The Cold Demons of Death Metal
CoC interviews Peter Wiwczarek of Vader
by: Paul Schwarz
I consider Vader one of the most solid death metal outfits still around in the world today. They've more than paid their dues in their just over ten year recording career and with 1996's classic _De Profundis_ [CoC #17] to their name the band are absolved of any duty to justify their existence. Vader have stayed alive where so many have died, but much, much more importantly Vader have remained contemporary. By this I don't mean that they have followed the trends that have swept through the underground, certainly not, but Vader have remained appealing to new listeners, listeners who weren't even into Metallica or Iron Maiden when Vader were peddling their 1990 _Morbid Reich_ tape through the international underground. What Vader have avoided so wonderfully is becoming a relic of the past trundled out merely for the pleasure of the scene's stalwarts. Still the band of the youth (though their old fans never abandoned them), and possibly Slayer's equivalent in the semi-underground death metal scene, Vader attract a crowd looking for something a little less cut up and dried out than Cannibal Corpse, but still with sufficient simplicity to smack bodies and brains flying down in the pit. Like Slayer, it's seeing Vader live that completes the picture; that makes it so damn easy to understand why they have the fanbase they do; that reinstills your faith in the power of metal, for fuck's sake. This year, the time of bunnies, eggs, crucifixion and resurrection coincides closely with what, to my mind, is a far more important event: the release of the new Vader album, _Litany_ [reviewed in this issue], and it is a fucking -beast-. I don't think the death metal scene has seen this effective, convincing or plain brutal a _Reign in Blood_-style speed and aggression crush in a long time. Tank obsessed metal maniac vocalist/guitarist Peter Wiwczarek helped me fill in the gaps as regards _Litany_ and what's been happening with the band since I (and David Rocher) caught up with them in Rennes last Summer [CoC #43].

[Note: Peter's English is not perfect, so sometimes the meaning of what he says may be ambiguous, i.e. don't take him too literally. --Paul]

CoC: You've been doing this for fourteen years and you still haven't slowed down? Is it still a drive to be more extreme than before?

Peter Wiwczarek: That's Vader's style, man.

CoC: Becoming popular, growing as a band hasn't changed your perspective on things?

PW: We never expected popularity or success at the beginning when we started to play extreme music, that would be stupid. <pause as I wait to see if he will continue> So, my friend, what do you want to know, because, by the way, you are the last one tonight, but, you know, I am fuckin' dead. I started at eleven in the morning and I didn't even have five or ten fucking minutes to take a piss. There were a couple of guys who got ten or fifteen minutes. It was impossible, so you are lucky because you are the last one.

CoC: The album, to me, it sounds like you guys have been listening to _Reign in Blood_ a lot, would this be correct? Because it's great, it sounds like you guys, but twenty-six minutes, ten songs? Total destruction. What do you think?

PW: Well, you know it's kind of hard to control because we got some problems with Doc: he was too fast in the studio, that's why we had to write two more songs directly in the studio. Because the total time was too short, it was below the limit: these mighty thirty minutes. But, by the way, I think that like thirty or forty minutes is a perfect time for bands playing extreme kinds of music. More would be maybe too much for a human being. Two minutes of Vader is like five minutes of someone else. This is so intense. You can not control the time at this intensity. That's why; what more can I say?

CoC: That's the idea when you did "The One Made of Dreams" and "North" and that sort of thing then.

PW: Maybe the Slayer guys, when they recorded _Reign in Blood_, had similar problems, maybe that's why they recorded such a short album, but still great, you know! I wish to follow them.

CoC: You supported them a little while ago, right?

PW: Yeah, in Poland. That was a great night 'cause we got a chance to talk to them, though not all of them. But Tom Araya, he watched our show, the Vader show. That was a big surprise for us and after that we got a chance to talk to him for a few minutes. He's a very friendly, very nice person, you know. Easy to talk to, with a smile on his face. <laughs> So, it was really great to get a chance to talk to him finally. Kerry wasn't in a good mood that time. He told us it wasn't a good show for him. <laughs> He played "horrible": what the fuck are you talking about? We also got a chance to play two shows with Testament in Poland and that was also a great experience. So we are now much closer, and there is even a chance to support them in America, at the end of the year, maybe next year. That was a good connection and those were great shows that we played together. Also, the same thing: a legendary band, but who were very friendly, not rock stars. That was great. It's good to know about that because sometimes, and this has happened lately, you meet newcomers who [present themselves] like big stars, so you cannot even talk to them. You know what I'm talkin' about, Paul. So, it's nice to know that the guys who are legends, who created metal, heavy metal and not just death metal or thrash metal, are so, so, so, -so- open for everybody. Still have the young spirit.

CoC: It's great when you go to a gig and it's like that gig in Rennes: just normal guys.

PW: Yeah, we still should be fans, fans of heavy metal, not feel like somebody special. Maybe we are kind of chosen, but we should feel like a regular maniac. We should be maniacs; fans of this music, like we are.

CoC: Okay, "Cold Demons", let's talk about this song. This is your song, right? 'Cause this is about your tank thing.

PW: <laughs> How did you guess? <sarcastic> Hey Paul, Paul. Yes, exactly, but this is also different, compared to previous albums, because _Litany_ is a concept album of one guy. Almost one hundred percent of our lyrics are written by Paul Frelik. He appeared for the first time writing the song "Silent Empire" on _De Profundis_ and later with more songs on _Black to the Blind_ [CoC #27], but finally he got his concept album. This is also Vader's style, the supernatural things, the magic, but maybe the difference is that there is more humanity in this supernatural world. On previous albums maybe we forgot about humanity: a very important factor when you are talking about magic, you know. There are two exceptions, "Cold Demons" and "Forwards to Die!!!". Those two songs were written by me, as I said before we had to write them directly in the studio because we had to do more songs since Doc was too fast. I tried to do something different so, my hobby, tanks; war machines; humanity and its hunger for power. We also made a video. We made it using many original shots from my collection except for some Vader live shots. It's mostly in black and white. It's very dynamic, there are so many tanks, so anyone who likes tanks and war machines will love the video. There is also me as the commander, of course. <laughs> It's going to appear on the first edition, the special edition of the album.

CoC: How are things financially with you signing to Metal Blade? How have things moved on?

PW: What a band needs, what Vader needs, is promotion, man. So to be honest, up until now we've got to where we've got to by working hard and playing a lot, touring. But to be honest, we've still got some problems with the promotion and distribution, and Metal Blade can change that, I hope they will. Until now, I've had a real TV interview session here, I've done fucking hundreds of interviews. Maybe I will survive this, but this is what every band needs. With the distribution: I think Vader will [now] appear in every main record store, and that's what we expected. Besides that, now I am sitting in the office [at Metal Blade Germany --Paul]. And what I see is just men who are very into metal. They know what they're doing. I feel it has been a great move and that signing the deal with Metal Blade is the best thing that's happened lately for the band. I think what's going to happen is going to happen for the better, for the band, for everybody, for the music, for the maniacs. Also, finally, our release is also vinyl.

CoC: Last time I talked to you, the guy from Yattering was filling in on drums, because Doc had some problems. That's all sorted out now and not a problem, I gather, but how did that contribute to the making of the album? I guess Doc must have been hungry to get back to it.

PW: Yeah, yeah, indeed. He had got a big problem with drugs before and that's why we had to do something. We still felt like his friends, but it started not to be his problem but to be the band's problem. And that's why we talked to him about that and decided to give him a couple of months to think about what he was going to do, in his life, to heal. During that time the drummer from Yattering did replace him but Doc came back at the end of August on the first date of a festival in Poland. We were talking a week before and he was really hungry to get back finally and he spent the couple of months drumming all the time, so when he got back he was in real good condition. I was so glad and happy to see him back. I think his drum kit helped him a lot, and, who knows, maybe saved his life. For sure saved big talent, and a great drummer. He started to work with new songs not long before we recorded them in the studio and now he is maybe in even better condition than he used to be. [That's possible? --Paul] So watch out on the tour. I can't wait to do it.

CoC: What exactly is "Wings" about? The first lines are "There have never been gods and devils, but there were people who were turned into them"...

PW: As I told you at first, what I can tell you and explain is just the main things about the album, because if you want to know the details you should talk to the author. But, as I told you, there is a little bit more about the humanity which has to live in this world, about humanity and his beliefs. With "Wings" [the idea is] that there are -people- who create the demons, who create the gods. Exactly like in the beginning. We've got something like inclination, the human inclination of being which started to exist. I think this is in general what the song is about. Of course this is all just the touch of a theme which is very significant in our creation. All the time we leave a real big space for imagination, so even if a song is written by one man who knows exactly what his idea was, he leaves space for the imagination of each person who listens to the music or reads the lyrics. So everybody can find out something personal, just for himself, and maybe that's why the response for Vader is so great everywhere in the world, because everybody can find something for themselves. What else can I say? Well, I can explain about Paul Frelik, why I decided to write the music for someone else's lyrics. Well, because I know [that] if somebody is walking the same kind of way, same kind of path, and of course it is not the same path 'cause everybody is walking/following his own and just his way, but if you know you are following the same kind of way, same direction, you know, there's nothing wrong with being closer and co-operating. I am proud to make music for his creation.

CoC: You're doing a tour in the States in May with Krisiun?

PW: Krisiun, Angel Corpse, Dismember and Hate Eternal.

CoC: How long is it that you're there?

PW: One month, after we finish the No Mercy Festival dates. Then, after the American tour, we're going to get back to Europe to headline with Vital Remains, Fleshcrawl and Rebaelliun. We're going to be busy, but there's nothing wrong with that. That's our destiny, and I am glad of that.

CoC: Do you like being on the road?

PW: <mmmms, thinking> Yeah. Yeah, yeah, I like to play live, that's the best thing that can happen for a band. Of course, if you've got a tour for three or four months non-stop, your body can be tired, but it's just body. <laughs> Like in "Hellraiser".

CoC: At the moment you tour very hard, you work exceptionally hard as a band. Do you think if the band ends up with commitments, family or whatever, that will change what Vader will eventually become, because you have to work less hard at it? Or do you think you'll keep doing it whatever happens, that it'll always be a part of you?

PW: You know, we're Vader and so there are so many who expect this extremity. So, we want to keep being this extreme band as long as we are able to do that. And as long as we are going to be useful for those guys. As long as people will need this kind of extreme music, and as long as it will be alive, Vader will be alive.

(article submitted 25/5/2000)


CHATS
10/12/1999 P Schwarz /
D Rocher
Vader: Cutline
10/16/1997 P Schwarz Vader: Within the Dark Lord'S Silent Empire
ALBUMS
11/1/2011 A McKay 9.5 Vader - Welcome to the Morbid Reich
9/8/2009 J Smit 7 Vader - Necropolis
10/5/2006 J Smit 8 Vader - Impressions in Blood
1/2/2006 J Smit 8 Vader - The Art of War
10/31/2004 J Smit 7 Vader - The Beast
4/11/2003 M Noll 9 Vader - Revelations
3/13/2001 M Noll 6 Vader - Reign Forever World
5/25/2000 P Schwarz 9.5 Vader - Litany
1/16/1999 P Schwarz 9 Vader - Live in Japan
7/8/1998 P Schwarz 8.5 Vader - Kingdom
1/1/1998 P Schwarz 9 Vader - Black To The Blind
2/4/1997 A Gaudrault 10 Vader - De Profundis
8/12/1996 G Filicetti 4 Vader - Sothis
GIGS
5/11/2008 J Smit Vader / Septic Flesh / Devian Pedigree Butchery
5/31/2005 A McKay Kreator / Vader Kreationism
5/13/2001 M Noll Marduk / Mortician / Vader / God Dethroned / Amon Amarth / Mystic Circle / Sinister / ...And Oceans / Bal Sagoth Baptized by Fire and Beer
8/12/2000 P Schwarz Vader / Vital Remains / Fleshcrawl / Rebaelliun Invadering From Across the Seas
8/12/2000 M Noll Deicide / Immortal / Cannibal Corpse / Marduk / Vader / Dark Funeral / Hate Eternal / Vomitory There's No Mercy in Satan's Oven
8/12/1999 D Rocher Six Feet Under / Mayhem / Vader / Enslaved / Cryptopsy / Nile / Thyrfing / Darkseid Facing the Breton Storm Season
8/12/1999 M Noll Six Feet Under / Vader / Enslaved / Cryptopsy / Nile / Thyrfing Pig's Feet and All Things Yummy
6/7/1998 P Azevedo Morbid Angel / Vader / Entwined Morbid Mayhem
10/16/1997 P Schwarz Malevolent Creation / Vital Remains / Infernal Majesty / Vader Something Old, Something New, and All Things Death Metal
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