Apr 292020


(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the newest album by the Polish death metal icons Vader, which features striking cover art by Wes Benscoter and is due for release on May 1 by Nuclear Blast.)

Vader is a tough band to review.  This, of course, is not because of how intricate or deep their music is, it’s because this band’s level of intensity and quality has been so good that “It’s a Vader album” is literally the review.  I love this band’s entire discography — I don’t think they have a single bad, or even just “okay” album or EP in the entire fucking discography.

That also isn’t to say Vader are a one-dimensional band.  They have nuance, and the tiny degrees to which they dial around elements of their sound from album to album make a big difference.  It’s interesting because at this point it basically means we have three types of Vader among which they kind of seem to bounce back and forth: Continue reading »

May 232019


(DGR reviews the new EP by Polish extreme metal veterans Vader, which will be released on May 31st by Nuclear Blast.)

It doesn’t feel that long ago that we were musing on the idea, prompted by Vader’s previous EP Iron Times — prior to the full-length The Empire in 2016 — that the group’s habit of putting out an EP just before an album release often served as excellent preview of where the long-running Polish death-metal/thrash-metal group’s head-space was currently at, and what sort of album we might be getting from them soon after.

It’s a serious consideration with Vader, because unlike many other death/thrash hybrids the group often aren’t a hardcore fusion of genres, where elements from both are clearly recognizable all the time. Vader have two methods of operation: They can actually be a full-blown thrash band, or a fully furious death metal band. When they mix the two, they often lean hard into one side. When they are in a full-on thrash mood, it is like they could’ve easily headed the genre as a whole, and when they go for the blast-furnace style of death metal played at high pace, it seems like they could do the same thing there. Continue reading »

Jun 252018


(In this post Andy Synn discusses the phenomenon of metal bands releasing remastered or re-recorded versions of older albums, and recommends two recent examples of the practice, by Vader and Hetroertzen.)

For all that we’re supposedly in another “Golden Age” of television, I know there are quite a few people out there (thousands upon thousands of them) who are becoming a little tired of the seemingly constant stream of reboots and remakes of supposedly “classic” (and some not-so-classic) shows from previous eras, under the assumption that some sort of ingrained sense of nostalgia will help sell them more than something like, say, quality writing or a new, interesting premise, would.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of these new versions of older shows are absolutely fantastic, and benefit greatly not only from the new and improved technology of today, but also a greater freedom to reimagine things which comes from a more modern idea of what television can be, when given the chance to do more than simply entertain. It’s just that, as you might expect, the number of lazy remakes vastly outweighs the more creative ones.

The same sort of thing goes on in the music world too, particularly in the Rock/Metal world, where artists with long-running, wide-ranging careers often feel the need to at least remaster, if not entirely re-record, material from their early days, if only because they feel that the technology or budget available to them at the time simply wasn’t sufficient to allow them to properly capture what they were really trying to convey.

And, let me tell you… I’m not entirely against this process. Continue reading »

May 312017


That photo up there shows the sight that greeted my eyes on Monday night while waiting for my ferry boat home after returning to Seattle from Maryland Deathfest 2017, but it also accurately represents my glowing impressions of this year’s fest in Baltimore.

Like many, I was disappointed to learn that MDF would be “downscaling” this year, eliminating the Edison Lot venue and having all the shows indoors at Rams Head Live and Soundstage. I also saw some grumbling on the internet (imagine that! grumbling on the internet!) that the line-up wasn’t as strong as in many past years; on top of that, Nightbringer was a last-minute no-show because of an airport outage in the UK.

Despite those misgivings, my own strongly held view is that this edition of the festival was a rousing success. (Part 2 of this post can be found here.) Continue reading »

May 242017


(Andy Synn (and other fiends here at NCS) is attending Maryland Deathfest XV, which begins a bit later this week, and here he names the five bands whose performances are highest on his list.)

In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a little event called “Maryland Deathfest” happening this week, and I’m lucky enough to be attending for the second year in a row.

As a result, my contributions to NCS are going to be somewhat… minimal… until next week (though I do have a little something blast-tastic lined up for Friday for you all), while I do my best to develop and nurse a cumulative five-day hangover/bangover.

In recognition of this momentous occasion, however, I thought I’d put together a quick list of the five bands I’m most looking forward to seeing at MDF this year – although thinning it down to only five definitely wasn’t easy! Continue reading »

Dec 162016



( The end of the year approaches, and to commemorate the death of 2016 our Norwegian friend Gorger has prepared a gargantuan installment of his series highlighting releases that we have overlooked.  To find more of his discoveries, type “Gorger” in our search bar or visit Gorger’s Metal.)

LISTMANIA is well under way. I still have some 2016 releases that deserve a mentioning at least. And that’s what I intend to do. Inspired by Islander’s overflowing-streams I’ll settle for a short conclusion of my own initial write ups. It’s not going to be easy, as I just don’t know when to shut my mouth. You probably got better things to do with your life than listen to me jabber, chatter, and preach all day anyway.

During December, I’ll probably gather enough material for a 20th round of this here series. When such a post will be published, is still up in the smoggy air. Continue reading »

Sep 072016

Vader-Iron Times


(In this post DGR reviews the new EP by the Polish legends, Vader.)

It’s not too often that we review an EP ahead of a full disc, but Vader’s Iron Times is one that I’ve been privately intending to get around to, especially since I would hazard to say that for metal fans, Iron Times really is a “fun” listen — and I’ll explain what I mean by that.

Iron Times came out in Mid-August, which is about the time I got in my first listen,  and with four tracks, two of which are covers, Iron Times is an unassuming release, one that is quietly understated with its album art — but the moment you press “play”, Iron Times tells a much faster, heavier story. However, it was Vader themselves revealing the album art to their new album The Empire, which is due out in early November, that triggered this review, especially since the two songs on Iron Times that are not the cover track or a brief Panzer X resurrection will be present on the full album. Continue reading »

Aug 252016

Ulcerate-Shrines of Paralysis


DGR volunteered for round-up duty while the oaf who usually does this was furiously scribbling introductions to premieres over the last 48 hours. Said oaf is now working on his own round-up contribution, which will become Part 2 of this post later today. Meanwhile, here are DGR’s picks for noteworthy new songs and videos that emerged in recent days.


If you heard an immense boom recently and had to look around and wonder what the fuck was that?, it was likely due to the release of a new song by abyss-dwelling death metallers Ulcerate, from their October 28th album Shrines Of Paralysis. Continue reading »

Dec 192015

Vader-Future of tyhe Past II


Obviously, we have been in the throes of LISTMANIA, and a lot more lists are coming next week. Between working my gnarled fingers to the bone getting all the lists ready for posting and writing about songs and albums we premiered last week, I haven’t had as much time as usual to peruse new songs and videos. But I did some of that yesterday and this morning, and of course I found a lot of new things I thought were worth throeing your way — excuse me, throwing your way — so much, in fact, that I’ve divided these recommendations into two parts. The second one will come later today. I’ll also have a Shades of Black post for you on Sunday.

I will tell you at the outset that I haven’t heard all of the albums featured below, only a few songs from each one. I’m writing about them now because I fear I’ll never get around to writing a full review. Also, there’s faster stuff and slower stuff collected in this two-part post, and I decided to arrange the music so you go back and forth between the two speeds.


In 1996, Poland’s Vader released an album entitled Future of the Past. That was the third album for a band that had already been in existence for more than a decade, and it included covers of 11 songs by other metal bands whose names are household words. Now, nearly 20 years after the release of that album, Witching Hour Productions has just released Future of the Past II – Hell in the East. It’s a musical celebration of what Vader refers to as “the biggest bands of the Polish metal underground of the ’80s and ’90s”. Continue reading »

May 272014

(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the forthcoming new album by Poland’s Vader.)

Can we just agree at this point that Vader is the Clint Eastwood of death metal? Clint Eastwood, in all of his films where he has appeared as an actor, has basically put out nothing but awesome movie after awesome movie. They have only varied in degrees of how good they are, but if I were to think in terms of a personal one-to-ten scale, Eastwood has never scored below an eight, even at his worst, despite (or maybe because of) the fact that his on-screen persona rarely changes very much. I view Vader in the same way; they have that Clint Eastwood trait of never changing dramatically, merely showing different shades and sides of themselves.

I mean yeah, the band have had their The Bridges of Madison County (The Beast in their case, which strayed into some slightly different territory), but the fact remains that Vader have been a band who are metal, war, and imperialism incarnate. They’ve done this consistently for years with inhumanly good results.

At this point, that history also makes Vader albums pretty difficult to review. Not because they are hard to describe, but because “It’s a Vader album” tells you what you need to know. It’s almost as if there is no point in reviewing their music any more because it has proven itself so remarkably consistent in quality, and it’s not as if they’ve ever taken a huge step outside of their box either. With that said, though, I’m enthusiastically rabid for Tibi Et Igni. It has been on never-ending repeat since we got the promo for it. Continue reading »