THE ALBUM OF THE DAY IS…
Today I’d like to do something a little different with the “Album of the Day” column. You see, I spent the better part of the weekend listening to one band, and one band only… and I don’t know why it took me so long to discover them…
If you asked me why I resisted listening to Vader for so long even though I’ve heard time and again that they make nothing but kick-ass album after kick-ass album, I’d be hard pressed to supply you with an answer; thinking about it now, the only real thing I can come up with is that I can’t see the word “Vader” without thinking of a certain heavy-breathing sci-fi villain (which makes me a complete retard, I know). But this past weekend, bored and wary of traversing the 8 trillion inches of snow outside, I decided to dive right in and do some homework on these Polish death metallers. And boy oh boy, am I ever glad I did.
In this day and age of technological delights, there are two pretty easy ways to familiarize oneself with all things Vader. The first would be to visit the band’s MySpace page. There you’ll find such delights as the title track from their 1998 release Kingdom, a fist-pumping, mid-tempo track which puts it own unique twists on Seasons in the Abyss-era Slayer; “Sothis,” (a song the band actually recorded twice- the version here is from 1995’s De Profundis), which begins as pretty much the best melodic death metal song ever recorded by any band not from Gothenburg before shifting gears into an aural representation of complete chaos; and “This is the War,” from the band’s 2005’s ep The Art of War, which adds orchestral overtures to the proceedings that give it a black metal feel without sacrificing the band’s signature sound.
Once you’ve had some time to digest these streaming tracks, Vader has graciously provided a butt load of free MP3s on their official web page. Here you can download, amongst other things, “This is the War;” the lead single from last year’s Impressions in Blood, “Warlords,” which is fast, fierce, and absolutely MONSTROUS, like Vader on steroids; a pretty fantastic cover of Slayer’s “Reign in Blood” from the same album; or two tracks from 2004’s The Beast, “Out of the Deep” and “Dark Transmission,” both of which put just enough emphasis on traditional thrash conventions to make them more easily palatable to those who find, say, Deicide to be just a bit too heavy. But whatever song or songs you choose to sample, there’s just no denying that this band has never done any wrong, ever, as far as I can tell. On an almost annual basis, they put out quality disc after quality disc, each having its own unique personality while supplying the kind of neck-snapping brutality which makes dudes like me foam at the mouth.
Indeed, there’s much about this band which will appeal to those whose tastes don’t usually run to the more extreme end of the spectrum; they obviously owe a big debt to Slayer and other thrash acts, and vocalist Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek’s singing manages to be deep and gravelly while maintaining a greater range than the sometime-monontous drone of a Glen Benton or George “Corspegrinder” Fisher. That’s not to say that the guitar solos aren’t blistering and the blast beats not pummeling; it’s just that I imagine Vader would have a wider appeal than some of their peers (think more Carcass, less Hate Eternal).
Next year, Vader will celebrate their 25th anniversary. I know I’m late to the party, but I can’t tell you how happy I am to have at long last discovered this band, and how excited I am to continue exploring their discography. I’ve yet to purchase my first complete Vader album, so you tell me, Vader fans: where’s a good place to start?
My weekend Vader playlist:
“Warlords” and “Raining Blood,” Impressions in Blood
“This is the War,” The Art of War
“Out of the Deep” and “Dark Transmission,” The Beast
“Sothis,” De Profundis