the album (heavy use of power chords and double bass drum). In the song the singer sings about being a strong and powerful warrior, which fits the sound of the song. “Warlords” is an equally harsh and aggressive song like “Field of Heads.” “Red Code,” Amongst the Ruins,” and “They Live!!!” the subsequent tracks, are all also fast tracks filled with solos and catchy riffs. These songs seem to be along the lines of songs from Litany and De Profundis.

The last song from the album, “The Book,” is unarguably the best song off this album. The song starts off with violins in the background and jumps into crushing guitar riffs and technical drumming. This sharp contrast adds to the power of the song. The song continues, slows down for the chorus. A guitar solo ensues then speeds back up for the verse. Later on there’s a buildup to the solo, with some fast picking, then the guitarist hits us with this punishing solo, somewhat reminiscent of those found in 80s metal bands. Towards the end of the song, the tempo changes and the song fades out with a guitar solo in the end.

Impressions in Blood is definitely an album worth getting if you’re a fan of death metal or are interested in becoming familiar with the band Vader or with death metal in general. As the sales records and the number of albums released (over 20) show that they’re a well-established band with credit. Indeed, this year the band will celebrate its 20th anniversary. This album, while rather experimental on their part, was a success and a piece of art. It is technically advanced, fast, brutal, and heavy. I would have tried to have a more in-depth analysis of the lyrics, but I was too caught up listening to the music to pay much attention to the lyrics.