Live at 1720

Los Angeles, CA

February 28th, 2020

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Vader hail from Poland and play an aggressive form of death metal that also incorporates elements of thrash and speed metal. Founded in 1983 they have had a long and storied career with a stable band line-up since 2011.

Formed around founding vocalist and guitarist, Piotr "Peter" Wiwczarek, Vader is fleshed out with Marek "Spider" PajÄ…k on rhythm guitar, Tomasz "Hal" Halicki on bass guitar, and James Stewart on drums.

Taking their namesake from the infamous cinematic villain, they have been equally prolific in the darkness department, having released a dozen albums and a number of EP's over the years, their latest being "Thy Messenger".

Often apocalyptic in lyrical nature, their songs cover the dark ages of man through the biblical revelations of the end times. They kicked off the set with "Silent Empire" from 1995's "De Profundis" release.

Blazing directly into a track from their latest release they did "Despair" from "Thy Messenger". All of their latest material have been super fast, brutal, and short songs with most clocking in at under three minutes but "Despair" is only about half that long - direct and to the point.

They did the fan favorite title track from "Black to the Blind" which caused the circle pit to grow exponentially, consuming most of the floor space in the large venue. They revisited the latest EP for "Grand Deceiver" before barreling into "Triumph of Death" from 2014's "Tibi Et Igni" release.

"Reborn in Flames" took us back to the "De Profundis" album before moving on to another crowd-pleaser, "What Color Is Your Blood?" taken from "The Art of War" EP.

"Sothis" was up next, making "De Profundis" the album with the largest selection of songs for the night. They backed that up with the title track from "Litany" which marks it's twenty year anniversary this year.

They just released a new single and it was time for "Shock & Awe", which is as aggressive at it sounds. "Carnal" saw "Litany" revisited before they went into the closing songs of the main set with "Dark Age" from their debut release, "The Ultimate Incantation" followed by "Wings" from the "Litany" album.

Vader departed the stage but were soon chanted back for the encore. The first song just said "War" on the set list so not sure if it was "This is the War" or "Prayer to the God of War". They followed it up with "Cold Demons" from their "Litany" release.

They left the stage once more but the audience was not done yet. They screamed for Vader to return and the band obliged. They played a song listed as "Witcher" that I did not recognize followed by their final song of the night, "Steeler" from their latest release, "Thy Messenger".

It was an epic show and great to see Vader again after so many years. It's been a decade since I saw them last and they have had a lot of releases in that time which the set list parted out fairly evenly with all the old favorites. The venue was packed for their return and everyone left happy with such a massive set and double encore, how could you not?

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