Review Summary: At only 14 minutes in length, The Art of War's only shortcoming is its brevity.
have established a credible reputation in the metal underground. With 9 LP's, 2 live albums, and a myriad of EP's, demos and compilations under their belt, they've been more than active since 1990's Morbid Reich
demo. But in all honesty, their large discography and credentials haven't ever really grabbed my attention. I had no problem discarding Impressions In Blood
, as I found it quite substandard, but when I heard about a short EP entitled The Art of War
, I decided to give Vader another chance. Besides, if I didn't like it I would only lose 14 minutes. It seemed reasonable in my mind, so I decided to give it a spin.
kicks off the album with a fade-in intro. The song is only a minute and twenty-six seconds long, and nothing special. The album seemed to be taking a turn for the worse already with one song down. This Is The War
followed the rhythm that the previous track had set, and from the second it kicked in I have to admit, the song called for some neck motion. While Para Bellum
is simply an intro track, it works well in building up the following tracks.
When it comes to death metal, vocals are usually the deciding factor for whether or not I can stand to listen to a band of the genre. I wasn't expecting much, especially since I had previously found the vocals on Impressions In Blood
to be the main letdown, but for some reason with The Art of War
my opinion was swayed for the better. Vocalist Piotr Wiwczarek leads the metal ensemble with a more throaty approach than most singers. While I don't find his vocals to stand out in any way from legendary vocalists such as John Tardy, an advantage to his style is that the vocals are quite distinguishable and clear. With a voice unclouded by the distortion that many vocalists of the genre employ, Wiwczarek's method allows the lyrics to be understood for the most part.
Tracks like Lead Us!!!
feature some frantic leadwork, courtesy of Maurycy Stefanowicz. The solos are highly technical and feature a melodic taste atypical of most death metal. You won't hear any King/Hanneman-esque whammy bar wankering here. The production of the album is top-notch, rendering the bass audible even over the pounding of the drums. It didn't take long for me to notice that even the drumming is incredible. The standout track when it comes to drums would have to be What Colour Is Your Blood?
Dariusz Brzozowski's work here is brilliant and even manages to steal some of the spotlight from the rest of the musicians.
When it comes to consistency, The Art of War
won't dissapoint. With two filler tracks, you'll only get about eleven minutes of real listening to enjoy this, and it'll be over before you know it. Outstanding in all categories, The Art of War
is an excellent introduction to Vader.
Easy to listen to due to the length
2 Filler tracks
Short (but that's why they call it an EP)
This Is The War
What Colour Is Your Blood?
Death In Silence