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Vader - Solitude in Madness

Solitude in Madness
by Chris Hawkins at 10 May 2020, 4:14 PM

One of the most memorable shows I’ve ever attended was the über Death Metal tour featuring INCANTATION, VADER, and headliners, MORBID ANGEL.  While MORBID ANGEL has always been the pinnacle of the genre for me (at least the David Vincent albums), it was VADER who made the most lasting impression in the live setting.  Theirs was nothing short of a truly volatile, visceral approach as displayed by the sheer mayhem that ensued in the crowd.  A few years later, it was while watching them perform a second time that I first saw the wall of death, a mass of a dozen or so rabid fans with locked arms plowing through the crowd while others dispersed throughout were proudly waving Polish flags amidst the ensuing mayhem.  Yes, VADER is the SLAYER of Death Metal evoking sheer chaos in their audience.  It is hard to believe the band will soon mark their fortieth anniversary in a mere three years.  Their earlier albums, while jarring in their own right, unfortunately failed to replicate the intensity of their stunning live performances.  Over the years, though, this issue was addressed as technology improved and their latest, “Solitude in Madness,” marks their fifteenth full-length.  Any fan of the band, old or new, is certain to rabidly devour its eleven songs.

Shock and Awe,” perfectly titled, kicks things off with a barrage of bombastic artillery fire!  Peter and the boys remind us all that they own Polish Death Metal.  At just over two minutes in length, it is a precise, pinpoint detonation aimed at the nucleus of adrenaline-fueled activity.  As always, there is the careful balance of melody and brutality at play here, a balance that amounts to a more listenable experience as the music benefits from the ebb and flow created.

The fourth track, “Incineration of the Gods,” starts with a barrage of double bass with a flanger effect.  By the time the riffs are introduced, the gates are thrown wide open.  Yet again, VADER displays that perfect synthesis of Thrash and Death Metal.  The articulation of the riffs is so very precise that there is never an errant note lost in the mix.  That ability to make every note equal in importance is the mark of musical greatness and maturity.  “Sanctification Denied” follows and is yet another banger with its precise riffing and supreme groove.  There is a manic vibe at play as the two guitars interweave their intricacies.

The production presents a band at the top of their game.  Armed with a stout drum sound, a solid bedrock creates the foundation from the ground up.  The bass tone is edgy with just a bit of dirt and tons of presence and punch.  Of course, this is Death Metal and it is all about the riff.  The guitar sound is classic VADER, a bridge between old school Metal roots and a more extreme, Floridian take on things.  Tracks like the seventh, “Emptiness,” illustrate this effectively with its blatant old school beginning that morphs into a more aggressive affair.  Simply put, it is a loud record with a flurry of soaring leads, crushing riffs, and super-sized production.  Vocally, Peter has perfected his art with a highly discernible approach that sacrifices zero intensity.

At the end of the day, “Solitude in Madness” is not the most daring of VADER albums though it cannot be labelled as purely safe either.  It is a careful balance of nostalgia, brutality, and the extreme, an homage to their roots that manages to properly encapsulate the band at this moment.  The average length of the songs is just three minutes, lean, mean, and focused.  In a day and age when so many old school bands simply live off past achievements, it is refreshing to hear VADER still as vital as ever.  The well has not run dry nor does it show any signs of such!

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Shock and Awe
2. Into Oblivion
3. Despair
4. Incineration of the Gods
5. Sanctification Denied
6. And Satan Wept
7. Emptiness
8. Final Declaration
9. Dancing in the Slaughterhouse
10. Stigma of Divinity
11. Bones
Peter - Guitars, Vocals
Spider – Guitars
Hal - Bass
James Stewart – Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast


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