Vader - The Art of War
Regain Records
Death Metal
6 songs (14'33")
Release year: 0
Vader, Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

It is simple – when things get unsettled, reach out for something familiar. This rule works well in life in general, and it helps a well-established band to get back on their feet after a tragedy in particular (not to mention it helps a certain reviewer, me, to know what kind of music I am about to hear). Polish Vader experienced their share of hardship recently. First, guitarist/vocalist/founder Piotr’s spinal injury causes the band to cancel their US tour, then drummer Doc, having succumbed to his battle with alcohol addiction, leaves the band. And then … Doc leaves this world altogether (RIP). As Doc was on the mend already, Daray was admirably filling in first, and then became a permanent member, but I can imagine that Doc’s passing left a huge scar that might never heal. If I lost a colleague, who I worked with side by side in a narrow collective, I would have been shaken. And some metal bands are the tightest groups of colleagues you can probably find.

If you are reading this review I do not have to tell you who Vader are. If you are not familiar with these Poles your interest in death metal must be embryonic, but it is about time you have discovered some of the forefathers of the genre. In their pretty usual fashion Vader opens 2006 with an EP, the strategy they have employed quite often, their discography full of short EPs and MCDs alongside numerous full-length releases.

Since The Art of War is under 15 min in length I can’t call it the whole war campaign, this Vader output limited to just the description of one battle, nonetheless bloody and brutal, if humans were waging it, or totally ruthless, if machines were involved. Symphonic intro Para Bellum brings in the tension and anticipation of tragedy, leading directly into thundering This Is The War. Long time ago Vader has mastered the monstrous bass drum sound, squarely on display here, modern and powerful, even if wee bit unnatural. Guitars will pummel and thrash, but in the grind there is subliminal sense of melody with Mauser’s solo adding up to the insanity and rage of the attack. Lead Us!! follows this dilogy non-stop, its rhythms and riffs bound to break your neck headbanging. On The Art of War Vader seemed to pick up in speed more, compared to its latest releases, it still is no Litany fury, but the Poles now have a good balance of speed and catchiness.

Short breather Banners on the Wind allows to pick up the wounded and forge new weapons before reverberating riffs and melody of What Colour Is Your Blood? slams you again. Brutal and hyperblasting, thrashing all the way to the end, Death in Silence ends the confrontation with, what else, “freezing silence” and “death” – direct consequences of war.

Vader has traveled the long road and professionalism is breathing from every crevice of their albums. Not forgetting the roots but comparisons to Morbid Angel drying up more and more, Piotr is not afraid to see what other genremates are doing trying to bring Vader closer to the world of modern death metal. Very heavy and modern production, Behemoth-like bursts of double bass with superimposed riffage, Kataklysm style blasts (although not as fast) combined with catchy riffs, the vocals remain, however, the band’s signature, good or bad. Many would say that Piotr’s vocals are not really death metal enough, sure there is not enough guttural growl here, but he is actually singing, in his cavernous thrash manner, words coming out of his mouth being very discernible nevertheless.

The EP also has a video for This Is The War which many into computer animation will appreciate. Honestly, having listened to the EP a few times before watching the video I had an image of human conflict rather than robots, the video being quality in execution but too much teenager in conception.

Short, the EP seems to be a rather complete piece, so I will allow myself to give this a solid quote.

Killing Songs :
Lead Us!!, What Colour Is Your Blood?
Alex quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Vader that we have reviewed:
Vader - Solitude in Madness reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Vader - The Empire reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Vader - Tibi Et Igni reviewed by Jared and quoted 90 / 100
Vader - Welcome To The Morbid Reich reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Vader - Litany reviewed by Tony and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 12 reviews click here
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