Released: 2005, Regain Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
THE ART OF WAR serves as a stop-gap release for fans of Polish death metal legends Vader to tide them over until the band’s ninth studio full-length, IMPRESSIONS IN BLOOD, drops in early September. Containing four new tracks, two instrumentals and a music video, THE ART OF WAR sails along with Vader’s trademark sound bubbling through. If the music on THE ART OF WAR is any indication, Vader has gotten some serious inspiration after their tepid, mid-tempo 2004 release, THE BEAST, because this E.P. simply crushes. Peter sounds more fierce than ever and the riffs unleashed by he and Mauser are easily the best since LITANY. Daray’s drumming must be heard to be believed and the overall theme of war comes through in every track. Production is top-notch and the artwork is also extremely (and uncharacteristically) bright and eye-catching. Combine that with speed, aggression and a thirst for playing brutal metal once again, it’s good to hear Vader is back.
“This Is The War” booms forward with machine gun riffs and a subtle string intro. Daray’s drums are simply unreal and in combination with Novy’s bass resound like a panzer tank storming the frontline. “Lead Us” is a call to arms that charges through under Daray’s blastbeats and Peter’s punishing growl. The diving solos on these two tracks are short, to-the-point and dizzyingly complex. The two ambient interlude tracks fill time (the entire CD is under fifteen minutes) and are certainly reminiscent of war despite their more subdued sound. “What Colour Is Your Blood?” features a rolling thrash groove and the reined in brutality really shows that Vader is capable of more than a mashed-up onslaught of death metal slaughter. As a bonus, a strikingly-animated video for “This Is The War” is included (one version with war effects and one without) and the graphics really add to the overall feeling of the song. Think The Terminator’s futuristic wasteland scenes but with the technology of today to perpetrate the carnage and apocalyptic mood of THE ART OF WAR. An excellent companion piece.
Some may have written off Vader as the “old guard” of Polish death metal and assumed Decapitated or Behemoth was set to usurp their throne, but THE ART OF WAR cements Vader’s position as the reigning monarchs. Considering 2006 is Vader’s twentieth anniversary, it is amazing to see new life breathed into the band, too, especially after the untimely death of former drummer, Doc, who THE ART OF WAR is dedicated to. Hopefully that hunger will carry itself forward to IMPRESSIONS IN BLOOD because if it does, Vader can stand proud in knowing they are leaders once again.
KILLER KUTS: “This Is The War,” “Lead Us,” “What Colour Is Your Blood?,” “Death In Silence”