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Vader - "Necropolis" (CD)

Vader - "Necropolis" CD cover image

"Necropolis" track listing:

1. Devilizer (3:19)
2. Rise Of The Undead (3:52)
3. Never Say My Name (2:01)
4. Blast (1:50)
5. The Seal (2:10)
6. Dark Heart (2:59)
7. Impure (3:40)
8. Summoning The Futura (1:05)
9. Anger (2:14)
10. We Are The Horde (3:10)
11. When The Sun Drowns In Dark (7:06)

Reviewed by on January 5, 2010

"Even with a few moments of broad ambiance, there is still an emphasis on fast, punctual songs that begin and end with guns-a-blazing."

“Necropolis,” Vader’s ninth studio album, features another revamped line-up and a loose concept that ties the whole album together. Vader has never been a group with steady members, but since the band is largely the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Peter Wiwczarek, the constant revolving door of musicians never affected the band’s intense brand of death metal. “Necropolis” broadens the band’s core sound with attempts made at ambient sound pieces alongside the standard aggressive onslaught. Even with a few moments of broad ambiance, there is still an emphasis on fast, punctual songs that begin and end with guns-a-blazing.

Initially, it seems like “Necropolis” is similar to previous Vader albums. Wiwczarek’s growls are as audibly vile as they have ever been, evil is the band’s best lyrical friend, and the riffs are as sharp as a butcher’s knife. “Devilizer” and “Rise Of The Undead” are potential future live cuts, with catchy choruses to chant along to and reckless guitar harmonies to incite circle pits a mile wide. The songs are much shorter this time around, with a few of the quicker numbers not even breaking the two-minute mark. This frenzied approach to songwriting lends itself to a rapid progression from one song to the next, with all the excess fat chewed off.

The two interludes, “The Seal” and “Summoning The Futura,” ascertain an ominous tone that defines a dark mystique to the album. The former is largely guitar feedback, with slow chanting building up to a stark collapse, while the latter is a cheesy call to the almighty beast of darkness. Both tracks are squished together with the weaker tracks of the album. “Dark Heart” has an awkward vocal approach, where Wiwczarek tries out a frantic, rhyming style that sounds out of place. The trade-off solos are a nice touch, but the vocals definitely halt the momentum.

“Dark Heart” is more the exception than the rule, as the rest of “Necropolis” is solid death metal with a thrash undertone, especially with the bile-spewed mayhem of “Anger.” There isn’t anything terribly out-of-place, sounding about on par with the rest of the band’s catalog. Closer “When The Sun Drowns In Dark” has a simple, one-note riff that is about as mainstream as Vader can possibly get, ending the album with a whimper. That isn’t a bad thing, but coming after a wicked track like “We Are The Horde,” it seems like a unworthy follow-up.

Even after a major shift in the line-up, Vader stays on track with “Necropolis.” Wiwczarek’s riffs and melodies are still potent, while his solos are screeching suicide bombers exploding in the night sky. The songs don’t screw about, avoiding a meandering pace by keeping everything tight and composed. The interludes were a solid idea, but are loosely integrated into the album, serving no real purpose except to create an aura of unholy matrimony that was already there from the very beginning. After 25-plus years, Wiwczarek and company still have a large presence in the crowded death metal game, showing younger bands that there is still a ton of fury left in the Polish juggernaut.

Highs: Blazing fast material, band still has an intensity that is unmatched, Wiwczarek's sharp harsh vocals.

Lows: Lackluster middle section, not a big leap forward on the songwriting front.

Bottom line: Vader's ninth studio album is an intense and brutal showcase wiith hints of creative progression in the form of ambient interludes.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)