“Are you ready?” croaked Piotr Wiwczarek. “Time to die”
As chronicled in the pages of Decibel magazine, the Polish death metal headliner then lead his four horsemen on an hourlong charge – the kind that elicits too-close-to-home World War II descriptors: blitzkrieg, bombardment, annihilation. Onstage inside the three-story Rams Head Live in Baltimore (think a cylindrical ACL Live), Vader packed three decades and some 15 album’s worth of global rampaging into a fast, sleek, torpedo-grade summation of their entire career. Maryland Death Fest 2017 responded in kind.
“Vader, Vader, Vader,” roared the house of heshers.
Four years earlier in San Antonio at DIY holdout Korova, the Poles managed the same primal propulsion from the floor rather than a four-foot-high stage. At ground level, Wiwczarek lunged, crouched, and howled, the band behind him stoically following his path forward with grim, Eastern European determination. Extreme thrust met a universal chord deep inside a metallurgic maelstrom.
Vader’s most recent studio LP of original material, 2016’s Empire, bottles the same. Including the following year’s highly-rated Dark Age, a do-over of 1992 debut long-player The Ultimate Incantation, the group’s last decade of recording bonds an indelible summit. 2011’s Welcome to the Morbid Reich, then Tibi et Igni three years later, and finally Empire form a DM triumvirate perhaps unequaled in the genre over the same time span.
Empire in particular somehow smelts all metal – heavy, death, black – into a seamless whole wherein 50 years of aural ore coalesces into 33 minutes of unrelenting but still spacious sonic thrust. As such, it almost plays out as an audio illusion. Where does one subgenre start and another end? Empire finally sees follow-up this year.
“You fucking sick motherfuckers,” Wiwczarek told MDF.
Fri., Feb. 7, 7pm