So I found Vader at my local Salvation Army op shop (non-Aussies: an op shop is a thrift store). And by Vader I mean the Impressions In Blood album by Vader, the Polish death metal band that’s been around for decades.
I was furiously stuffing VHS tapes into my bag when I happened to spot this gem from the Vader discography. The Salvos store was doing a “five for a dollar” VHS cassette tape special so naturally I couldn’t resist enriching my personal film collection with quality titles like Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave…, famously filmed well after Bruce Lee had well and truly died.
Anyway, this Vader album was behind the front counter, hiding among the fresh summer hits of the ’90s and Irish party jigs compilations normally populating the CD section at Salvos store. It was going for a bargainous $4, so I had to get it.
Vader: Impressions In Blood
The Impressions In Blood death metal album is release number eight for Vader. For those who can tell the difference, it marks something of a stylistic change from the thumping, blast-beat-driven death metal brutality of earlier Vader albums. The vocals are now comprehensible (but they’re not clean vocals by any stretch of the imagination); there are fast bits and there are slow bits; it has some atmospheric synths here and there; and there is even some creepy ‘experimental’ drumming (on the track Field Of Heads) for good measure. It has a bit less to do with death metal than previous efforts like De Profundis or Litany or Revelations. Instead, it borrows heavy duty head-banging riff inspiration from thrash metal.
If you know what kind of subject matter Vader’s lyrics tend to deal with, then you may find it amusing that a Vader album was for sale at a Salvation Army store. If not, then see below.
My copy actually has this cardboard cover on the CD jewel case. So far, nothing too shocking. It looks a bit menacing but then again so does the artwork for Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave…
Now here’s the actual Impressions In Blood album artwork.
“Hey, that looks like something from Giger,” said the guy serving me as he went to insert the CD disc. Well… not quite. Where are the biomechanical designs? But he left it at that. Because if he’d seen the album track names and lyrics…
... he may have seen that there’s a track called Helleluyah!!! (God Is Dead)! That’s some serious anti-religious, blasphemous death metal right there. The lyrics to the track As Heavens Collide… roll with lines like “Religion, as opium to mankind / Oppressed by myths and lies / All bibles, written by the human race / Institution for the sheeps (sic)” (Polish death metal bands are known more for their mastery of sonic fierceness than for their grasp of English grammar).
For me, the discovery of a Vader CD at this specific location is kind of amusing, given that… WARNING: RANT COMING UP… the Salvation Army is at its core a highly organised and militant religious lobby group backed by an exceptionally slick PR machine.
This isn’t to say that the salvos don’t do a whole lot of essential good for those who are most vulnerable. It’s just that their moral code — derived from an interpretation of documents that predate the invention of electricity or the realisation that the earth is in round — thinks of you as less if you happen to be gay. And by “less” I mean you don’t deserve to live if, for example, you’re a dude who prefers other dudes.
If your dinner-date is nice to you but for no reason is an arsehole to the waiter, then guess what: your date is still an arsehole.
And a charitable organisation that is generous and caring to the most disadvantaged but is intentionally cold and cruel to a selected minority is still cold and cruel.
So I’m glad I didn’t mention anything about those blasphemous lyrics when I purchased Vader’s Impressions In Blood. Had I opened my big mouth, I may not have left the store with such fine new acquisitions. Instead, I may have left with nothing except a copy of Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave.