Vader doesn’t have the star power of other Polish bands on their labels (whose CD I just reviewed here), but they definitely have the talent and the drive after all this time. To give the reader a little disclaimer: I haven’t ever been a big Vader fan, in fact, this is only the second full Vader album I’ve heard and I wasn’t terribly impressed with the earlier one–though one never knows how it would sit today. What I remember is thinking that the band lacked a few things that made me wonder why I should even be listening to them at all. Apparently I was having a bad day or something, either that or Vader has had a phoenix-like rebirth from the flames. No matter what happened, Necropolis fucking rules and I’m stoked about it.
Necropolis is old school in several ways. First, it’s just old school death metal. It’s groovy, fairly technical but it’s not blasty or core-y in any way. It doesn’t have the “thick” tone and grindiness that so many have come to expect frommodern death metal. This is a good thing, as far as I’m concerned. Instead, these guys rock an old school sound with tremendous skill and, dare I write it, grace. Nothing on this album overstays its welcome, including the record itself.Clocking in at about 33 minutes long, Necropolis shows up, rocks your face and then is done before you have time to get bored or sick of it. Every riff is perfectly timed to stay just as long as it needs to, keeping everything fresh and fun to listen to. That, too, is old school.A lot of bands seem to have forgotten that just because you’ve got 80 minutes on a CD doesn’t mean that you need to use it all. Short records that leave the listener wanting more are often way better than a long record with tracks you never listen to because you’re moving onto something new after an hour.
Not only that, but the riffing is fantastic. There are only so many variations on metal riffs that one can possibly do, and yet somehow Vader manages to avoid the cliches and just fucking rule. From the mid-paced groovery, like the opening riff on “Dark Heart” to the mosh inducing riffs on “Impure,” this record is full of killer music that should make any death metal writer jealous at the pure skill and riff-crafting genius that was involved in the construction of this exceptional record. And I reiterate, the only track on here that goes over about three minutes and thirty seconds is the final track, which is nearly doom metal given the speed.
So, in case you hadn’t noticed, Necropolis is awesome and you should go out and buy it. For old school death metal fans, like the guys who really dig the classics Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation, and so forth, this probably won’t be an issue, but I do have one complaint about this album: anonymous death metal solos. Seriously, guys from Vader, write more interesting solos. You are not, nor will you ever be, Kerry King, that means that you don’t have to suck! Given how great your riff writing skills are, you should be able to also write really interesting solos. They do actually manage it on the last track on the album “When the Sun Drowns in Dark” has an amazing solo and a great lead. But the rest of the album is littered with anonymous death metal solos. They’re tedious and Necropolis would be a 5 out of 5 record without them.
Death metal has become a hard genre to review, in my opinion. With the plethora of core bands and other things, the dynamics and groove seem to be falling to the wayside in lieu of bands that can play fast and technically, but don’t seem to be able to write a really good groove riff that doesn’t sound like a hardcore breakdown. Vader defies the trend and has written what I would say is one of the strongest death metal records I’ve heard in a long time. Buy Necropolis, you won’t regret it.