The name VADER is universally renown. Not only from the Sith Lord but in terms of the metal community, the name is common place amongst metal fans, the Polish death metal outfit have led a sonic assault for over three decades. Now, in 2016, the band are gearing up to release album number eleven, The Empire, but to tide fans over VADER have prepared a brand new EP. Titled Iron Times, does this new appetiser from the legendary death metallers whet our appetites for the main course?
Opener Parabellum roars into life in an instant; through blistering riffs and a chaotic drumbeat VADER make their intent known. Clocking in at roughly two and a half minutes, the track replicates a whirlwind through riffs that ooze subtle influence of blackened thrash whilst the iconic vocal style of Piotr Wiwczarek roars above. With the standout moment of the track being a truly venomous solo, the speed in its delivery and conclusion is dizzying. Yet the sheer speed, whilst impressive, ultimately makes the track feel over just as you begin to gel with the groove.
Thankfully, things only pick up from there. Prayer To The God Of War is a classic VADER track with tasteful guitar playing and powerful blasts from James Stewart on the drumkit. Again, a mesmerising solo is delivered effortlessly but it’s a subtle change of pace which truly captivates you. As Piotr Wiwczarek spits his harsh vocals, the backing riffs add that extra level of beef to the track, making the track pack a powerful punch. Piesc I Stal is the stand out track on the EP, boasting enormous groove and slick rhythm. Through a nice and steady pace, the track is accessible but still boasts a whole world of heavy, with a truly huge chorus and chugging riffs, this is where VADER truly shine.
Closing the EP is a cover version of Overkill from legends MOTORHEAD. Paying tribute to Lemmy, VADER do more than an adequate job on the cover. The listening experience is peculiar as at times it feels like the two bands have collided; riffs nail the typical MOTORHEAD style but Wiwczarek‘s vocals are still his own. It’s a nice and subtle touch, paying tribute but still honing your own style and VADER have done a solid job at covering the iconic track.
Clocking in at a total of just 14 minutes, Iron Times is over just at really begins to sit nicely with the listener. It surely isn’t a bad EP, there is enough quality and stand out moments across the four tracks to please both die hard fans and newcomers to VADER. The EP’s purpose is to build momentum for the upcoming record and in that regard, VADER have accomplished their primary goal with Iron Times. However, for the fans, you get the feeling they will just yearn for that little bit more, one more solos or one more face-pummelling riff. Despite this, Iron Times is trademark VADER, a band that still can produce a devastating death metal assault. Iron Times can stand strong as we await the band to unleash The Empire later this year.
Iron Times is set for release on August 12 via Nuclear Blast Records.
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