The day before their brilliant new album Solitude in Madness was released via Nuclear Blast Records, I was able to get about 15 minutes on the phone with VADER vocalist/guitarist Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek. We could have gone longer I’m sure, but I was on break at the day gig. Still, we had a nice chat about the record, live shows, the current lack thereof, and more. He’s a cool cat, so check it:
Amps: This new record is amazing, especially the way it opens with “Shock and Awe.”
Piotr: Thank you very much. That’s why we chose that one as the first single. It’s a declaration for the whole album.
Amps: Just under 30 minutes and each track pummels. You guys get in, bloody some teeth, then get out!
Piotr: (Laughs) that’s pretty much how we do things. I think 30 minutes of hard, heavy, and fast is better than an hour of regular stuff. More than a half hour to some people is boring and painful. Plus, the short album time hopefully makes you need to play it again because you haven’t gotten enough.
Amps: It’s been four years since the last full length (The Empire), but you dropped tracks and EP’s in the interim. You’re really good at whetting the fans’ appetite. Is that by design, or happy accident?
Piotr: You know, that was a situation where we were ready to enter the studio with new songs at the end of 2018. We knew that we wanted to refresh the sound of VADER, so we set our noses to the grindstone and went to work. But shortly after recording started it was touring season, so we recorded around the tours. We didn’t want to cancel any shows, so we traveled like a motherfucker. That’s why the EP Thy Messenger was released, because we knew the full-length album would be delayed. The songs on the EP were originally supposed to be part of this album, but we decided to leave that separate and start fresh.
Amps: Speaking of Thy Messenger, that’s a great cover of JUDAS PRIEST’S “Steeler” on there. How’d that come about?
Piotr: I am a huge fan of PRIEST, ever since I first picked up the guitar. They have a special place in my heart. When they released Turbo, then SLAYER released Reign In Blood, it felt like a progression, and I wanted to play heavier. But I still love both bands. Some PRIEST albums after Defenders of the Faith I needed to spend more time with to really get into them. But the last album, Firepower, is absolutely brilliant! British Steel is one of my favorite albums ever, and “Steeler” is fucking awesome. I was so happy when they played the whole album on tour. That song to me is a precursor to Thrash Metal. I love it, we all love it, so we were in the studio and we figured, “Why not?”
Amps: Do you have any favorites on the new disc?
Piotr: They’re all special to me because I put a lot of myself into them. I let the fans pick the favorites for themselves (laughs).
Amps: I missed your gig here in Philly back in February. I know it was sold out and I heard it was pretty insane.
Piotr: We hadn’t been there in years. It was great and absolutely crazy! The fans there are so passionate and I can’t wait until we are able to come back. This global situation has us all suffering. But not as bad as the Spanish Flu. Imagine back then, no internet, no way to communicate with loved ones, high mortality rate. But if humanity could survive that, then we’ll get through this okay. But metal without shows just feels like no life, you know? We need something to feel the music…I miss shows a lot. Especially the ones in the smaller clubs, because you can see the excitement on people’s faces and you can feel their energy.
Amps: What are you listening to these days?
Piotr: I’m an old school guy. I come back to the bands who inspired me, from before I even started to play music. I try to discover bands I might have missed that created the NWOBHM, like DIAMOND HEAD. And of course there are some younger bands that are doing great things. Like HAVOK, their new album V is absolutely incredible. What they’re doing in Thrash Metal I totally love! I still love my Death Metal, too. So many great bands out there. Yesterday I received a bootleg from DARK ANGEL from 1985. Awesome!
Amps: What are your hopes or expectations when Solitude in Madness comes out tomorrow?
Piotr: I’m very curious as to how the fans will take to the album. They already know “Shock and Awe” from us playing it live, and it being the first single. I think fans of VADER know what to expect from us, so they should like the album…I hope (laughs).
Amps: What would you like to say to all the VADER fans out there in the world?
Piotr: First of all thank you all for your support. Without that support VADER would not exist as long as we have. That’s the best motivation for me as a composer and us as a band. Shows and touring have stopped for now, but when it’s safe to play again I want to meet you, hang out with you, have drinks with you guys. Stay metal, everyone!!
Told y’all he was cool, didn’t I? Funny how a lot of the time it’s the guys who make the heaviest, most bone-crushing music that turn out to be the nicest to chat with. VADER just knows how to write great tunes that go straight for the jugular, one of the reasons I love them. If for some reason you don’t own Solitude in Madness yet, I strongly suggest you go get it yesterday!!