Consistency has been a word used in several reviews on this site the past few months, LAMB OF GOD's latest being one such example of the word's usage. Add long-time Polish death/thrash juggernaut VADER to that list of bands that consistently releases a quality product. "Impressions in Blood" is another in a long line of superb VADER albums. Like past discs, it is one that nobody will mistake for being anything but a dark and fiery VADER album. Whether it is Peter's deep and accented vocal style or the way in which the riffs are just a bit more brutally satisfying than the competitor's, the final product is one that will stand the test of time. "Impressions in Blood" is no different.
Like last year's "The Art of War" EP, the first for Regain (and Candlelight in the States), "Impression in Blood" includes the use of symphonic keyboard pieces to freshen up the proceedings, though not at the expense of the quartet's patented sound. For instance, keyboards are used in the brief "intro" and opening sections of "Predator", "The Book", and "Helleluyah!!! (God is Dead)", the latter one of the album's best tracks, thanks to its eminently memorable chorus. The latter song also includes an extended tribal drum outro that works exceedingly well. Also of note is the ominous spoken word bit during "As Heavens Collide…"
And with a couple of exceptions pointed out below, this is a fast VADER album, propelled mightily by drummer Daray (R.I.P. Doc). The tracks possess a meaner edge that recalls albums released prior to "Revelations", a great album itself. Tunes such as "Shadow Fear", "Field of Heads", and the aforementioned "As Heavens Collide…" are as speed-driven (save for the odd tempo break) and punishing as anything VADER has ever released, complete with spiraling solos and Daray's furious blasting and textured style. The tempo cools off for slow churners like "Predator" and "The Book", both of which are chock full of chunky guitars and a foreboding aura.
On the whole, "Impressions in Blood" is a nastier album than we've heard from the group in a few years. Whatever the reason, the sound is one of renewed vigor and hateful disposition. It is unimaginable how any fan of extreme metal wouldn't find joy in an album like "Impressions in Blood", or any VADER album for that matter.