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DVD Review: VADER – And Blood Was Shed in Warsaw

vader andbloodwasshedinwarsawIt's been a year since Vader's Impressions in Blood came out, and the album is holding up well.  And Blood Was Shed in Warsaw documents the February 12, 2007 show in Warsaw's Stodola Club promoting the record.  Unsurprisingly, the setlist contains four songs from Impressions, showcasing Vader's move in recent years towards greater melody.  However, the set includes selections from as far back as Vader's debut full-length, 1993's The Ultimate Incantation.  The old material fits in well with the new, and confirms Vader's status as one of death metal's most consistently powerful acts.

Like other Metal Mind live DVD's – Krisiun, Obituary, Grave, among others – And Blood Was Shed has top-notch production.  Seven cameras capture the action, including a flying overhead cam and one mounted on a track across the front of the stage.  The plenitude of camera angles, along with slightly seizure-inducing editing, keeps things moving.  Death metal generally isn't much of a spectacle (a nifty light show does pop up in the middle here), so this DVD looks and sounds about as sharp as it can get.

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The band is on point, too.  As Vader's bio points out, the group has progressed from being an Iron Curtain curiosity to a full-throttle death metal machine.  Powering the machine in recent years after the death of longtime timekeeper "Doc" Raczkowski has been "Daray" Brzozowski, who is flawless here.  His feet are lightning fast, and he pushes the beat seemingly effortlessly, with plenty of colorful cymbal work.  It's a shame the only camera angle of him is from overhead.  Nevertheless, his presence is very much audible.  The guitarists feed off his energy, delivering fiery but tight performances (Orion from Behemoth/Vesania also comes out to front a cover of Kat's "Wyrocznia").  This is a highly disciplined, professional unit.

Vocalist/guitarist Piotr "Peter" Wiwczarek is the unit's mastermind, which a bonus interview makes clear.  It lasts 25 minutes, which would normally be over-long.  However, Peter is incredibly candid about a number of topics, including record labels, his bandmates, Doc's death, and Internet downloading.  The interview is nothing less than a glimpse of the soul of Vader, and is perhaps the disc's highlight.  The DVD also includes videos for "Sword of the Witcher" and "Helleluyah!!! (God Is Dead)," both of which are visually superb.  It's refreshing these days to see videos in their actual fidelity as opposed to degraded YouTube versions.  Dark and detailed artwork by Brazil's Marcelo HVC wraps up this strong package.

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