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Sunday Old School: Vader

In 1992, Brutal Truth released their debut album, "Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses." Perhaps this was a phrase ringing around the minds of a group of young men nine years earlier in Olsztyn, Poland, who formed a metal band while living under Communist rule and named it, Vader. The group was started by bassist Piotr Wiwczarek and guitar player Zbigniew "Vika" Wróblewski, initially as a speed metal band, though they eventually progressed into a death metal sound by the time they recorded their first demo, "Live in Decay" in 1986. It would be another three years before another demo, "Necrolust" was recorded, followed closely by a third demo, "Morbid Reich" in 1990. The demo circulated around the European metal scene, selling almost ten thousand copies, a very impressive tally for an underground group from Eastern Europe. The success of the demo earned them a deal with Earache Records, who were known at the time for releasing some of the heaviest bands around, including the likes of Godflesh and Carcass. They first attempted to record their debut album at Sunlight Studios in Sweden, however both the band and the label were unhappy with the end result and so it was re-recorded at Rhythm Studios in England. The finished product was finally released in November 1992 under the title, "The Ultimate Incantation." After releasing the album, Vader was able to tour in the West for the first time, initially in Europe with Bolt Thrower and Grave and then in the United States with Deicide and Suffocation .

Following a breakdown of communications with Earache, the EP, "Sothis" and live album, "The Darkest Age: Live '93" had to be released under different record labels, something which would also happen after the band recorded their sophomore full length, "De Profundis." The album received some excellent reviews in parts of the music media and included a cover of the Depeche Mode song, "I Feel You" on the American version of the release. It was something of a success in their home country, where they also recorded the album, selling over seventeen thousand copies in two weeks. They promoted the album by once again teaming up with some of the heaviest names in death metal, partnering with Cannibal Corpse and Immolation in Europe, before heading back to the United States to support Monstrosity and Broken Hope. The touring cycle for the album featured no less than 250 concerts and concluded with the band recording a covers album, "Future of the Past," which paid tribute to the likes of Celtic Frost, Sodom and Terrorizer.

The band then returned to their hometown of Olsztyn to record their third full length album, "Black to the Blind," which hit the shelves in October 1997. Once again, it received great reviews from some sections of the media and the band’s profile grew further in their home country, when the album’s track, "Carnal" appeared in the Polish action movie, "Gniew." Touring for the album also brought them to new places once again, including their first visit to Japan, where they recorded a live album, entitled appropriately enough, "Live in Japan." They also recorded their first home video release, "Vision and Voice," while touring in support of the album, which was filmed in Krakow, Poland and released in December 1998, just after Vader opened for Slayer.

After lengthy touring and several releases, the band signed a deal with Metal Blade Records and recorded their first album for their new label, "Litany," which was released in March 2000. The record received perhaps the best reviews they had got up to that point and spawned a music video for the song, "Cold Demons." Further success came when the album peaked at the top of the Polish charts and was nominated for a Fryderyk Award for Hard and Heavy Album of the Year. Once again, the band toured heavily to promote their new release, teaming up with Vital Remains for a European tour, as well as shows with Deicide and Immortal.

They released a new EP, "Reign Forever World" in 2001, before heading out on the road once more with Cryptopsy and performing at a number of festivals in Europe, particularly at several Polish events with their countrymen, Behemoth, as well as embarking on their first headlining tour of the United States. This was followed by a new album, "Revelations" in 2002 which featured Behemoth frontman, Nergal performing guest vocals on the song "Whisper" and was another well received release. As always, the album’s release was succeeded by heavy touring, including shows with Decapitated and another video was made to promote the album, this time in the form of, "Epitaph." They then re-released "Vision and Voice" on DVD under the new title, "More Vision and Voice," before heading back into the studio to work on their new album.

This sixth album, entitled appropriately enough, "The Beast," would mark their first full length not to feature drummer Krzysztof "Doc" Raczkowski, who broke his hand in a drunken incident and was replaced by Dariusz Brzozowski. Despite the change in lineup, they produced another good album and went on to tour in the Balkans for the first time, as well as making one of their biggest appearances, supporting Metallica in the Polish city, Chorzów, to an audience of over fifty thousand people. Although things had been going well for the band, they were forced to cancel an end of year tour with Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death after Piotr suffered a back injury. This was followed by the tragic news that former drummer Raczkowski, who had been battling alcohol and drug addiction for years, had passed away in August 2005, only five months after leaving the band.

It was decided that the group needed to find a new home for their next album, partnering with the Swedish label, Regain Rec. and releasing the mini album, "This is the War." This was followed by a new full length record, "Impressions in Blood," in August 2006, which entered the top ten in Poland and also hit the charts in Japan, buoyed by the single, "Hellelluyah!!! (God is Dead.)" Vader once again teamed up with some of the heaviest names in metal, touring with the likes of Rotting Christ, Krisiun and Brutal Truth, before recording and releasing a new live DVD, "… And Blood Was Shed in Warsaw."

The next year, the band celebrated their twenty fifth anniversary by releasing, "XXV," a double disc compilation which spanned from their debut to "The Beast" and was also available as a special edition which included a bonus DVD featuring live footage from across the band’s career. This was followed by a new studio album, "Necropolis," released in 2009 through Nuclear Blast Records to a very positive response. They took to the stage regularly hereafter, performing with the likes of Marduk and Overkill, as well as appearing at a special New Year’s Eve show with German thrash legends, Destruction.

Inspired by the boost "Necropolis" had given them, Vader were soon back in the studio recording their ninth studio album, "Welcome to the Morbid Reich," which marked the first appearance of guitarist, Marek "Spider" Pajak. It was another critical success and saw them enter the charts not only in their home country and Japan, but also in Germany, France and Switzerland. As is the norm, Vader toured long and hard to promote the album, appearing at a number of Metalfests in Poland and are now gearing up to release their tenth studio album, "Tibi Et Igni," which translates to "For You and Fire." The album will be released in early June in the United Kingdom and a week later in the United States. Judging by the snippets posted online, this promises to be another slab of unforgiving and brutal death metal, made only the way Vader know how.

Vader - "Dark Age"

Vader - "Incarnation"

Vader - "Carnal"

Vader - "Epitaph"

Vader - "Choices"

Vader - "Helleluyah (God is Dead)"

Vader - "Sword of the Witcher"

Vader - "Never Say My Name"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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