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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)