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Vader - February 28, 2010 - The Bierkeller, Bristol, England

By: Tom Findlay

Necropolis hit the shelves in 2009 and has had time to let its intent known; now it’s time for the death metal machine from Poland to pound the message home on the stages of venues across the UK and Europe. The themes and ideas embraced and explored by death metal are notoriously cold and dark, so the Bierkeller in Bristol was the perfect setting for tonight's live proceeding – gloomy as the abyss and colder than a glacier's gonads.

Divine Chaos are a demo stage band, and out of the three they are the locals – even if Slough is nearly 100 miles down the M4. Singer Benny F is obviously not short on energy – bounding around in circles like one leg is shorter than the other, but eventually the punters hobble forward and become a little more animated themselves as they realise the blend of thrash and death, with some raging solos to boot, is hard to ignore.

As You Drown on record represent what modern Swedish death metal should sound like. Not a far cry from the likes of Coldworker. On the stage the whole thing is mired by the 'core breakdowns – getting a little tiresome now hearing the same thing slightly altered over and over again, and hence losing its impact. This is especially true when made the focus of the show. Vocalist Henrik Blomqvist announces in ever so slightly broken English, that, “If you ever had thoughts about banging your head in your life – the time is fucking now!” This is true, Vader were up next!

Plenty of pit-worthy material here tonight, but with a more sober and Monday morning apprehensive crowd, the only real movement was for a couple of songs in the middle of Vader's set. The Poles playing a time-restricted set, split down the middle by a short interlude of deep blue lighting and a fuckton of dry ice. Nevertheless, with Vader's songs hardly being epic (rarely past the 5-minute mark) and incisively vicious – this became less of a drawback.

The ominous figure of Peter Wiwczarek loomed behind a metal mic stand resembling a human ribcage, whilst he and his horde delivered essential metal anthems such as “Silent Empire,” “Carnal,” “Wings” and “Dark Age.” This gig felt fairly intimate, as many of the crowd must have been long time Vader dedicators, coming along on a cold Sunday night – and the result was a passionate set of classics and newer songs by a very important and virile member of the death metal elite.


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