Solitude In Madness

Formed way back in 1983, Polish juggernaut Vader are rightfully held in high regard in the death metal scene. A pillar of consistency since dropping their 1992 debut, The Ultimate Incantation, Vader keep on kicking out reliably strong death metal jams, with the past decade showing no sign of decline. Although Vader has dabbled with symphonic elements during their modern era, basically the core of their formula has hardly changed. Raw, ripping, riff-driven thrashy death is the order of the day, wrapped in slick production, adding a modern edge to their old school sound. Drastic changes are not on the menu and that trend certainly continues with the band’s latest platter of death, entitled Solitude in Madness.

Whereas previous album The Empire dabbled in more dynamic arrangements, Solitude in Madness goes straight for the throat, doubling down on the pure speed for a righteously energetic affair. With this, dynamic and more adventurous arrangements are cast aside, but it is nice to hear the band sounding so enraged, embracing their thrashier impulses. Short, sharp, punchy tunes create concentrated bursts of concise fury, exemplified on strong opening cut, “Shock and Awe.” The riff-centric “Emptiness” features some of the album’s most memorable riffs and chunky grooves, while the slick arrangement and blasting intensity really pops on “And Satan Wept.” “Incineration of the Gods” is another prime slab of barn burning fury. Propelled by a frantic drumming performance from the excellent James Stewart, later album cut “Dancing in the Slaughterhouse” is a tremendously unhinged affair, featuring robust grooves and ripping solos amidst the song’s frantic pacing. Such quality cuts highlight Vader’s endearing strength and presence.

Unfortunately, less engaging writing hampers parts of the album. Solitude in Madness features no genuine duds, only less engaging or remarkable contributions, hinting at slight wear in Vader’s seemingly indestructible armoury. Yet Piotr Wiwczarek remains an ageless marvel and his immediately identifiable accented growls and guitar work sounds reliably potent and fiery throughout Solitude in Madness. The guitar work of Wiwczarek and partner in crime Marek “Spider” Pajak is vice tight as expected. However, overall there is a weaker supply of memorable riffs in comparison to more recent Vader platters. However, numerous top-notch leads and solos, lend Solitude in Madness extra melodic flair and eloquence to balance out the savagery inherent in the execution.

Solitude in Madness is littered with punchy songs, cool riffs, and killer moments, yet the writing does not quite lodge in the memory bank as deeply as I would like. With Vader embracing their thrash roots in full force, the more adventurous dynamics and symphonic musings from their modern repertoire are eschewed, resulting in a less exciting, one-dimensional collection. Despite these gripes, there is plenty of fun to be had. Solitude in Madness runs on high energy fuel and the relentlessly speedy barrage and brevity work advantageously to the album’s compact construction, especially considering the deficiencies in compositional variety.

When all is said and done, Solitude in Madness is another solid entry into the vast Vader canon, despite falling short of the band’s essential modern material, like 2011 classic, Welcome to the Morbid Reich. Some songs tend to blur together and the writing struggles to consistently engage on a deeper level, yet the album’s compact duration, handful of particularly strong tunes, and youthful exuberance keep the flames burning.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
June 1st, 2020


  1. Commented by: K. Allred

    Spot on review, nothing Vader hasn’t done before, but I’ll be damned if I don’t keep returning to it. New album hits me like Black to the Blind did and still does to this day..great stuff and a great review. \m/ \m/

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