Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Vader - The Empire
Nuclear Blast, 2016
Genre: Death Metal

1. Angels of Steel
2. Tempest
3. Prayer to the God of War
4. Iron Reign
5. No Gravity
6. Genocidius
7. The Army-Geddon
8. Feel My Pain
9. Parabellum
10. Send me Back to Hell

Vader usually tries to put out a new album every couple of years and this schedule has been maintained for quite a long time. So long, that I've lost count with how many Vader releases I have in my collection and I usually look forward to whatever Vader might have in store for me. Unfortunately, Vader has gone through some serious line-up changes again, so it might take a couple releases for the band to start working together more effortlessly. "The Empire" is the follow-up to when all those line-up changes occurred again.

I remember finding "Tibi et Igni" just an okay Vader release, but it was a good beginning for the changes that were made. With "The Empire" I really had no idea where it would land. While "The Empire" isn't an album I'll probably pick up frequently when I want to listen to Vader it does have some good aspects, but also some bad. This is one of the shortest Vader albums out there, which is making this one of the bad aspects. They absolutely tear through the first three songs and they're all under three minutes long. Yes, the songs do feel complete, but they crank through them so fast, that when we get to the mid-paced "Iron Reign" it's almost jarring. But this is only a brief respite before we crank the speed back up.

One of the things that you'll notice when this album begins is how Thrashy it is. Vader has certainly has their roots in the realms of Thrash, but this is the first album in a very long time where I've seen them go full in with the Thrash. Maybe the coming anniversary of "The Ultimate Incantation" has Peter thinking about those times again or he's just on a nostalgic trip. To match this writing style I'm happy to report that James Stewart has mastered the methods of Doc behind the kit. The years of touring on "Tibi et Igni" no doubt paid off. In fact, I think James is a bit more of a blend between Doc and Daray, which is a major boon to this album, because it feels like it meshes with the overall Vader style a lot more. I can tell the band is starting to fell itself out and work more to the Vader standards. Remember how incredible "Impressions in Blood" was, well we may finally be on our way there in an album or two.

"The Empire" is a very no frills Vader. There is no ambiance. There is no outro. It's a short, fast, and hard hitting album. I think fans of early Vader will find this a return to greatness, but if you're more into their middle career, you might find it only okay. For me it didn't have that dark and sinister atmosphere of the middle era, but I guess I can't complain if Vader are looking for ways to switch things up a little bit. You'll even hear them sneak in the Darth Vader theme into "Genocidius" in a section, which is pretty fun in its own right.

The only other criticism I can level at this is in the vocals. Peter's vocals are great. They always are and I love them. However, the criticism is in the vocal layering. In a lot of sections the try to layer Peter's voice with a higher vocal, but it doesn't work very well for this. I don't know if it's Peter doing it or another person in the band, but they really should just stay away from it. Maybe Peter thought it would give an older Thrashier feel, because it's a higher pitch than his usual guttural approach, but they just don't blend with his voice that well.

In the end I can only imagine how hard it must be to be Vader. What do you do next? More importantly, what do you do next and still be Vader? Even if there's a couple flops in the exploration of what next great album Vader can produce, I'll still be listening and waiting. "The Empire" is definitely a move in the right direction for the band, but I'll still be holding out for the next masterpiece that shows up in the Vader discography every now and again. However, if you are a fan of the early days as Vader was coming out on the heels of the Thrash scene of the late 80's, then "The Empire" is likely going to be a must listen for you!

Vader - Tibi et Igni
Nuclear Blast, 2014
Genre: Death Metal

1. Go to Hell
2. Where Angels Weep
3. Armada on Fire
4. Triumph of Death
5. Hexenkessel
6. Abandon All Hope
7. Worms of Eden
8. The Eye of the Abyss
9. The Light Reaper
10. The End
11. Necropolis
12. Des Satans Neue Kleider (Das Ich Cover)

Since, I got the single, the initial shock of this album was sort of ruined for me. I wasn't expecting too much deviation in Vader's sound from what we heard on "Welcome to the Morbid Reich". Unfortunately, after "Welcome to the Morbid Reich" Paul has given up his drum duties and left Vader, once again, without a drummer. Now, since there are so many stellar drummers in Poland, you'd think there would be many around interested in playing with the legendary band, but Vader turns to England to find their next drummer in James Stewart. The strange thing here is that he doesn't have much of an impressive CV for music, but in 2010 he got to fill in on the drums for Crionics another fairly well known Polish band and I imagine that's how he became known in the scene. Being quite young and joining such a legendary band as Vader is a tall order, but I imagine James was basically raised on their music, so if he studied Doc's drumming enough I figure he's probably a great choice. On a fun note, in my field there is another James Stewart who is a well known author of textbooks. If you're interested in learning elementary Calculus then his book on the subject covering the typical first three semesters at University level is a great book. Also, very good for teaching yourself. It's not as deep as Michael Spivak's, but it is a great introduction.

Anyway... onto Vader! I mentioned in "Welcome to the Morbid Reich" that, while the songs were quite good, they didn't really grab me as much. But I feel like "Tibi et Igni" really takes hold of the listener this time around. I think the band played together for a while before ever putting together new material, which was a smart move rather than trying to keep up their demanding schedule of a new full-length every two years. Instead it feels like some time was given to putting this album together and James wasn't trying to play drum lines that tried to sound like the previous drummer. I think this is the fresh recharge Vader may have needed and, indeed, it feels like James touches upon Doc styled drum arrangements quite a lot, so perhaps that is one reason this stands out a bit more to me. Piotr's guitar work is certainly of the Thrash variety in lieu of "Welcome to the Morbid Reich", and for some reason if you want to play that style you have to sort of give up the dark haunting atmosphere of albums like "Litany". Sure, some tracks have that old sound like "Worms of Eden", but the majority of the album doesn't hold that kind of awe in its atmosphere. I think there is some attempt at reclaiming the epic feeling of "Impressions in Blood" with "The Eye of the Abyss", but the riffing doesn't belie the epic nature of the prior album. It is interesting to hear it done in a different light, though. The only track I wasn't too taken with was "The End", its a far cry from their other album closers like "The Revelations of Black Moses" and "The Book" and it just isn't that caliber of writing. The bonus tracks were okay. "Necropolis" sounds like a very old, more traditional, styled Metal song and has all Polish lyrics, which was interesting. For this album I think Piotr tried to approach his vocals in a more dynamic way, at times making me wonder if everything was done by him. However, the booklet doesn't list any special guests or other members doing backing vocals, so I assume he has done everything.

In the end how did "Tibi et Igni" live up to Vader's past catalog... Pretty good, I must say. I remember from a Piotr interview years ago he said he does not try to compare and just writes what he likes, but it is the honest music critic who should take a bands progress in consideration. Here "Tibi et Igni", while not the next incredible Vader release, is still a solid and passionate album. It is played with all the fervor you could ask of a long time band that will not be stopping anytime soon! Perhaps something that tops "Impressions in Blood" is waiting in the wings, but for now we can just enjoy simply well written and good music. That is all one can really ask for in the end...

Vader - Go to Hell!!!
Nuclear Blast, 2014
Genre: Death Metal

1. Where Angels Weep
2. Triumph of Death

Now... I know I said I'd learned my lesson about Vader singles, but I guess not. I really liked the art on this release, so I immediately wanted to get this anyway. Also, Vader has been scarily silent for about three years now and I didn't know a new album was coming until I started seeing advertisements about this single. Apparently, the tracks on here are pre-masters and probably a different mix too. The other interesting thing about this release is that it is released on a 7" vinyl and comes in red, white, or black vinyl. The copy I have is a white vinyl edition and is limited to 300 copies.

Musically it seems not much has changed from "Welcome to the Morbid Reich" and it seems Vader are continuing down that path in much the same way. So, I imagine the imminent new album will contain mostly that style of Vader material. It's kind of funny when I see this material come out and you go look up Piotr and realize he's almost fifty. He's almost fifty and still churning out some of the most pummeling Death Metal around. Then you see bands like Metallica comment about how they're getting old... just ridiculous. It's not like they're much older. Oh, the comedy that is the metal scene sometimes. It makes me really wonder what Metallica thought of Vader when Vader opened for them in 2004... or if they even bothered to listen to the band?

Vader - Black to the Blind (Remastered)
Witching Hour Productions, 2012
Genre: Death Metal

1. Heading for Internal Darkness
2. The Innermost Ambience
3. Carnal
4. Fractal Light
5. True Names
6. Beast Raping
7. Foetus God
8. The Red Passage
9. Distant Dream
10. Anamnesis
11. Black to the Blind

Along with a remastered "Sothis" a remastered "Black to the Blind " was released at the same time! I was, especially, excited about this release because this is one of my all time favorite Vader albums. It is a nostalgic joy, because this is one of my first times ever hearing Vader and it was on a "Black to the Blind" tour that I first saw Vader perform. It was a great album and great experience all around. I miss the days when Vader used to tour my area, but it has been many years since they have come to my area and I miss them very much.

There wasn't too much to add to "Black to the Blind", so instead they've redone all the artwork. They did manage to fix the error where "Anamnesis" didn't appear on the album, yet the lyrics showed up. So, here the song is included once again. Not sure if it was even in error originally, they may have just printed one booklet and saved the track for the Japanese release... either way, I'm sure Vader fans felt ripped off looking through the original booklet. Here it is all fixed and the song is included in the track listing finally. The art overhaul is pretty good too. It looks like the band took more photos for the album art originally and here I think we get a different grouping of photos. If you're an old fan of Vader this is definitely a worthwhile addition to your collection, for me at least. Revisit one of the finest albums ever made in Death Metal!

Vader - Sothis (Remastered)
Witching Hour Productions, 2012
Genre: Death Metal

1. Hymn to the Ancient Ones
2. Sothis
3. De Profundis
4. Vision and the Voice
5. The Wrath
6. R'Lyeh
7. Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath Cover)
Live at Jarocin Festival 1994:
8. Dark Age
9. Testimony
10. Vicious Circle
11. Crucified Ones
12. The Wrath
13. Sothis
14. Raining Blood (Slayer Cover)

This year saw the remastering of two Vader classics, the first of which is "Sothis". They've even added a full live-set from the early days to round out this release and give a little more than just a repress. It's really nice to hear this recordings revisited because with the re-visioning of this I feel like it has so much more punch and attack than ever before. I remember hearing "Sothis" for the first time and simply being enthralled with how dark and heavy it sounded. Here new and old fans can experience his masterful release that really heralded the change in Vader's sound. It still has some of the older style with songs like "The Wrath", but "Sothis" was a new way of thinking for Vader in my opinion. Witching Hour's re-release of this album is very well done. It comes in a beautiful digi-pak edition and the remastering really sounds great.

The live set is actually pretty well recorded for having been salvaged from 1994. Its certainly nothing compared to modern live recordings, but it really does a good job of giving people a sense of what an early Vader show probably sounded and felt like. The drums are a little loud in the mix, but other than that you can make out just about everything that is going on. I usually worry about these kinds of live performances added on to re-releases. How good can they really be? Luckily, this one sounds fairly decent and doesn't really mar the "Sothis" experience too much. For me, live recordings never really add much to a release, they can usually only hurt it, but luckily the live material doesn't affect it.

Vader - Welcome to the Morbid Reich
Nuclear Blast, 2011
Genre: Death Metal

1. Ultima Thule
2. Return to the Morbid Reich
3. The Black Eye
4. Come and See My Sacrifice
5. Only Hell Knows
6. I am Who Feasts Upon Your Soul
7. Don't Rip Beast's Heart Out
8. I Had a Dream...
9. Lord of Thorns
10. Decapitated Saints
11. They're Coming
12. Black Velvet and Skulls of Steel

In between these couple of years I really haven't bothered with the singles seemingly constantly being released in the interim. I've sort of learned my lesson with buying Vader singles in some respects. Given the good, but somewhat lackluster performance on "Necropolis", I think the world was ready for Vader to step up and release a solid album. I feel like every time Vader goes through a massive line-up change it takes them an albums worth of material to get it together. Since this basically includes the line-up featured on "Necropolis" the band has had some serious time to work together and thus "Welcome to the Morbid Reich" is a pretty solid album. I remember trying to find the digi-pak limited edition with the bonus tracks and just never got around to getting that. So, all this review is missing out on is a couple cover songs. Not much at all at the end of the day.

Given the title heralds back to their earliest days of the demo tape "Morbid Reich", I was curious about what this Vader album would end up sounding like. We, naturally, have a lot of the signature Vader style founded on "Litany" and a lot of elements from "Impressions in Blood" show up here with regards to atmosphere. However, the riffing is a massive throwback to Vader's halcyon days starting out when there wasn't a massive discography of collected works to compare to. This is the Thrashiest Vader album released in a very long time and I think this is one of the major reasons the crowd response is very favorable to this. Based on my love for the older style of Death Metal, this album really does hearken back to the older days, its just entirely cast in the modern mold. It's sort of interesting to think about how heavy the early days sounded and then to realize that with modern amplifiers and guitar tones they could probably sound even heavier. Though, I wouldn't change the raw early days for anything. I just think I have a rather nostalgic appreciation for this type of Vader material, because it really gives newer metal heads some insight into what things were kind of like in feel back then.

While all the songs are solidly written and I quite enjoyed the album, overall, I'm not sure there was any track that captured me like songs on "Black to the Blind", "Litany", "Revelations", or "Impressions in Blood" have managed to do. I think the reason this is well loved for me, is that its so much better than "Necropolis" in many ways. "Necropolis" felt somewhat flat when compared to this for me. "Welcome to the Morbid Reich" has all the attack and passion we've come to expect from a Vader album, and that's really all I ask for at the end of the day with them. So, come bask in the old days with this new vision of the "Morbid Reich".

Vader - Necropolis
Nuclear Blast, 2009
Genre: Death Metal

Disc 1:
1. Devilizer
2. Rise of the Undead
3. Never Say My Name
4. Blast
5. The Seal
6. Dark Heart
7. Impure
8. Summoning the Future
9. Anger
10. We are the Horde
11. When the Sun Drowns in Dark
12. Black Metal (Venom Cover)
13. Fight Fire with Fire (Metallica Cover)

Disc 2: DVD Live: 26.04.2009, Studio Club, Krakow Poland
1. Crucified Ones
2. Black to the BLind
3. The Epitaph
4. Carnal
5. Wings
6. This is the War
7. Lead Us!!!

Like many of Vader's master albums, it is simply tough to follow-up a release that is immensely stand out. Perhaps that is why there has been some extra time between these releases. Aside from the fact that they re-recorded two CD's worth of their earlier discography that is. Either way, Vader has new material with the release of "Necropolis" and with the demise of Regain Records it has left them searching for a label and they've since been picked up by Nuclear Blast. It seems there have been some serious line-up issues since "XXV" and now the only member left was Piotr. Here he turns to giants in the metal scene to help fill out the rest of Vader and we see Vogg from Decapitated on guitar, Paul who was involved with Hell-Born on drums, and Reyash from Supreme Lord on bass.

How does this super line-up measure up? Pretty good, but for some reason I only feel like this music is okay. It's not grabbing me and demanding my attention like "Impressions in Blood" or prior Vader releases. Its kind of a shame because these songs are certainly not bad. I actually can't really find much to complain about... but on the other hand I can't find much to sing praises about either. I think long time fans will find this a solid Vader release, but they won't be able to say anything really stands out. Its almost like Piotr is trying to process what to really do next with Vader. In the meantime we get a decent album, but nothing to truly rave about like other Vader releases.

If you got the two disc set, like me, then you have two cover songs on here. "Black Metal" by Venom is rendered in the Vader fashion and it is pretty cool. The Metallica cover is spectacular in many ways, because "Fight Fire with Fire" is a song that I feel doesn't get enough attention. Too many people are covering "Master of Puppets". The only criticism I have about the Metallica is that I really wish Piotr had opted to use his thunderous Death Metal voice for the recording, instead another singer Maciej Taff on lead vocals. It sounds like a more intense version of the original, but with Piotr's voice giving it life it would've sounded very different and that's about the only thing I can complain about. The second disc is a DVD and features a recording a live set from a charity concert for Covan. People may recall the tragedy that befell Decapitated in 2007. While the band was on tour they were involved in a car accident which seriously injured Vitek and Covan. Vitek, sadly, passed away, but Covan is still recovering. I wish I had a favorable report for the DVD, but I sort of don't. The video footage is awesome and it must have been quite the live set to experience, but the sound quality is not very good. It is plagued by that "swishing" sound that you hear in concert when your standing in a location that traps the sound waves in a strange way. It's almost a constant reverb effect and this overwhelms the music during blast beat sections. It is a sad turn out, because the set list is spectacular.

In the end "Necropolis" isn't a must have in the Vader discography. I don't think fans will find it disappointing like they did with "The Beast", but "Necropolis" doesn't come off as inspiring as the other Vader albums for some reason. I think this might be the result of dealing with an entirely new line-up, which is rather reasonable. So, hopefully the next album will be stronger.

Vader - XXV
Regain Records, 2008
Genre: Death Metal

CD 1:
1. inVaders (Intro)
2. Chaos
3. Vicious Circle
4. Crucified Ones
5. Dark Age
6. Reign-Carrion
7. Silent Empire
8. Sothis
9. Incarnation
10. Reborn in Flames
11. Blood of Kingu
12. Carnal
13. Fractal Light
14. Red Passage
15. Black to the Blind

CD 2:
1. Kingdom
2. Wings
3. Xeper
4. Cold Demons
5. Final Massacre
6. Reign Forever World
7. Epitaph
8. Dark Transmission
9. Fear of Napalm (Terrorizer Cover)
10. Wyrocznia (Kat Cover)
11. Tyrani Piekieł

As I mentioned in my "v.666" review the "XXV" compilation was imminent and it has finally arrived. This is actually a very interesting treat. This release sort of gives me mixed feelings. While I applaud Vader for making it to twenty-five years... and its kind of shocking to think that I've honestly been following the band for a decent portion of that time. Aside from making me feel old, I can't imagine how the band feels, this is definitely a curious compilation. I understand that Vader would have wanted to give their fans more than just your standard compilation cataloging a career. So, Vader stepped into the studio and recorded two CD's worth of material across their entire catalog. In some cases having their old material performed with modern production really gives the songs a much heavier punch than ever before and I certainly love hearing the songs recorded with Piotr's more modern approach to his vocals... but I can't help but think that some of these just didn't need to be re-recorded at all. I think my problem is that if a new fan pics up this release, they will never be exposed to Doc's drumming, for example. I suppose these minor concerns at this point and I do commend Vader for trying to do something different compared to many other bands out there, who just throw a collection of songs together.

"XXV" is, far and away, leagues ahead of the "Armageddon" compilation. Then again, "Armageddon" seems to be something that was entirely due to System Shock compiling, not really having the band involved. Here Vader tries to give a proper celebration to their history. Due to the success of adding some keyboard elements to "Impressions in Blood", Vader seem to have gone a bit overboard adding them to tracks on these re-recordings. I'm looking at you "Reign Carrion", who just sounds weird with keyboard ambience at times. Sometimes they add to the experience, but a lot of times they just make the songs feel a little off... maybe its because I've listened to Vader for so long that it just sounds strange to my ears. Luckily, they are not overly intrusive on the majority of songs, so the compilation feels very cohesive and solid. The liner notes in the booklet are fairly interesting too. Aside from there being far too many typos, which shows lack of care to me, there is a commentary written about every track. This was another reason why this release actually isn't too bad in the grand scheme of things. I am also surprised to see nothing from "Blood" on here.

Overall this is actually worth checking out. The production upgrade does sort of make this worth checking out. To listen to this is to listen experience the birth of Death Metal in Poland and to follow the rise of that scenes power over the decades. In that historical context it makes for a very impressive release. Definitely worthwhile for the Vader die-hard fan... if you can sit through nearly two hours of Vader in a single sitting!

Vader - Lead Us!!!
Regain Records, 2008
Genre: Death Metal

1. Lead Us!!!
2. The Book
3. Die!!! (Giń Psie)
4. Raining Blood (Slayer Cover)

1. This is the War
2. Helleluyha!!! (God is Dead)
3. Sword of the Witcher

It seems it has taken Vader an extra year to get out their obligatory EP. They, honestly, should've waited longer. This is one of the worst EP's Vader has ever released. I don't know if this an attempt to eat up their contract with Regain Records or what, but this EP is almost a waste of our time. A lot of the other Vader EP's are pretty good, they offer us at least some new material and rarities released on special versions. I realize they tried to put together a worthwhile EP with the collection of material on here, but it really does ring hollow when you read the liner notes. "Lead Us!!!" is literally taken from "The Art of War" of 2006. There's no change to this track, its not a new recording. "The Book" is taken right from "Impressions in Blood" again, its not a new track. Its not even remotely rare. It's not until track three that we finally get to something "new". "Die!!! (Giń Psie)" is taken from "The Art of War" Japanese CD release and I've never heard this song before, so its pretty nice to get this. This song sounds a lot more like the traditional Thrash days of Vader's foundation and it is really nice to see a song in their native language show up. I actually wish they would sing on Polish more. The Slayer cover is taken from the Japanese version of "Impressions in Blood", which makes it pointless to seek out the usually highly expensive Japanese editions for either of these albums. Naturally, Vader do a great job on this cover. I'm glad they chose a different song from "Silent Scream" which is what they usually play. I also would have loved to hear them do a recording of "Hell Awaits", which is what they used to cover in the early days.

After this they give us music videos, which are pretty interesting to have if you didn't have them already. "This is the War" was already available on the original EP... so this is nothing new. "Helleluyha!!! (God is Dead)" is actually a good music video worth having. It's not on any of the prior Vader releases. "Sword of the Witcher" is the one truly new thing on here. This video and song were recorded for The Witcher video game release. This gives you some idea of the level of influence Vader have built for themselves over the years.

Either way, there is far too little new material on here to make this of any real value to the fans. I'm just shocked they put this out at all...

Vader - v.666
Empire Records, 2007
Genre: Death Metal

1. Carnal [v.666 version]
2. Vicious Circle [v.666 version]

I usually don't bother with the Vader singles. I think I wound up getting this one because I was ordering CD's from a distro and this was very cheap. Being a Vader fan, I figured it was worth getting to add to the collection. Their singles really are pointless for the most part, but this is one of the strangest ones around. The main issue here is this is a single for a compilation that is to be released later this year. Seriously, who puts out a single for a compilation? I suppose its interesting to have updated songs from these old Vader classics with modern recording technology. But in light of the release of "XXV" coming this is probably the most pointless single I've ever come across.

They also recorded this really weird music video for "Carnal v.666", which features a writhing scantily clad girl that wiggles in fear of the CGI monster. I think this video actually could act as a prelude to some tentacle porn Hentai...

Vader - And Blood was Shed in Warsaw
Metal Mind Productions, 2007
Genre: Death Metal

1. Intro
2. ShadowFear
3. Sothis
4. Helleluyah!!! (God is Dead)
5. Warlords
6. Silent Empire
7. Blood of Kingu
8. Out of the Deep
9. Carnal
10. Dark Age
11. Black to the Blind
12. Intro: Para Bellum
13. This is the War
14. Lead Us
15. What Colour is Your Blood
16. Epitaph
17. Cold Demons
18. Predator
19. Wings
20. Wyrocznia (Kat Cover)

1. Sword of the Witcher
2. Helleluyah!!! (God is Dead)

CD version of live performance as a bonus disc
Interview with Peter
Photo Gallery
Band History
Desktop Images

One thing I really like about Vader is their DVD's just keep getting better and better. This is the Vader DVD people should buy if they really want to experience Vader live in their own homes. Furthermore it's got one of the longest and most definitive set lists I've ever seen. This basically runs as a "best of" for Vader songs, and it was interesting to see Piotr not bother to introduce a lot of the songs. Instead they actually transition into some of the songs right away. The way they've put it together it sounds exceptionally well. I think the only complaint I have is that instead of, pretty much, playing the entire "The Art of War" EP, they should have played "We Wait" from "Blood" at some point... but maybe that's just me being selfish. Either way, here we have a huge twenty song set. It's interesting to see the second encore track here, because Piotr does not perform the vocals. Instead they are handled by Orion, who also plays in Vesania and Behemoth. Definitely an interesting way to close a Vader set, but what a monumental concert regardless. With "Impressions in Blood" being released prior to this it features an extremely wonderful set by Daray, where he really feels so much more part of the band this time around. I miss Doc, but Daray's performance is just as high quality. Novy is great to see perform too, he has a huge amount of energy. Piotr was not kidding when he mentioned that he was one of the best bassists around in Poland and if you really want to hear him do some interesting work check out his efforts in Dies Irae and Devilyn.

The other treat you get on here is two music videos. Here you can view the promotional video filmed for the video game "The Witcher", for which Vader wrote a song. The song is okay,its much more popular sounding instead of the crushing Death Metal we would expect. I doubt this is something Vader will make very often, but it was interesting to see their name aligned with the video game which has become quite popular. We also get the official video for "Helleluyah!!! (God is Dead)" which is a great video. It's very interesting in the sense that it follows a more current trend of extreme metal being critical of Islam. Though, you could extend the stoning scene to be related to Judaism... but in present times it is common more to Islam. I like this current trend in metal, because while Metal has been extremely critical and rejected religions like Christianity, its nice to see that there are these reminders that basically include Islam in that criticism, since those religions should be seen on just about the same level as far as I'm concerned.

After all the music is done you can watch a great interview with Piotr. It's all in Polish, so for the English speaking we have sub titles. This has an excellent array of questions and Piotr speaks much more honestly about what has happened with Doc. You can tell it is not an easy subject to discuss, but I am glad he does, because it really gives some closer to the story. I remember in 2004 with "The Beast" coming out there was a lot of confusion on the fan end, not to mention being outright separated by an ocean in my case. Also, I have very little contact in the scene and I feel more like a viewer on the outside, so I feel very uninformed about things a lot of the times. Piotr, naturally, handles it in his usual professional fashion, but he is much less diplomatic and discusses the problems plainly, which I really appreciated. In prior interviews when Doc was still alive, Piotr really held back on what was going on. It must have been very frustrating for him to deal with over the years and as Piotr said in this interview, it's really a very sad situation. A real tragedy in the Metal scene.

In the end, this is really the ultimate Vader experience. This is one of their finest line-ups performing, likely, their best set-list ever in one sitting. This is an historical perspective and a nod toward the future of Vader in many ways. This is really for more than just die-hard fans of Vader, this is for new, old, and anyone just finding the band for the first time. As a long time fan, I really enjoyed this and I'm glad I just mindlessly bought all these Vader DVD's, even though I may not have gotten to watch them until recently. Such is life... too much music to experience everything out there, but I hope Vader appreciates the time I've given their art. I have certainly appreciated their efforts over the years and I hope there are many more to come.

Vader - Impressions in Blood
Regain Records, 2006
Genre: Death Metal

1. Between Day and Night
2. Shadow Fear
3. As Heavens Collide...
4. Helleluyha!! (God is Dead)
5. Field of Heads
6. Predator
7. Warlords
8. Red Code
9. Amongst the Ruins
10. They Live!!!
11. The Book

If you think about all the material after "Litany" and you wonder what they could do to get close to that shift. What could they do to create that same level of memorable experience, but still stay true to their core sound. "Impressions in Blood" is really the answer to this. "The Art of War" gave us hope that Vader would not be lost on us and I had hoped that Doc's passing would fuel Piotr's writing instead of shut him down. "The Art of War" seems to have, basically, answered that question, but I was shocked when "Impressions in Blood" landed on my desk. This, to me, is basically the bands next album truly on par with the shocking quality of "Litany".

Keeping up with doing the atmospheric intro from "The Art of War" we get introduced to this album in the same vein. For some reason I just feel like a lot of these keyboard and Ambient elements are driven by the Matrix soundtrack in some way. This seems to be a good choice, because it fits exceptionally well within Vader's sound. Just listen how "Helleluyah!!! (God is Dead)" opens. Speaking of that, we seem to have Vader's ultimate "go to" live song with this track. It's absurdly catchy and actually outdoes "Carnal" in a lot of ways. Though, I hope they never stop playing "Carnal" live. I feel a layer of dark atmosphere has been injected into the Vader sound almost like never before. The overall style has not changed too much since the days of "Black to the Blind", but I just feel like these songs are so much darker. They're more than just memorable and catchy riff-heavy songs, there's an atmosphere there underlying the quality of the music. This album also has slow tracks that work very well amidst the insanity of speed like "Predator" and "The Book". "Predator" is almost painfully simple, but it just works and sits well amidst all the other tracks. This is, basically, the total opposite of what we heard on "The Beast". "The Book" even includes some tribal-like drumming elements that make it a rather different experience altogether. I actually can't say there is a bad song on here, every track is as good as the next. The album opens with the immense "Shadowfear" and it is an intense experience to behold and much the fast songs live up to this opener. They all have their wonderful facets that make the album feel very cohesive.

"Impressions in Blood" is the next "tough to top" Vader performance. I've seen some decry Vader for working within their strict framework, but I'm not going to fault a solid album when I hear it, especially when a band has worked hard, gone through a tragedy, and then released one of their best albums since the beginning of the new millennium. There isn't a single weak track on here and that truly means a lot to me. In fact some of the songs would become long standing favorites of mine. We'll see what happens next... I'm sure the obligatory EP will be unleashed in the following year.

Vader - The Art of War
Regain Records, 2005
Genre: Death Metal

1. Para Bellum
2. This is the War
3. Lead Us!!!
4. Banners on the Wind
5. What Colour is Your Blood?
6. Death in Silence

I remember when "The Art of War" came out and everyone just stood in awe of this release. I think Vader knew they weren't up to par on "The Beast" and maybe it is a case where they just needed to get used to writing with Daray behind the kit, because "The Art of War" is so much more crushing and intense than "The Beast". This heralded a return of Vader to their usual high quality output. While Daray's drums don't have that thunderous tone of Doc's drum kit, they certainly fit and are far more interesting to listen to this time around. I think with Daray trying to play like Daray makes for a better band effort overall. The worst part of this album, for me, was seeing the dedication of Doc's memory on the back. This is actually how I found out he had passed away. I remember just looking at the back of this in disbelief. Trying to imagine a world where his drumming would never grace our ears ever again... its almost too much to think about. So, with a heavy heart I put on "The Art of War" and I remember thinking that Doc would have approved of the release. I do wonder if he was able to hear the recordings as they were being made in June before he died. I wonder if he was sad or happy about not being involved... I like to think he was pleased, but given Piotr's comments about his addiction, I feel like that is unlikely.

Well... I'll try to do my best with the review. In true Vader form they released an EP to follow-up their last full-length. I was very concerned about getting this release. Luckily it lived up to past Vader expectations and Daray did a really stellar job on the drums. Listen to how intense and fast "This is the War" comes out. Piotr's riffing doesn't come off as banal and we celebrate a return of his usual writing strength. The album actually starts off with a sort of Ambient intro with "Para Bellum" and is extremely reminiscent of what you'd hear on a Matrix film. Even more so, the video and album art feature these mech-like creatures, which are pretty reminiscent of the mechs used in those movies. Albeit all of this is cast in a Vader atmosphere, so its actually far superior to that idiotic dance since in the film. I imagine if Vader was playing live in the caves people would be a lot more energized to fight the machines... hell humanity might have been ready to take back the surface!

Given the quality of music on this release, I am actually looking forward to Vader's next release. I will certainly understand if the band needs to take some time to process the loss of Doc to the world and to their lives. However, "The Art of War" seems to herald a bright future for the band and now I am hoping it doesn't end here.

Vader - Night of the Apocalypse
Metal Mind Productions, 2004
Genre: Death Metal

1. Intro 1 / Epitaph
2. Torch of War
3. Xeper
4. Carnal
5. Reign Forever World
6. Intro 2 / Breath of Centuries
7. Silent Empire
8. Black to the Blind
9. Intro 3 / Revelations of Black Moses
10. North
11. Nomad
12. Sothis
13. Raining Blood (Slayer Cover)

Metalmania 2003:
1. Intro
2. Xeper
3. Epitaph
4. Cold Demons
5. Nomad
6. Wings
7. Vicious Circle

Supporting Slipknot & Metallica (2004):
1. Sothis
2. Crucified Ones
3. Epitaph
4. Wings
5. Xeper
6. Carnal

Interview with Peter
Interview with Peter & Docent
Interview with Mauser & Sion
Photo Gallery
Desktop Wallpapers

With the release of "Vision and the Voice" being so long ago, I can absolutely understand the need for an updated DVD. I can understand it even more in the context of better recording equipment, though that original performance was very well done for its time. "Vision and the Voice" is an excellent concert showing a history of early Vader material, but with the rise of "Litany" Vader has put themselves on a different scale altogether. With that in mind "Night of the Apocalypse" seeks to give us a visual experience that harnesses the Vader of the new Millennium, so to speak.

Vader enters the stage with the opening score from the film The Fifth Element, which is kind of interesting being a sort of Sci-Fi action comedy in many ways, but at times it really did yield a powerful soundtrack. Vader's material is anything but comedic. Opening their set with "Epitaph" really sets that dark and intense atmosphere we've come to expect from Vader. The video and audio is very well recorded even better than "Vision and the Voice", which is what we would expect. The only thing I could really complain about is that towards the end of the set the editors got a little crazy with the switching camera angles too much. I understand doing this quickly to make the viewer get a sense of "frenzy" during the really fast and intense parts, but Vader has a lot of those, so you don't need to do it every single time. The zooming in and out mixed with that gets a little daunting to watch by track eleven. Aside from that, Vader perform an incredible set and I'm quite happy to have this captured performance on DVD.

If the main set wasn't enough for you, then there are two more concerts filmed on this DVD. The second is from Metalmania 2003. While not as well recorded as the main feature, this one is surprisingly well done too. I don't think they had as many cameras running, but they had enough to take various angles. Piotr's vocals are extremely loud and filled with echo, but you get used to that as part of the set as you watch the film. It's a really great performance overall and I'm glad it was included as an extra on here. The third performance is from a massive arena show when Vader opened for Slipknot and Metallica. There is a track listing error here, the box lists the set as closing with "Reign Forever World" as the seventh track, but they just stop at "Carnal". The menu on the DVD is actually correct. This set was extremely well recorded. Everything was mixed perfectly, it was also one of the earlier shows featuring Daray on drums aside from Doc. After these shows there are some interviews to watch. The interview with Piotr was the most interesting for me, even though I quite enjoyed the one with Piotr and Doc as well. The one with just Piotr was recorded around the time "The Beast" was coming out so he discussed Doc's accident in the studio. Doc had fallen down the stairs and broken his arm, cut up his hand and hurt his legs, so this was a serious injury for a drummer. In light of Piotr's future statements concerning Doc's death, I do wonder if alcohol was behind this accident. I do imagine Piotr would be quite furious about this in studio and would make sense as to why Doc left... I can only speculate though. Piotr is very professional in his interviews and guards himself from speaking ill of others, I highly respect this level of professionalism and is one of the major reasons I respect him beyond just his music. However... there is the "need to know" part of me that just has me burning with curiosity on some levels.

In light of Doc's death in 2005, I'm extremely glad this footage was being filmed. This is one of the last times we would all be able to see Doc perform behind the drum kit. Vader fans the world over are truly fortuitous to be able to see Vader in their full form and it makes for viewing a truly excellent set from the band. I feel the content featuring the interview with Piotr and Doc sitting next to each other smiling and joking around is a great addition to this. Sort of, showing how things used to be, in a way. Vader's future does get brighter as the years go on, but I will always remember this as the Vader I've seen live and grown to love during my more formative Metal years.

Vader - The Beast
Metalblade Records, 2004
Genre: Death Metal

1. Intro
2. Out of the Deep
3. Dark Transmission
4. Firebringer
5. The Sea Came in at Last
6. I Shall Prevail
7. The Zone
8. Insomnia
9. Apopheniac
10. Choices

...why is there a Vader album without Doc? That was my first reaction when I purchased this album. Given how strong the material on "Blood" was, I was actually looking forward to this release. Then it arrived in my hands and it didn't feature Vader's signature drummer. Seriously, you could listen to a Vader album and tell it was a Vader just by the drums. Given that it is now 2014 as we write this, we know the tragic ending to this story, but at the time it was very confusing. I've seen some notes that Doc had a broken hand, but he isn't even mentioned anywhere on the liner notes, so there's something far more going on here. This did not bode will for the future of Vader and whatever is going on between Vader's core seems to have affected "The Beast" quite a bit. While "Litany" is heralded, the world over, as one of Vader's best albums, "The Beast" is usually referenced as their worst.

"The Beast" is honestly not a very good album by Vader standards. It just feels like whatever was going on that has Doc essentially erased from this album has truly affected everything else around it. The riffing just sounds weak and boring. It just doesn't have the fire of the prior Vader albums. The catchy riffs, just sound like they're being re-used entirely and while Vader doesn't re-invent their work too much, it just feels that way even moreso this time. The attempt of dark atmosphere in "The Sea Came in at Last" is solely due to using clean guitars in certain sections. Vader has never relied on this before, they've always managed to create a dark atmosphere with distortion and haunting tones. To see them fall back on this, rather, tiresome trope is simply a sad state of affairs. The drumming is so much weaker, and I'm not trying to come off too critical of Daray. I believe he had a tall order to suddenly fill Doc's shoes and record a Vader album. He does make a valiant attempt at maintaining the spirit of a Doc performance, but lets be honest, there is only one Doc. It truly is sad, because Daray is an exceptional drummer. Just listen to his performances on Vesania and Masachist. I don't know what's going on in the Vader camp, but I certainly hope it gets sorted out and Doc returns in general. I just can't fathom a Vader without Doc right now and if "The Beast" is the result of what that would be like, then Vader is in serious trouble.

That's, honestly, what I wanted to say in 2004 when I first heard "The Beast". We all know the tragedy that has befallen the band. Indeed "Blood" was to be the last recordings of Doc behind a drum kit with Vader. I believe his last studio recording was Dies Irae's "Sculpture of Stone". He passed away in August of 2005. I read in interviews from Piotr later that a problem with alcohol lead to this unthinkable death. He leaves behind an amazing legacy of Metal drumming and has inspired an entire generation of musicians. In light of his death, I think Vader has even more serious things to work out as a band. I can only imagine what Piotr is dealing with at this time since he and Doc have been inseparable for so long. They've had nearly two decades of writing and working on music together.

Vader - Blood
Metalblade Records, 2003
Genre: Death Metal

1. Shape-Shifting
2. We Wait
3. As the Fallen Rise
4. Son of Fire
5. Traveler
6. When Darkness Calls
7. Angel of Death (Thin Lizzy Cover)
8. Immortal Rites (Morbid Angel Cover)

As usual for Vader the year following a full-length gives us an EP of similar length to the full-length they just put out. It also undoes the need to search out all the different versions of "Revelations" by including all those special tracks on here plus two new songs. This also includes material released on the "Angel of Death" single. Normally, I don't bother with these Japanese editions, but I really loved the "Blood" EP so much, that I sought it out for the Morbid Angel cover song. The U.S. truly got ripped off with their version of this release, because it was released as a split with "Reign Forever World" and it doesn't have the "Blood" cover songs included at all. I should point out that there is a track listing error on this release and 3 and 4 are switched, but the above tracklisting is the correct one.

I'm probably super biased with this EP because it features my favorite Vader song "We Wait" on it. Its almost an absolute shame that this didn't appear on a full-length and it is almost a song they never perform live. It seems like it has been forgotten to this EP. It has such a dark and sinister quality to it compared with other Vader tracks and what it lacks in intensity is more than made up in atmosphere. The opening song "Shape-Shifting" is one of the fastest Vader has released yet. Doc just seems to get faster and faster... and I absolutely adore the drumming on the two new tracks. The two new songs also feature Novy joining the band on bass and some fans may recognize him from the works of Devilyn and Dies Irae. Its probably his work with Doc on Dies Irae that has given him the opening to Vader. He's an incredible bassist, just listen to what he's done in Devilyn.

After these two immense tracks, things go back to off-album material recorded during the "Revelations" session. They weren't as strong as the rest of the material on "Revelations", but they are quite good songs in the end. I can just understand how they didn't seem to really fit on the "Revelations" experience. After this material comes the two cover songs. The most curious being the Thin Lizzy cover. This is clearly a Heavy Metal classic recast in the style of Vader. I think Vader may have tried to keep this too close to the original, as other than the thick guitar tone and vocals, it seems just about everything is kept the same. "Immortal Rites" is very well done and just comes on as an updated Death Metal song recast in a more modern setting.

So, for me, this EP is fairly worth getting. Based on the opening two tracks I'll be impressed if Vader can keep up that level of immense sound. I feel that if they wrote in that vein they could even outdo the power of "Revelations" and "Litany".

Vader - Revelations
Metalblade Records, 2002
Genre: Death Metal

1. Epitaph
2. The Nomad
3. Wolftribe
4. Whisper
5. When Darkness Calls
6. Torch of War
7. The Code
8. Lukewarm Race
9. Revelation of Black Moses

How does a band follow up something like "Litany". It's surely unlikely to be better or more awe inspiring upon first hearing, so how do you put together a collection of new songs that are extremely solid and, at the very least, are on par with the prior album. Vader's answer to this is "Revelations" and they have certainly managed to fill-out that criteria and then some.

"Revelations", for me, has some of Vader's most memorable material. While "Litany" is certainly the historical land mark and "Revelations" is just a logical follow-up, the intoxicating rhythms and vicious intensity is just overwhelming on this album. "Revelations" is where they merely played around even more deeply with this this style. Some could say Vader has always been like this... but there's just something about "Litany" that felt like a real game changer for the band and "Revelations" really hammers that change home. "Revelations" really does have some of Vader's most intoxicating rhythms, just listen to "The Nomad", "When Darkness Calls", or one of my personal favorites "Revelation of Black Moses".

Does "Revelations" offer us anything beyond what we heard on "Litany". Not really, but if "Litany" were one long album, "Revelations" would be included with its overall greatness. That incredible Vader sound that just leaves me constantly wanting more is ever present on "Revelations" and we're just in stride for a strong block of Vader releases. The only question at this time was if Vader could keep this kind of writing up? "Revelations" certainly is a big yes to that question, for me at least, so if you loved "Litany" I find it rather hard to believe you wouldn't love this album as well.

Vader - Armageddon
System Shock, 2001
Genre: Death Metal

1. Dark Age
2. The Wrath
3. Blood of Kingu
4. Revolt
5. Reborn in Flames
6. An Act of Darkness
7. Fear of Napalm (Terrorizer Cover)
8. Dethroned Emperor (Celtic Frost Cover)
9. Carnal
10. Foetus God
11. Distant Dream
12. Crucified Ones (Live)
13. Omen / Intro (Live)
14. Hell Awaits (Slayer Cover) (Live)
15. Creatures of Light & Darkness
16. Breath of Centuries
17. Vicious Circle (Demo Version)
18. Red Passage (Live)
19. Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath Cover) (Live)
20. Wings

My interest in having nearly everything by Vader overrode my better senses of not caring about compilation releases. This pretty much covers the gamut of Vader releases across their history so far and even manages to have at least one track from "Litany" on it. The bulk of Vader releases over the years have been released by the label System Shock, so they probably had the rights to most of this material off-hand. It's an alright compilation, not something I would pull out and ever listen to very much in the future. What it does have is a booklet with some of Vader's history and their history with System Shock. This was actually pretty interesting to read through. I didn't know that System Shock was originally founded people mostly involved in the Punk scene and upon hearing Vader they founded the metal label System Shock. Their reaction to "De Profundis" is pretty funny, with on commenting "Impossible!!! No human can play so fast..." If they thought that about "De Profundis" it makes me wonder what they would have thought of "Litany" if that was their first experience with the genre. The booklet is really what makes this worth having, some of the anecdotes concerning the history are quite amusing.

Vader - Reign Forever World
Metalblade Records, 2001
Genre: Death Metal

1. Reign Forever World
2. Frozen Paths
3. Privelege of the Gods
4. Total Desaster (Destruction Cover)
5. Rapid Fire (Judas Priest Cover)
6. Freezing Moon (Mayhem Cover)
7. Creatures of Light and Darkness (Live)
8. Carnal (Live)
9. Red Dunes
10. Lord of Desert

When you think about it... it's kind of astounding how much material Vader releases. Its almost a constant stream of music from this project. We've barely gotten over "Litany" and how immense that album has affected the scene and before we know it a new EP appears. Despite this having a longer running time than "Litany" it really only has three new Vader songs.

The three new songs offered on this EP are excellent, as I've come to expect from the band. If you enjoyed "Litany" then there is no reason you wouldn't enjoy these three new songs. It's almost as if Vader is just overflowing with riffing and they just need to release all this music at once, which is rather impressive when you think about it. If you were like me and couldn't get enough of the "Litany" sound, then this definitely satisfies your appetite. After that they offer up three cover songs, which is nice to see them working beyond the overused "Black Sabbath" cover song, which I am simply sick of hearing on re-releases and everything from this band. They do an excellent job recasting the classic Destruction and Judas Priest songs into a Vader sound. I would expect nothing less from such highly skilled musicians and gives some praise to their Thrash and Heavy Metal roots. Now the cover that surprised me was the choice of covering "Freezing Moon" by Mayhem, which shows that some of the dark atmosphere infused in Vader comes from them listening to Black Metal as well. I am not very surprised by this. "Freezing Moon" is one of the most covered Mayhem songs out there, but this is arguably one of the best covers I've heard of the song. Not only is it recast into the Vader atmosphere, but the whole middle section is changed and with Piotr's voice giving life to the song it sounds incredibly haunting and chilling. He doesn't entirely try to redo Attila's approach, but he tries to give his own take on what that would be and he doesn't use his usual Vader styled vocals, which is where that truly chilling nature seems to come from. After this we are treated to a couple live recordings, which are pretty well recorded. They are up there with the "Live in Japan" recordings in quality, except these are recorded in Poland. To finish off this EP they include the two songs which were originally only featured of the Japanese edition of "Litany". This kind of defeats the purpose of making those special Japanese editions, in my opinion, but I guess this gives Vader an excuse to put out an EP in the following year. "Red Dunes", which has an awesome title and conjures up images of Mars for me... is only a minute long instrumental song that acts more like an intro to "Lord of the Desert". "Lord of the Desert" turns out to be more about Egyptian god Set, but it is recorded in the expected "Litany" fashion and is truly a crushing song as we would expect on that album.

In the end, this is actually a pretty worthwhile EP to get. I know a lot of people skip this kind of release, but, honestly, the live recordings are really the only things worth throwing away. The originally material is certainly just as strong as "Litany" and worth hearing, so even though its been only a year, we have more Vader!

Vader - Litany
Metalblade Records, 2000
Genre: Death Metal

1. Wings
2. The One Made of Dreams
3. Xeper
4. Litany
5. Cold Demons
6. The Calling
7. North
8. Forward's to Die!!!
9. A World of Hurt
10. The World Made Flesh
11. The Final Massacre

"Litany" has long been hailed as Vader's pinnacle album. This is really the full form of their modern sound first being explored on "De Profundis" and "Sothis", puts "Litany" where this is, really, the final stage of that development. Vader would spend many years writing in this style and pretty much sticking with this sound after "Litany". That's not to say it is all downhill, but Vader really herald in a new level of modern Death Metal for the new millennium. While this is where people would experience Vader for the first time with their far more major record contract signing, this style has been brewing for quite a few years now, which seems to have been lost on people.

It is always rather difficult to review a bands seminal work, but I will give it a try. "Litany" launches into legendary opener "Wings", which has all the intensity and memorability of the writing featured on "Black to the Blind". While many Death Metal bands out there, except for the classics, seem to be trying to achieve levels of unprecedented technical work, Vader has been taking a step back and keeping things ever simpler. The end results isn't a fast intense album, but something extremely heavy that just crushes you underfoot. Now, they don't take an approach as simple as Obituary, but they do include a lot of catchier guitar sections. Their classic Thrash influence is certainly ever present, but they also have these really intense haunting tremolo picked riffs that really build a different kind of atmosphere compared to other bands. The only track that is somewhat out of place is "Cold Demons", which seems to be about tanks, and this is only backed up even more by the music video for the song. Now, don't get me wrong, tanks are awesome, its just thematically out of sync with the rest of the album. Piotr's lyrics follow a sort of occult/philosophy type of approach and "Cold Demons" doesn't seem to fit that mold. It's still a good song overall, but maybe not the best on the album, in my opinion. If I could think of only a single criticism for the release. Piotr, vocally, has fully embraced his unique Death Metal voice on this album and his voice feels stronger than ever before. He will do these sort of haunting whispers at time, which really give the album an eerie feel. He no longer tries to fall back on a higher ranged Thrash voice... which I am glad to hear, because it really is far more fitting to Vader's overall style.

"Litany" is certainly one of the best Vader albums released and it will take a lot of work to even come close to outdo this. This will, likely, be the album held up for comparison with each future release. We will forever ask ourselves "...but is this as good as or better than 'Litany'?" The only other thing I can think of to add is that I think this is one of the first times people really got to experience Doc's drumming to a much wider audience. It's really here that he instantly launched himself into being one of the most intense and crushing drummers of the genre. He has influenced so many over the years, that it was high time this really happened on a much wider scale.

Vader - More Vision and the Voice
Metal Mind Productions, 2002
Genre: Death Metal

1. Omen (Intro)
2. Sothis
3. Distant Dream
4. Silent Empire
5. Blood of Kingu
6. Black to the Blind
7. Reborn in Flames
8. Carnal
9. Dark Age
10. Kingdom
11. Foetus God
12. Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath Cover)
13. Red Passage

Interview with Peter
Photo Gallery
Desktop Images
Art Gallery
Web Links

Music Videos:
1. Incarnated
2. Kingdom
3. Cold Demons

Bootleg Live tracks from 2001:
1. Intro/Dark Age
2. Crucified Ones
3. Carnal
4. Wings
5. Red Passage
6. Intro/Xeper
7. Cold Demons
8. Blood of Kingu

Even though this lists a date of 2002, this is actually a re-release version on DVD. The original version of "Vision and the Voice" came out in 1998 on VHS, also released by Metal Mind Productions. It seems appropriate for this be around at about the same time as "Live in Japan", since you can only get so much out of a recording of a live concert. Seeing Vader live in these situations is always preferable. Now there weren't too many live performances of extreme metal out there, never mind a somewhat known band out of Poland at the time. The recording of them afforded a unique opportunity, there is a studio setup specially to capture live performances. So, with a small crowd and many cameras Vader stepped on stage to capture, in essence, what a live performance from the band is like.

Based on what I've seen of Vader live, this does a very good job of capturing that experience on video. These studio recordings are extremely well done and given that this is back in 1998 its actually really shocking that an extreme metal scene would get the opportunity to do this. Opening their set with "Sothis" is one of the best things to see live. This is also around when "Kingdom" came out, so much of the set list is from "Black to the Blind". There is also the over present "Black Sabbath" cover... which comes off okay live. The only real problem with that song is that it is entirely too slow to even remotely match up with Vader's quite fast and intense performance. Overall the performance has all that fire and energy you'd expect from Vader's music and the band really delivers that energy live as well. On a humorous note there were a few crowd members that jumped up on stage to, basically, headbang at Piotr. In the moment this probably seemed very bad ass, but on video it seems a little silly at times.

With the re-release of this legendary VHS on DVD, there are quite a few extras on this. Which makes it somewhat worthwhile to update if you already owned the VHS. It has all the music videos Vader has recorded over the years, only three, but that's a lot for a Death Metal band. Then we have eight more live recordings of the band of varying quality. These were recorded in different locations across the realm of Vader performances, probably all over the world. Some are just video cameras set up by the soundboard and you can see the sound techs board and light the whole time. Some of the songs are well recorded at other times they are terrible, as is the case with "Blood of Kingu", which I eventually just stopped watching due to how poor the sound quality was. The other extra that is really great on here is the interview with Piotr. It's actually a very interesting interview, but it is all in Polish. With subtitles its a little hard to watch, because the person asking the question asks them too fast and it is almost too hard to read it all. So, I had to stop an start the interview constantly... I know I read pretty slow, but I felt like the interviewer blew through his questions. Luckily on Piotr's side he spoke slow and clearly so the text stayed on the screen for quite some time and it was very enjoyable to read through everything.

In the end this is a very excellent DVD. The DVD version is definitely the one to get. Even though the bonus live footage is kind of a throw away, everything else is very interesting to look at. If you're a major Vader fan you will probably really love seeing this historic live performance.

Vader - Live in Japan
System Shock , 1998
Genre: Death Metal

1. Damien (Intro)
2. Sothis
3. Distant Dream
4. Black to the Blind
5. Silent Empire
6. Blood of Kingu
7. Carnal
8. Red Passage
9. Panzerstoss (Intro)
10. Reborn in Flames
11. Fractal Light
12. From Beyond (Intro)
13. Crucified Ones
14. Foetus God
15. Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath Cover)
16. Reign in Blood (Slayer Cover)
17. Omen (Intro)
18. Dark Age

As I mentioned in the review of "Black to the Blind", Vader's career was hitting a fast track at this time and now they are prepared to release a live album documenting their first performance in Japan. This is a quite a far cry from the '93 live album "The Darkest Age Live". Everything is extremely well recorded as live albums go. This is essentially how I remember seeing Vader on their "Black to the Blind" tour, the sound guy in my area was at least fairly competent and the music sounded great all around. "Live in Japan" is no different, aside from Piotr speaking some Japanese greetings, this was an immense hour long performance and I really wish Vader had been able to do that in my area at this time. Doc's drum performances always stand out to me, because they are just so punishing to listen to and experience all around.

Vader's set opens with a really crushing performance of "Sothis" and I can only imagine how crazy this crowd went for it. The set list is, naturally, heavy on material from "Black to the Blind", but they include a decent amount of material off of "Sothis" and "De Profundis". I love that they performed "Silent Empire", because that was, easily, one of the finest tracks on "De Profundis". Only a couple tracks from "The Ultimate Incantation" made it on here and it was nice to hear them in an even heavier sounding setting, because they're performed with a more modern Vader sound. If you want to have a facsimile of the Vader experience live, this is a pretty decent way to experience. Its definitely one of the better live recordings out there.

Vader - Kingdom
Pavement Music, 1998
Genre: Death Metal

1. Creatures of Light and Darkness
2. Breath of Centuries
3. Kingdom
4. Anamnesis
5. Inhuman Disaster Mix
6. Quicksilver Blood Mix

Following the incredible release of "Black to the Blind" Vader followed things up with another EP called "Kingdom". Like "Sothis" this has some great material on it. It comes with, technically, only two new songs. The opening of which "Creatures of Light and Darkness" seems like something that speaks to the future of Vader. If you thought "Black to the Blind" was punishing and intense at times, you are in store for a real treat. "Breath of Centuries" is a totally updated version of the song originally featured on "Morbid Reich", and this version is truly punishing. It goes way beyond the version that was even featured on "The Ultimate Incantation". The other original song "Kingdom" isn't very great. It's almost overly simplified, trying to focus on an atmosphere, that is undermined by the simplistic guitar line. The fourth track answers a curious question for us. If you remember looking through the booklet from "Black to the Blind" you probably saw lyrics to an eleventh song called "Anamensis", but for whatever reason it never appears on the standard version of the CD. I believe it's on the Japanese edition, but I think that's the only version. It seems Vader noticed the mistake and they make up for it here on the EP. Naturally "Anamensis" is an excellent song and truly belongs amidst the other spectacular tracks of "Black to the Blind".

After the first four songs things take a turn to something different. The last two tracks include the term "mix", but its hardly what it is. These really aren't remixes of the songs referenced they're flat out new songs with samples of the some guitar parts here and there and Piotr's vocal performance. Everything else related to the song is stripped away. In its place is some techno song that just doesn't seem to work well at all nor does it seem to be reminiscent of Vader's atmosphere. I can't say I enjoyed them... they got fairly boring after a while, especially with one of them clocking in at seven minutes, which is way too long to hold my interest in that style.

Vader - Black to the Blind
System Shock, 1997
Genre: Death Metal

1. Heading for Internal Darkness
2. The Innermost Ambience
3. Carnal
4. Fractal Light
5. True Names
6. Beast Raping
7. Foetus God
8. The Red Passage
9. Distant Dream
10. Black to the Blind

Here's where Vader's career truly took off. I remember people being very excited about this release and this really pushed the envelope beyond the style introduced on the "De Profundis" release. "Black to the Blind" is now a fairly legendary release and I was lucky enough to see them on tour for this release. This was really my first exposure to Vader and I've been a long time follower ever since then.

If you thought "De Profundis" was a heavy sounding album, "Black to the Blind" will blow you away. This is some of the darkest sounding Death Metal I've ever heard and I feel like Vader really changed the game with this album. Most bands went for a sort of powerful and intense sound, but "Black to the Blind" has an atmosphere to it, almost something you'd find in the realms of the Black Metal bands out there. However, there isn't a single note of Black Metal on here. Instead Vader have managed to take their blend of Death Metal with moments of Thrash influence into this new and haunting territory. The sheer power of this album seems to come from the core of Doc's drum performance and the drum production in general. These bass drums are some of the most thunderous I've ever heard in production. Peter's vocals are at a true high point here. He's really focused on creating a powerful voice that evokes a level of intensity like never before. I think there were touches of this approach on "Future of the Past", but "Black to the Blind" is simply dominated by this vocal approach.

"Black to the Blind" is simply put on legendary status. The guitar lines are intoxicating. Catchy, but haunting at the same time. It is the logical conclusion to the style being developed on "Sothis" and "Black to the Blind" will likely stand as one of my all time favorites for the sheer influence it has had on me and the scene in general.

Vader - Future of the Past
Koch Records, 1996
Genre: Death/Thrash Metal

1. Outbreak of Evil (Sodom Cover)
2. Flag of Hate (Kreator Cover)
3. Storm of Stress (Terrorizer Cover)
4. Death Metal (Possessed Cover)
5. Fear of Napalm (Terrorizer Cover)
6. Merciless Death (Dark Angel Cover)
7. Dethroned Emperor (Celtic Frost Cover)
8. Silent Scream (Slayer Cover)
9. We are the League (Anti-Nowhere League Cover)
10. I.F.Y. (I Fell You) (Depeche Mode Cover)
11. Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath Cover)

Like "Reborn in Chaos" this was originally released on cassette as well. I have the 1998 CD version published by Pavement Music. To many people's disappointed this is not a new Vader album. Instead is a release that collects a lot of cover songs performed by Vader. If you're interested in hearing what bands like Kreator or Possessed would sound like recast in the Vader sound, then this might interest you as it answers a lot of those questions about the early metal bands. Naturally, Vader does a really solid job on the material, since they're an exceptional band, but you can only listen to cover songs so often. This really isn't something that I would ever listen to often. Its something that I would only listen to once in a great while and I wouldn't be surprised if I listen to it three times over the course of my entire life. I feel like this would only be of interest to the Vader historians out there.

The one and only thing that stands out on this release is Peter's vocal tone. Here is where he seems to have switched to the more modern tone he uses today. It's this shout/roar combination at times and it harnesses so much guttural power that it just sounds impressive. He doesn't use it all the time and the vocals come across similar to what we heard on "De Profundis", but sometimes he hits this vocal tone that is simply excellent.

Vader - Reborn in Chaos
Baron Records, 1996
Genre: Death Metal

Morbid Reich:
1. From Beyond / Intro
2. Chaos
3. Vicious Circle
4. Breath of Centuries
5. Intro
6. The Final Massacre
7. Reign-Carrion
8. Intro
9. Decapitated Saints
10. Reborn in Flames
11. The Final Massacre
12. The Wrath

"Reborn in Chaos" is a re-release of Vader's demos "Morbid Reich" and "Necrolust". It is not a complete demo re-release as "Live in Decay" is not featured on the release. This was also originally released on cassette format, but the demand for the material warranted a release on CD. I own the 1998 CD edition pressed by Pavement Music. In preparing the demos for re-release I think some remastering has taken place, because the sound is a bit better than the original. "Morbid Reich" was always a pretty good sounding release though. So for those of you who missed out on the original demos, now's the time to catch up on some Vader history. This is really where it all began and its certainly much better than the "Live in Decay" material, so I can see why they don't see the need to bother with that material anymore.

Vader - De Profundis
Croon Records, 1995
Genre: Death Metal

1. Silent Empire
2. An Act of Darkness
3. Blood of Kingu
4. Incarnation
5. Sothis
6. Revolt
7. Of Moon, Blood, Dream and Me
8. Vision and the Voice
9. Reborn in Flames

It seems "Sothis" was a teaser for what was to come on Vader's next full-length. The new album is named after one of the tracks on "Sothis", but interestingly that song doesn't appear on this album. However, "Sothis" and "Vision and the Voice" are re-recorded on this release.

"De Profundis" seems to develop the "Sothis " sound a lot more on this release. Rather than trying to perform in the space of a Death/Thrash blend like their earlier efforts, Vader takes a step back and tries to create a whole new take on the performance of Death Metal. In many ways I think they draw a lot on what Obituary created, but they couple it with some of the more sinister riffing found on Deicide albums. Bring in the thicker guitar tone of Morbid Angel and it really puts this album together. This gives a really different feel to the music than ever before. They still have a solid infusion of Thrash Metal in their sound, so don't think that that is suddenly missing from the repertoire. Here you can hear all the familiar styles of the big German three and I even hear some Slayer creep into their sound every now and again. So, amidst this sinister riffing there's a serious layer of catchiness in the writing style. Peter's vocals are still harboring on a sort of Thrash Metal rasp, bordering on a Death Metal growl. Its an interesting vocal approach, but it doesn't have that much power behind it to really enhance the music. Doc's drumming is excellent, as usual, but the recording of the kit leaves something to be desired. His snare tone sounds especially thin and when he goes into the blast beats it sounds like a smaller 'tap, tap, tap" going on behind the scenes. Vader are clearly still trying to figure out the best way to produce their music.

In many ways "De Profundis" is a hallmark album for Vader as they are starting to branch out into their own ground, unfortunately they didn't really make the global impact that would come later. I think the fact that they were still working through some production problems and that Peter's voice wasn't garnering the same level of power in later albums is one of the reasons this can tend to get a little overlooked. However, it simply can't be ignored in the context of Vader's development, since it is clearly one of the major transitional frameworks for Vader.

Vader - Sothis
Baron Records, 1994
Genre: Death Metal

1. Hymn to the Ancient Ones
2. Sothis
3. De Profundis
4. Vision and the Voice
5. The Wrath
6. R'Lyeh
7. Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath Cover)

"Sothis" is the starting point where Vader’s career really started to be considered legendary.  “Sothis” is just a mini-CD and it’s their first studio recording since “The Ultimate Incantation” was released, and it sort of has a statement behind it that something new will be coming to the Death Metal scene.

While “Sothis” maintains that Thrash feel, like on “The Ultimate Incantation,” through a few songs, they have a new feel to the music such as in the title track.  It’s so much darker and sinister sounding and has this amazing presence that “The Ultimate Incantation” really lacked.  When “Sothis” opens with its title track you get this immense feel just transpiring from the music!  I think Vader at this point is beginning to really put it together on where they would like to go for their sound and aren’t just presenting a mish-mash of bands thrown into a pot and just playing at random.  Vader seem to have put real purpose behind this album, which makes it stand out so much from the debut.  “The Ultimate Incantation” kind of had a more random feel, like Vader just didn’t know where they wanted to go stylistically.  The song “Sothis” has a thrashier element that you can hear hanging in the background from “The Ultimate Incantation” material.  “Vision and the Voice” is pretty much a full on track with that trademark Vader sound as it would later be termed.  “The Wrath” on the other hand seems to be a left over track from the “The Ultimate Incantation” days, and doesn’t have that real powerful touch to it like the other tracks on this album do.  Between these there are filler tracks that just add to the overall essence of the album, which is an interesting thing to put together, given their debut didn’t have such tracks, so that was another change I thought that added to the overall power of this album.

Piotr has definitely stepped up to the plate vocally on this album.  If you’ll remember from my review for “The Ultimate Incantation” I found the vocals to be somewhat of a turn off.  Piotr doesn’t really have much of a guttural vocal style like many other Death Metal bands, it’s got an immensely unique quality to it and you will be hard pressed to find another vocalist that even remotely performs in the same manner as Piotr.  I can tell, from just being a vocalist that the vocal tone on this album has more to do with his voice than just studio production.  On “The Ultimate Incantation” I think Piotr was trying to be that guttural sounding vocalist, but it doesn’t work with him and the fact that he shifted on “Sothis” really gives a great effect to the shift in songwriting too.  Doc’s drums sounded a lot more powerful on this recording as well to me.  His drum lines give the music a great feel and add to the powerful guitar lines Piotr is writing these days.

The one track that sort of takes away from the overall album for me is the Black Sabbath cover.  Listen, I know they are a legendary band and influenced basically all the bands I listen to.  I personally just do not like Black Sabbath all that much, and I dislike the song “Black Sabbath” even more, because it just drags on forever.  Which is probably the whole point of it, but after such a driving album, this song totally kills it.  Maybe they should have covered “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” because that song had a better feel to it than “Black Sabbath” does in my opinion.  However, they did do an exemplary job on covering “Black Sabbath,” they gave it that Vader touch and even made the song sound so much darker than the original, which is probably what the trademark Vader and Black Sabbath fans will probably look for in a quality cover.  So if you do happen to be a fan of Black Sabbath, you will more than likely find this cover quite enjoyable.

In the end this mini-CD is a step in the right direction for Vader.  They are not sitting back and being lumped in as just a band that has a lot of influences, but doesn’t sound inherently different.  Well, now you have it, Vader comes into their own with “Sothis,” and you can see they are experimenting with their solid foundation in music to present a different realm of Death Metal to the world.  The lyrics are highly focused on the occult, which is a mantle few Death Metal bands carry.  Most just try to sound scary, anti-Christian, or brutal, Vader delve into a realm of the esoteric, probably influenced by the likes of Morbid Angel.  Sinister would also follow a similar lyrical path as Vader did.  Anyway, the end results is this is one of Vader’s must have albums.

Since "Sothis" and "Vision and the Voice" re-appear on "De Profundis" I'm going to linke "The Wrath" below for my chosen sample.

Vader - The Darkest Age - Live '93
Baron Records, 1994
Genre: Death/Thrash Metal

1. Macbeth (Intro)
2. Dark Age
3. Vicious Circle
4. The Crucified Ones
5. Demon's Wind
6. Decapitated Saints
7. From Beyond (Intro)
8. Chaos
9. Reign-Carrion
10. Testimony
11. Breath of Centuries
12. Omen (Outro)
13. Hell Awaits (Slayer Cover)

Vader certainly wasted no time in putting together a live recording.  Since they only have one full length album released the track listing is mainly material off that album, which should come as no surprise.  Basically all we have here is a live performance of “The Ultimate Incantation” with an intro and outro as well as an encore Slayer cover of “Hell Awaits.”

Since this was captured in 1993 and Vader most likely did not have the budget for a professional live recording, nor was the general sound board gear probably up to par in 1993 for a Death Metal band in terms of capturing a live performance.  So ultimately the recording quality is lacking.  Though it is quite decent for its time, considering the genre they were performing.  You can hear everything that’s going on, though I think at times the drums are too loud in the mix and overpower the guitars.  The guitar solos by far sound the weakest in the mix and recording.  The bass drum seems to also peak the recording from time to time, so it’s got a bit of static with each punch of the kick drum.  Piotr’s vocal performance on this live show was more enjoyable and better than the album’s recording in my opinion.  Not that it was captured better, recording wise; merely the vocal presence and techniques were better fitting to Vader’s performance, more so than on “The Ultimate Incantation.”

Overall for a 1993 performance this is an excellent live show.  It definitely shows that Vader can deliver everything in a live performance because their performance is essentially flawless.  I like the added intro tracks that Vader enters the stage on.  They even used the opening to the movie the Omen for their sequence before they played “Hell Awaits.”  A rather fitting choice if you ask me.  Having gotten this years after the actual release, I’m glad to see that Vader didn’t turn into another Mayhem, where they release three live albums to one full length.  This is definitely a piece in Vader’s legacy, but as far as live albums go, this is a solid performance, but the recording quality leaves some measure to be desired.  I’m personally not big on live albums.

Vader - The Ultimate Incantation
Earache Records, 1992
Genre: Death/Thrash Metal

1. Creation (Intro)
2. Dark Age
3. Vicious Circle
4. The Crucified Ones
5. The Final Massacre
6. Testimony
7. Reign Carrion
8. Chaos
9. One Step to Salvation
10. Demon's Wind
11. Decapitated Saints
12. Breath of Centuries

This is the first album that launched Vader’s monumental career in the metal genre.  By the time of my writing this review in 2006, everyone should have heard of Vader if they listen to metal in general, and I mean everybody.  They are one of the most well known acts and are ranked right up there with Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Entombed, or Obituary in legendary status.

This is a fairly tough album to sit down and describe because it often times switches between Death Metal and Thrash Metal, so there is a myriad of influences that you can say played a part in the songwriting.  Piotr seems like the type of guitarist that would follow the music scene quite a bit so he would really enjoy a lot of varying metal bands, and judging by the cover songs Vader later did, I have no doubt that that’s exactly what this album comprised of.  I’m not going to say Vader were doing something intensely original on this album as they seemed to still be fooling around with certain riffing formulas in an attempt to find their own way.  For example, you could say you hear, Morbid Angel, the first Deicide release, Kreator, Destruction, Megadeth, Sepultura, Metallica, and most certainly Slayer in this style of play.  Sometimes it’s almost impossible to follow the lyrics on songs like “Decapitated Saints,” because Piotr is spitting them out so fast and furiously.

Lyrically things seem to be influenced by H.P. Lovecraft’s writings to some degree and a general disdain for Christianity (which is a common theme in Metal).  If you look at the cover of the album you will see three creatures in seals and I think they are representative of some of the mystical creatures found in Lovecraft’s writings, and since I’m sure Piotr refers to “The Ultimate Incantation” in the album title, it is supposed to refer to summoning these creatures.  The lyrics also take some reference from the Necronomicon text and secret knowledge in general, which I’m assuming was somewhat influenced by the lyrical writings of Morbid Angel to some degree.

The one thing I didn’t like about this album musically is the vocal performance.  I don’t know what it was about it, but these lower toned vocals didn’t work with the Vader performance.  Maybe it’s because all the other early Death Metal bands tend to have more of a mid-range vocal performance with their Thrash blended performance and that seemed to fit a little bit better, but the lower toned vocals didn’t work as well for this performance.  Not to mention Piotr’s voice changed drastically for the better over the years, so maybe I just got too used to that type of performance from him and when I revisit early recordings like this, it sounds somewhat out of place for me.  One of the other names that got made with this album was Doc, because it showed that the land of Poland was producing some top notch Death Metal drummers in the making that could meet the greats of the United States and the rest of Europe as a whole.

Overall, this is an impressive beginning for Vader and it really thrust them into the world of Death Metal and made a quick name for this band.  People started paying attention to what was coming from them, but I dare say that they really didn’t get super noticed until they released “Sothis,” which was what truly proved to the world that Vader had something different to show everyone out there in the realms of Death Metal.

Vader - Morbid Reich
Carnage Records, 1990
Genre: Death/Thrash Metal

1. From Beyond (Intro)
2. Chaos
3. Vicious Circle
4. Breath of Centuries
5. The Final Massacre
6. Reign-Carrion

Here begins Vader's real transition out of Thrash and more into the realms of Death Metal. Everything is heavier and faster this time around. This also marks the date when Vader got a fairly proper studio recording. This is where we really got serious proof that Vader truly had something different and powerful to offer the world. They were even doing things fairly different from the American Death Metal and Swedish Death Metal bands at the time. The closest similarity is probably Morbid Angel, who was playing a fast Thrash/Death combination around the same time. However, Vader was a bit more on par with Deicide because Piotr's sinister style of riffing, but Vader still had that unbridled Possessed feel to their music to me.

"Morbid Reich" comes as a pro-printed tape with a nice colorful booklet. The professional quality lends us to think the music will be more so and Vader certainly delivers on that fact. Here we also see the modern Vader logo for the first time as well. All of this sets us up for some new devastating material. "Morbid Reich" is where Piotr started to transition into the more standard Death Metal vocals, even though I find he has a fairly atypical voice and you can really tell his vocals versus other Death Metal bands. However, during this time, you could tell he was just getting used to the concept of growling styled vocals. Perhaps it's the production, but the guitar tone feels far thicker than any of the other Vader material we've ever heard. I feel like they're taken a note from the book of Nihilist on making their guitar tone sound even more crushing. Doc's drumming has also been completely amplified. We knew from "Necrolust" that he could play extremely fast, but on here we distinctly hear that he can pull off some seriously technical arrangements. This is quickly launching him into one of the more talented drummers I've ever heard. He would hold this throne for his entire career, being one of my favorite drummers in the extreme metal scene.

Every single track on "Morbid Reich" is hard hitting and well composed. It's no secret why every single one of these tracks wound up on their debut full length! They've even made some subtle changes to songs like "The Final Massacre", which feels much more powerful than what we heard on "Necrolust". It's no surprise why Vader were immediately picked up to release a full-length upon hearing "Morbid Reich". Here begins a long and promising studio career from one of the worlds most respected Death Metal bands. If you are lucky enough to find an original copy of this tape, I recommend getting this excellent piece of history for a collection. They have certainly come a long way from the days of "Live in Decay"!

Vader - Necrolust
Self-Released, 1989
Genre: Thrash/Death Metal

1. Decapitated Saints
2. Reborn in Flames
3. The Final Massacre
4. The Wrath

Here's the basic incarnation of Vader that would span over two decades. The duo of Piotr on Vocals/Guitar with Doc on drums would turn out to be one of the fiercest forces in the genre of Death Metal. Sadly Doc would not live for the entire life of the band. However, we look back at this historical footnote where Piotr was forced to take over the vocal duties after already taking over the guitar duties during the "Live in Decay" era. A new drummer was needed so Docent was recruited from the Polish hardcore scene, according to Vader's biography.

"Necrolust" still retains a lot of Thrash elements that first appeared on "Live in Decay", but Piotr's search for faster riffs has amped up their writing already! Doc proves to be capable of matching Piotr's speed and we see he nearly hits full on blast beat speeds. However, that signature bass drum kick that no one seems able to reproduce appears for the first time hear. For some reason I just feel like no other drummer hits harder and more powerfully than Doc and even on these demo recordings we see how capable of a drummer Doc really is. I really think his skill in keeping up with Piotr allowed Piotr free reign to write ever faster songs. You can see this show up with "The Final Massacre", which is probably one of the best songs on this demo. It's extremely fast and hard hitting Thrash! It's hard to believe that this was being done in 1989, because I feel like this is how more modern Thrash bands sound today. Piotr's vocals are interesting as well. He uses that blend between harsh vocals and clean, which is fairly common in Thrash, but I think his vocals are a little more harsh.

As usual a must hear of classic Vader history. I realize these are highly sought after collectors items and people will miss out on the hilarious thanks list. Seriously, every thank you section has a title. "Skull Crushin' Flesh Rippin' Mega Great Thanxx to those Zombies:", "Limb Slicin' Skin Meltin' Giant Gory Thanxxx to:" and "Mind Devastating Splattering Huge Thanxxx to:" is not what I was expecting to read. At first glance I thought they might be lyrics... but these are all "thank you" lists. The old pictures of the band are interesting to look at too, despite their hard to see xerox quality. A truly classic demo!

Vader - Live in Decay
Self-Released, 1988
Genre: Thrash Metal

1. Intro
2. Satans Wrath
3. Till Your Death
4. Deathlike Carrion
5. Tyrants of Hell
6. Deathlike Carrion (Rehearsal)
7. Satans Wrath (Rehearsal)
8. Tyrants of Hell (Rehearsal)

Here's a really rare treat these days. I was lucky enough to come across a copy of Vader's "Necrolust" demo from 1989 and to my surprise it had a side B. Side B included this live recording originally featured on "Live in Decay". Unfortunately, it didn't include the rehearsal tracks, so technically I don't have the full demo still, but I am happy to hear this very early incarnation of Vader. This featured the almost original line-up. At this time Piotr (known as Behemoth during this time) was only on guitars and they had a different vocalist. This was also before Doc had joined the band. Prior to this Piotr had only played bass with the band, before moving to bass when the original guitarist left.

"Live in Decay" is a recording of one of Vader's first large concerts in Poland. This was when the idea of "extreme metal" was pretty unknown. Vader was there at the beginning building Poland's scene and would go on to redefine what it meant to actually play an extreme form of metal. This live concert was in front of about 5,000 people and is actually quite noisy as you'd expect. Vader played a fairly fast style of Thrash during this time frame, in my opinion. It is definitely built off of early Slayer, Possessed, Sodom, Destruction, Kreator, Celtic Frost and so on. All these great bands are clearly influences in Vader's sound. It would actually be a while before Vader moved almost entirely away from Thrash Metal in their sound favoring a much more focused Death Metal approach.

None of these songs were ever re-recorded on future releases and I don't find that very surprising. Vader's direction changed drastically in 1989 with further line-up changes. "Live in Decay" certainly isn't a great demo, but it is a very interesting piece of history. I do like it as a good representation of what an early Polish Thrash Metal show was all about. I think even during this time frame Vader were playing more intense and faster than some of the other genre mates of this era. So Vader was already trending towards the more intense even back at this time. Definitely a worthwhile piece of Vader history if you can find it.

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