Impressions in Blood

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A full two decades into their career, prolific Polish death metal act Vader remain near the top of their game on the searing Impressions in Blood. With the energy of bands half their age, Vader flirt with speedier tempos than their usual on tracks like "Shadows Fear" and "As Heavens Collide...." Singer Piotr Wiwczarek is one of the few death metal vocalists whose guttural bark of a voice brings up no involuntary associations with the Cookie Monster, and on the album's centerpiece track, his growling vocals mesh perfectly with a riff of epic sludginess that sounds like vintage Black Sabbath played at 16 rpm. There are some changes afoot here, including an increasingly obvious use of drum machines (the coda of "Field of Heads" is nothing but an industrial-sounding drum loop slowly decaying) along with some Mellotron-like string synthesizers amidst the guitars, but overall, Impressions in Blood is, in the best sense, more of the same.

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