Vader - Impressions in Blood
Regain Records
Death Metal
11 songs (37'16")
Release year: 2006
Vader, Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex
Major event

It would be interesting to see if others will have the thought that has been eating at my brain while listening to Vader’s latest Impressions in Blood. Does it necessarily mean that when an extreme metal band is continuing to advance their creed in a professional way they are automatically on their way to exit the underground? You could not ask this question about a random band, but it is certainly legitimate when you have been around for 20 years and your demo (!!) sold 10,000 copies. Vader are a professional band - this can be stated without hesitation. When you helped to shape a metal style, when you have a sound identified with your band’s name, when you tour the world performing 200 shows a year, when you live off your music – then you are a professional band. And it seems that Vader has been listening to a collective voice of their fanbase, just as many professionals with a following do. Keep the little symphonic elements, use modern production methods, even a synthesizer is allowed, but bring back the speed, thrash and acerbic feeling of De Profundis and Litany.

I will not insult your intelligence to tell you who Vader are. You do not like death metal if you are missing Vader from your collection. And with all the full-lengths, EPs, live albums and singles these Poles have something like 20 individual recordings to choose from. As of late, the band went through some trying times, long-time drummer Doc tragically passing away, but also 2004 The Beast not pleasing everyone among Vader’s faithful. Maybe even more worrisome, the band has been steadily losing steam for a while. A statement was needed by Peter & Co that Daray is an answer in a drumstool, but most importantly that 21st century death metal still needs Vader in its ranks. The first concern is completely dismissed after Impressions in Blood, Daray removing all doubts. The album itself is also a strong proclamation about a return to form.

After short symphonic intro Between Day and Night, the first riff of Shadow Fear is practically that statement – it is melodic and cutting at the same time, climbing steadily then crashing uncontrollably. I don’t know about others, but I needed to hear this from Vader, their ability to abandon the monotonous senseless blast or pointless plodding doom that has been taking over lately.

It seems that the band delivered on both fronts – there are many wickedly fast tracks on Impressions in Blood, yet the bullseye is hit with the slower ones. Raising the speed bar significantly, As Heavens Collide … and Amongst the Ruins allow the melody to peek through the blast, the band strategically pulling back as a predator crouching for attack in Amongst the Ruins, or starting the instant mosh-pit with the slower headbanging portion of As Heavens Collide …, otherwise a short violent number. The band does really good with the unexpected tempo changes on Impressions in Blood, the speed blast of Shadow Fear slowing down to your-body-dragged-over-coals breakdown. When you least expect it Daray plays very much a Moonspell drum solo on As Heavens Collide … and finishes rabid Field of Heads in the similar manner. And when you think The Book might be another symphonic closeout it develops into a mid-tempo crusher with impending sense of apocalypse. Peter must have liked some recent Behemoth and Zyklon.

The slow brutal monstrous plodder Predator is a mid-point culmination of sorts, the band reveling in the groove towards the end of the song. This deliberate delivery is where the band seemed to make the most progress from The Beast.

A lot of things remain identifiable with the Vader signature. The production remains clean and bombastic, every cymbal crush is heard, and some electronic elements have been introduced. Mauser’s solos replete the songs with their corkscrew oddball drilling, but sometimes almost hinting at sorrow (Amongst the Ruins). Peter’s voice is its recognizable dry bark, the band also has a ready made single Helleluyah!!! (God Is Dead), this song breathing catchy menace through the chorus. And just like many of the previous Vader’s recordings my attention vanes when Warlords and Red Code start running together with their nods towards this strange blend of Slayer-Germanic thrash.

Back to the original question. Vader have not reinvented themselves with Impressions in Blood. They borrowed a little from their past and let some modern influences creep in. Nor have they opened a new chapter in death metal. They simply inserted another page into their own death metal chapter, the one full with steady and reliable albums. If you want to hear death metal done professionally, Vader is an easy choice. Impressions in Blood is a testament to that. It probably will sell well too.

Killing Songs :
Shadow Fear, As Heavens Collide ..., Helleluyah!!! (God Is Dead), Predator, The Book
Alex quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Vader that we have reviewed:
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
Vader - Necropolis reviewed by Kyle and quoted 82 / 100
To see all 11 reviews click here
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