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Monday 16 October 2023

A View From The Back Of The Room: Vader - 40 Years Of The Apocalypse (Live Review By Deb Myatt)

Vader, Vomitory & Skaphos, KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton, 03.10.23

Tonight was going to be a death metal onslaught with Polish veterans celebrating 40 years of brutality and bringing along Swedish counterparts and relative newcomers, from France.

First up were Skaphos (7) who gave us a mutated blackened death metal with pummeling blast beats and discordant riffs that certainly caught the attention of the early crowd. Their songs are a nightmarish vision of Lovecraftian beasts. If Gojira are the protagonists of Heavens soundtrack then these guys are definitely their opposing evil twin, the dark undertone of the music rising up from the depths to take our souls! The songs are well crafted, with tempo and vocal changes giving depth to their sound, in particular the excellent bass and drum sections. Overall a great opener.

Having been around almost as long as the headliners, Vomitory (7) have a strong back catalogue from which to choose from and tonight we get a good selection that covers their history, but in the main we’re treated to a number of tracks of the latest album All Heads Are Gonna Roll. They kicked off their set with the opening title track of the new album leaving no one in any doubt that Vomitory are as heavy and brutal as ever. 

Their style as always had a leaning to a more thrashy sound and this track is no different, with heavy guttural vocals more akin to grindcore. It’s interesting to hear the various stages of Vomitory on display tonight. At times there is a more black metal slant such as Stray Bullet Kill or full on Scandi Death Metal with Terrorize Brutalize Sodomize but safe to say they retain their signature guttural vocals throughout.

Onto tonight's headliners then, Vader (8). Formed way back in ‘83 when death metal was in it’s infancy, bands were coming out of the punk era and experimenting with faster beats, heavier riffs and extreme vocal styles, the more extreme the better, from the grindcore of Napalm Death to the darkness of Possessed. It was from this melting pot and a growing political freedom in Poland that Vader emerged, first a more thrash band but gradually developing their own death metal style.

The only original member is vocalist/guitarist Piotr "Peter" Wiwczarek, who takes us on a journey through Vader’s history. Playing tracks from the earliest EP in chronological order with a short commentary in between songs was an interesting way of showcasing the bands development, but the latest album (De Profindis), for me, has definitely seen them revitalised and I think the tracks from this album stand out from their previous releases. They play two songs off that album tonight, Silent Empire (my fave of the night) and Sothis showing that even after four decades you can still improve and grow

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