The Empire

Written by: RUB on 12/08/2017 15:53:08

Spanning a career that surpassed 30 years some time ago, the Polish death/thrash metal legends have managed to stay both relevant and refreshing in the mists of the many death and thrash metal bands around these days. Nothing has changed on that front either, since Vader sounds exactly as they always have if one compares this release to their previous efforts. But this is not a negative trade. They have found their own unique death/thrash metal sound in both drums, guitars and vocals that makes it possible to instantly recognise them as Vader. Sadly, though, they still have managed to swing and miss on some of their later releases. The latest output, “Tibi Et Igni” from 2014, was not very memorable as a whole, but I can already say that “The Empire”, Vader’s 11th full length album, is a step in the right direction.

With the lyrical universe still revolving around war, death and chaos, the first trio of songs sets the stage for the album. Kicking things off with “Angels of Steel”, a short and blazing piece of death metal, and we’re off! The guitars are buzzing, the drums are blasting, and the vocals are as raw as ever. Perhaps only “Tempest” from the first trio of songs stands out as one of the more forgettable songs, but the trio still shows that Vader’s song-writing skills are both catchy (that is: as catchy as death and thrash metal can be) and on a high level. “Prayer to the God of War”, maybe the best track on the album, is very infectious with its rather monotone drum pattern, but it works really well with the main riff. When the chorus kicks in with its rumbling double-bass, one already knows that this song is bound to spark some massive moshpits in a live setting.

Sadly, things are not pitch perfect on this release either. The middle part with “Iron Reign” and “No Gravity” flies by in a very forgettable manner. Just like it was the case with the previous album, it seems like this album contains some filler as well. Where “The Empire” differs from “Tibi Et Igni” though, is that it picks up again in a very strong fashion. With the combo of the fast-paced “Genocidius”, the heavier and slower “Army-Geddon” and the equally blazing “Feel My Pain”, things quickly get into highest gear once again. All three tracks contain both slower passages as well as the more fast-paced thrashy elements, making it possible to really enjoy the way Vader build up their songs and finally manage to explode in a solo n’ blast-beats inferno. It is clear that when they write good songs, they do it in style.

Overall, though, the album doesn’t quite reach the former glory previously witnessed, most recently with “Welcome to the Morbid Reich”. Even though the album has its filler, it’s still notably better than their 2014-output. The album contains good songs throughout its 33-minute running time, and that makes for a good listen. One has no trouble listening to it in its entirety, because most songs and riffs are very well-crafted. With this album, Vader underlines that they are not yet done. They can still write infectious death metal that manages to sound new and refreshing, and even though they still have some way to go if you dare compare this album to, let’s say, Litany, this is definitely a clear step towards their former glory.


Download: Prayer to the God of War, The Army-Geddon, Feel My Pain, Angel of Steel
For the fans of: Decapitated, Destruction, Behemoth, Krisiun
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.11.2016
Nuclear Blast Records

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