Review Summary: Solitude in Madness delivers exactly what we would expect from Vader. Is that enough?
Vader is undoubtedly one of Europe's strongest and most respected extreme metal institutions. Founded in 1983, with heavy/speed metal foundations, the band gradually evolved into a death thrash signature that combined the band's thrash roots, reminiscent of Slayer, with death metal's brutal approach, which by the end of the eighties was going full steam ahead. This outcome in its primary state can be heard in the band's first two demos Necrolust
and Morbid Reich
, the latter having even achieved a massive underground success with over ten thousand cassettes sold. In this sense, when Vader released the debut The Ultimate Incantation
they were already an unavoidable force both in their homeland as in the European underground circuit. From here on, Peter & Co's plot is well known by all true connoisseurs of the genre. Over three decades, Vader has become an unstoppable machine, releasing eleven full-lengths, among several EPs, singles, live albums and compilations. In short, a vast portfolio with a guaranteed place in the demanding European death metal hall of fame. Each one of us certainly has his favourite Vader album, yet in my opinion there's a triumvirate spread over three decades that reflects the band's DNA splendidly, namely De Profundis
and the almighty Welcome to the Morbid Reich
, which is arguably one of my favourite albums of the past decade. One of the band's well-known peculiarities is its immediately recognized sound signature, which has changed little over the years. A bit like Motörhead, if you will. However, even lacking a notorious diversity, Vader has always managed to grab their audience through its genuineness and consistency, as there are inert qualities that simply cannot be faked or manufactured. An attentive audience knows that.
As expected, Solitude in Madness
has no intention of reversing the band's artistic direction, on the contrary, it is a foreseeable continuity of the well-known Vader-esque death thrash formula. At no time does Peter get out of his conservative bubble, the tracks have neither stylistic subterfuges nor hidden layers, they're exactly what we would expect. Plain, straightforward Vader. Songs such as 'And Satan Wept', 'Into Oblivion', 'Incineration Of The Gods' or 'Sanctification Denied' are solid deliveries that are sure to please the band's legion. Of these, I would like to highlight 'Sanctification Denied's' final loop and the overwhelming 'And Satan Wept', easily one of the album's best moments. Despite the patent uniformity we still managed to find some contrasting elements, such as speed metal-esque 'Emptiness' and 'Dancing In The Slaughterhouse' that features a crossover thrash approach, which although not surprisingly different is still a contrasting detail worthy of note. Musically, the band is in good shape as usual, with bulletproof professionalism. Peter's rhythm guitar is still among the best of its kind and the solos have that sweet '80s vibe I love so much. As a matter of fact, everything is properly oiled as you would expect in a band with Vader's reputation, either musically or in terms of sound engineering, which guarantees the proper punch to the band's sound. Nevertheless, and despite all its virtues, Solitude in Madness
isn't among Peter & Co's most inspired releases, not for its lack of diversity, which was expected, but rather for the absence of memorable songs that could match classics such as 'Sothis', 'Go to Hell' or 'Return to the Morbid Reich', for example. A conservative formula like this one, which gives up innovation, needs to be counterbalanced with high-level songwriting. Something Solitude in Madness
has failed to achieve in its fullness.
Solitude in Madness
delivers exactly what we would expect from Vader. The question that matters is whether their devoted legion will remain satisfied with this creative loop for much longer. As far as I'm concerned, I will always be receptive to straightforward Vader, yet not everyone listens through a glass half full. Peter & Co should think carefully about their next steps, because in the blink of an eye fans may start looking the other way.