Poland’s Vader has been among death metal’s most powerful leaders for three decades. The product of mastermind and madman Piotr Wiwczarek, the band has overcome a rotating cast of players over the decades with Wiwczarek carrying the creative torch through it all. Now over 10 albums into its career, Vader has a stable line-up and is about to release perhaps its most powerful and cohesive record to date, The Empire. Over the last five years, Vader has retooled, adding guitarist Marek “Spider” Pajak, bassist Tomasz “Hal” Halicki, and drummer James Stewart. The new line-up released the band’s highly regarded Tibi Et Igni in 2014. This week, Metalholic caught up with frontman and guitarist Wiwczarek to discuss The Empire, 30 years of Vader, and take a look at the upcoming 25th anniversary of the band’s seminal debut, The Ultimate Incantation.
Tell us about the new album, The Empire from your perspective.
“I was listening to a lot of old stuff like the music that was inspiring me when I was a teenager, even before I started to play in a band. I’m still a big fan of bands like Judas Priest, Saxon, Motorhead, and Slayer, of course. At this time I’m pretty much open-minded, but I found out that about 90% of the music I listen to is the same as what I was listening to years ago. So from one side, the classic stuff and from the other side I was bringing back from my attic old tapes of Blasphemy and others, like I got when I was tape trading in the 80s. Many of those bands became huge. So maybe that’s why the new Vader album, The Empire is a combination—a balance between classic and furious music.”
The Vader line-up is finally stable for the last half decade. How did that impact making The Empire?
“The playing and writing is definitely better because we created as a team. Five years is the most stable line-up in the history of the band, so it means something. We have different ages so it’s more interesting, cause it means it’s not important how old you are. James [Stewart] is so young, it’s sometimes hard to believe that when he was born we were recording the second demo tape or something like that, but after he joined the band he gave so much energy to Vader with his drumming, with his passion to play. The same with Spider, the same with Halicki. Maybe the process of creation is no different than it was before, but this time working together has definitely given the brand passion in the music, creating it in the studio.”
2017 will mark the 25th anniversary of your debut album, The Ultimate Incantation. Tell us what you remember most about making that first record.
“The Ultimate Incantation was the culling of 10 years existence of the band. So basically all these songs you can listen to on The Ultimate Incantation they were created almost a decade before. So that was totally different. Of course that was a dream come true for a band from Poland, to sign a deal with Earache–a huge record company that had so many legendary bands. Actually, Earache, no matter what happened later, they gave us a chance to show up to the world and show that Poland is not just some shit, and we know about modern music even if nobody supported us. We just had to work four times stronger, more than anybody in the West for what we had. Of course the first time we were in the U.S. in 93, that was a great tour with Deicide and Suffocation for almost two months. That was the most significant for Vader in terms of promotion for us in the states and Canada. That was a very big deal for us.”
Check out the full interview with Piotr below, as he digs further into The Empire, and he shares what plans may be in the works for a North American tour in 2017 and what the band may have up its sleeve to commemorate the quarter century celebration of The Ultimate Incantation.