Ever consistent legendary Polish death metal workhorses Vader are just about to drop their second of three releases (preceded by Future of the Past II: Unleashed in the East and soon to be followed by The Empire on the 4th of November) this year. Vader certainly spoil us! The new 4-track EP Iron Times is a nice wee teaser that certainly whets the appetite for what’s to come in the future.
First impressions of Iron Times are good before you even press play. The artwork is very striking and different to anything Vader have given us before. The piece was created by none other than Joe Petagno (the man behind Motorhead’s classic covers) and very much resembles a Motorhead album sleeve with its iron cross and Orgasmatron-esque creature/machine hybrid. Perhaps the art is a tribute to the late great Lemmy? Regardless of its intention, the cover of Iron Times is a great piece of artwork.
The EP begins with “Parabellum”. A much more straight up death/thrash number in comparison to Vader’s more recent efforts (see 2014’s awesome Tibi et Igni or 2011’s Welcome to the Morbid Reich). It’s a short sharp guttural number transferring between a more classic sounding NWOBHM-style thrash riff and a simple death metal riff with a blistering guitar solo in the middle. It’s a simple but effective number that’s certain to get heads banging and mosh pits raging.
These ideas continue throughout the EP with “Prayer to the God of War” which leads more towards the thrash end of Vader’s sound. It’s a tad slower than “Parabellum” but it’s simple in-your-face headbanging riffs are certainly infectious. Penultimate number “Piesc i Stal” (Fist and Steel) is an all-Polish track that moves along at a more stomping pace. Another straight-up song riff-wise but it’s certainly effective and it’s shout-along “Hey!”s after the solo will definitely go down well with live crowds.
The last track on Iron Times is a cover of Motorhead’s proto-thrash classic “Overkill”. When coupled with the artwork, maybe Iron Times is part-tribute to Lemmy as well as a taster for The Empire? A little more uptempo than the original and featuring original solos, Vader’s version of Overkill stays true to the original yet features their own subtle touches that make it their own. Notably, frontman Piotr Wiwczarek’s gruff vocals also lend their rough gravelly tone well to the Motorhead classic and there certainly wouldn’t be any complaints if the band decided to attempt another Motorhead cover just for fun.
Polish death metal pioneers Vader’s latest EP Iron Times is 4-tracks of short sharp in-your-face no-nonsense death/thrash. The music is simple yet effective and infectiously gets the head banging through every song. It makes a nice contrast to their more complex work of recent times and is thoroughly enjoyable. Here’s to looking forward to The Empire and more great music from Vader in the future!
Score – 7/10
Iron Times is available via Nuclear Blast records on the 12th of August.
Vader’s upcoming album The Empire is available via Nuclear Blast records on the 4th of November.