Vader - Solitude In Madness - Artwork

Artist: Vader

Album Title: Solitude In Madness

Label: Nuclear Blast

Date of Release: 1 May 2020

I thought long and hard about reviewing this album. After all, I’ll admit to only having a slim, passing knowledge of Vader, despite their legendary status within the extreme metal underground. The Polish band have been at the forefront of the death metal charge for three decades, loved and revered by many. And yet, despite my wide and varied taste within the metal (and rock) spectrum, I’ve never really been a huge fan of Vader. I mean. I rather like their album ‘Litany’ and I recognise a few songs when I hear them, but then who doesn’t? But what Covid-19 has done is give me the gift of time to check out albums that I might otherwise pass up for others to get their teeth tuck into.

Mind you, with a scant running time of barely 30 minutes, it is ironic that time isn’t really that necessary when reviewing Vader’s latest studio album, ‘Solitude In Madness’. And, based on the bulk of the music on this album, it’s probably a good thing it doesn’t last any longer. Despite my pitiful knowledge about one of the greats, even I know that the quartet have released much stronger material over the years.

The first track on ‘Solitude In Madness’ is the appropriately-titled ‘Shock And Awe’. It is a two-minute full-on barrage of power and aggressive death/thrash attack. It is fast, the riffs come at you like a tidal wave of razor-sharp violence, the leads are vibrant and actually quite melodic. As always, vocalist Piotr Wiwczarek spits out the lyrics with barely-contained contempt, whilst the rhythm section of drummer James Stewart and bassist Hal provide the necessary structure to drive the song forward without it completely imploding. The band are clearly making their intent and hunger plain for all to see, as if sticking two fingers up at those who might think that age has blunted their incendiary brutality.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long to blaze through the entire album and realise that actually, that’s pretty much all that Vader have to offer on this record. Speed, aggression and all-out death metal attack with a solid dose of thrash thrown into the mix. That might be alright if the songwriting was up to scratch, but it’s not. I know I’m not their biggest fan, but how can a band lose someone’s interest halfway through an album that only lasts as long as an episode of [insert your favourite sitcom here]? It’s ludicrous and I suspect that I am not the only one. If I am, I’ll bow down at the altar of Vader and personally apologise and accept that I will never ‘get’ them. But I’m pretty confident that I’m not in the minority here.

That being said, I do enjoy the likes of ‘And Satan Wept’. It feels odd saying that, at just over three minutes, it’s one of the longer tracks on the record, but it’s true. And that slightly longer length allows the song a little more room to explore that murky border that arbitrarily separates death from thrash metal. The solos swirl and wail, the riffs develop a genuine galloping groove ad with it, comes an intensity that is hard to ignore. ‘Emptiness’ delivers a cool headbanging riff and another great lead solo trade-off between Piotr Wiwczarek and Marek “Spider” Pajak that’s impressive.

It goes without saying that the performances of each member is incredibly professional, with no-one missing a beat in what is an impressively tight performance whilst maintaining a sense of devil-may-care looseness to some of the material. It’s just that the overall quality of the material is not that interesting as far as I’m concerned and it puts me in mind of ‘Back From The Dead’ by Obituary, which I felt was a poor record when stacked up against ‘Slowly We Rot’ or ‘World Demise’ for example. Put as succinctly as I can, I only have one or maybe two Vader records in my collection, and ‘Solitude In Madness’ will not be increasing that number I’m afraid. It’s ok, but there has been a lot better released in 2020 already. For a band with such a pedigree and legacy, that can only be described as being a little depressing.

The Score of Much Metal: 61%

Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:

Shrapnel – Palace For The Insane
Sinisthra – The Broad And Beaten Way
Paradise Lost – Obsidian
Naglfar – Cerecloth
Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement
Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn
Firewind – Firewind
An Autumn For Crippled Children – All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet
Havok – V
Helfró – Helfró
Victoria K – Essentia
Cryptex – Once Upon A Time
Thy Despair – The Song Of Desolation
Cirith Ungol – Forever Black
Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion
Nightwish – Human. II: Nature.
Katatonia – City Burials
Wolfheart – Wolves Of Karelia
Asenblut – Die Wilde Jagd
Nicumo – Inertia
The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Omega Infinity – Solar Spectre
Symbolik – Emergence
Pure Reason Revolution – Eupnea
Irist – Order Of The Mind
Testament – Titans Of Creation
Ilium – Carcinogeist
Dawn Of Ouroboros – The Art Of Morphology
Torchia – The Coven
Novena – Eleventh Hour
Ashes Of Life – Seasons Within
Dynazty – The Dark Delight
Sutrah – Aletheia EP
Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde
Myth Of I – Myth Of I
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion
Infirmum – Walls Of Sorrow
Inno – The Rain Under
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews