Vader: the Unsung Heroes of Extreme Metal

Polish death metal veterans, Vader (named after Star Wars villain, Darth Vader), are the unsung heroes of extreme metal, and here’s why. Possessed and Death are credited as the first death metal bands, but Vader were right there with them in the beginning. They don’t get the credit that the aforementioned bands do because the growth process took longer for them. All three bands formed in 1983, but Death and Possessed both had their first studio albums released by 1985. Vader had only their first demo, ‘Live in Decay’ recorded by the following year. Vader didn’t release a studio album until the release of ‘The Ultimate Incantation’ in 1992. It took the band the better part of a decade of hard work to get the attention they deserved because the Polish metal scene in the 80’s was totally underground. Vader had the challenge of competing for the attention of record labels in a market that was dominated by English and American bands. Had this not have been the case, Vader surely would’ve been a major influence in both thrash and death metal during that time. It may have taken longer for their breakout, but it was certainly worth it. Since the release of their first studio album, Vader have been releasing one great death metal album after another, and like a fine wine, their music just gets better with age.

Another thing that Vader get no credit for is their influence on black metal. Venom, Celtic Frost and Bathory are credited as being the bands that built the foundation for black metal, but, in my opinion, Vader were definitely a part of that foundation, even if their role was minimal. If you listen to their first three demos, ‘Live in Decay, ‘Necrolust’, and ‘Morbid Reich’, you can definitely hear a connection, but they were just demos. If they had been studio albums, I believe they’d undoubtedly get some of that credit. Vader also played a role in laying the foundation for blackened death metal with associated acts, Behemoth and Belphegor.

Vader have been around since the dawn of extreme metal, and have been making brutal, groundbreaking death metal with elements of black metal and thrash ever since. You may be wondering which album of theirs you could listen to in order to get the best idea of just how great this band is. Luckily, Vader have made it easy for you. Vader released a compilation album in 2008 with songs from seven of their previous studio albums, two of their demos, and one of their EP’s. Depending on your taste, It could very well be the greatest one hour and thirty five minutes of metal you’ll ever hear.

Vader’s compilation album ‘XXV’ was released on May 28, 2008 to mark the band’s 25th anniversary. The lineup that year consisted of Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek on rhythm and lead guitars, and vocals, Maurycy Stefanowicz on rhythm and lead guitars, and backing vocals, Marcin Nowak on bass and backing vocals, and Dariusz Brzozowski on drums. From July 2007 to March 2008, Vader worked in the studio re-recording and producing 26 songs from their 1986 demo, ‘Live in Decay’, all the way through to their 2004 album, ‘The Beast’. We’ve all wondered what certain songs from various bands would sound like if they were completely redone later on in a band’s career after they’ve honed their skills and perfected their craft. Some bands like Testament and Destruction have done this, but with little impact compared to this album. From a musical standpoint, XXV has just about everything you could ask for: Sinister mood setting symphonic elements, masterful percussion (some of the most incredible drumming I’ve ever heard), aggressive high speed and chugging mid-tempo guitar riffs, fluid, fast-tempo black metal guitar stylings, blistering solos and brutal vocals. If you’re a fan of extreme metal, this compilation along with Vader’s entire discography is definitely for you.

Don’t forget to check out Vader’s latest release, ‘The Empire’. It’s one of the best metal releases of 2016.


David Yeager

David Yeager

Motto: Question everything. From Alexandria, VA. Love music, art, writing, weightlifting & the Redskins. Metallica, Pantera, Obituary, Carcass, Lamb of God, Volbeat, Dimmu Borgir, Dissection & As I Lay Dying.
David Yeager

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