Impressions in Blood

While Century Media and Roadrunner easily dominated the nineties with, with each label delivering their share of strong metal releases, the stakes have been raised in the battle for metal dominance amongst the plethora of burgeoning imprints in the 21st Century. Candlelight USA is leading the way. In 2006, the imprint has released more noteworthy, “true” metal releases than any other metal clearinghouse thus far.Consider Vader’s fantastic new effort Impressions In Blood, to be yet another coup de etat for Candlelight.

Not only has Vader been one of the most influential extreme metal bands over the course of their tenured, twenty-year existence, this Polish monster continues to redefine itself with each release. On Impressions In Blood, the group kicks up the intensity factor with neck-breaking tempos and a renewed vigor. Ripping lead guitar work from Maurycy ‘Mauser’ Stefanowicz and the testosterone-filled, instantly recognizable bellow of band leader Piotr Wiwczarek enhance the full, roaring “Shadow Fear” and the deeply blasting “Field Of Heads,” while the band continues to experiment with songwriting styles, adding tribal and groove-oriented passages that flesh out the record. Foreboding symphonic passages also make their way into the record’s introduction and the doom-laden “Predator,” a track that easily stands as one of Vader’s all-time best, in spite of being decidedly contrasting to the band’s more up-tempo, past favorites.

After receiving virtually zero support for their overlooked, previous US full-length The Beast, and giving fans a slightly thrashier teaser in the EP Art Of War, Vader has proven with Impressions In Blood that the band is capable of producing the classic feel that fans long for without becoming cliche. Their songwriting being both masterful and overwhelming, cuts like “They Live !!!” offer more power and adversarial authority than most acts in the extreme metal market today. The growling rumble of “Warlords” and the technical brilliance of “As Heavens Collide” each offer evidence of the sheer dominance of Wiwczarek and company, while the flurry of “Red Code” merges the old-school feel of the band’s early material with the benefit of years of experience in sonic devastation. Look no further than “Amongst The Ruins” for a killer portion of neck-snapping thunder. It’s songs like these that Vader fans thirst for, and the execution here in certainly sufficient to ignite the excitement of Legion.

In a world consumed in bullets, rockets, phosphorous and flames, Impressions In Blood is the factual soundtrack to Armageddon. Some twenty years into their metal existence, Vader has conjured up an album of landmark proportions as the group continues to rule supreme. This bitter monstrosity is unquestionably one of the Top 10 metal efforts of the year.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erin Fox
August 8th, 2006


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