Definitely one of Poland’s finer exports, Vader have been around since 1983 (1992 officially with The Ultimate Incantation), The Empire now being their 11th record and their fourth for Nuclear Blast. Whilst their previous album Tibi Et Igni introduced neo-classical moments and an overall broader album musically, the first few singles from this album represented a direct approach to their songwriting. Although I wasn’t into Tibi Et Igni was much as I was with 2011’s Welcome To The Morbid Reich (still my favourite album), I don’t exactly want to complain: Vader, without a doubt, will always go for quality over quantity. With 2016 drawing to a close it has given me a lot of time to catch up on my music and Vader’s new album is one that I’ve listened to quite a few times. Whilst it is a more direct album than their last album, I feel as if I’m feeling that, with this album especially, there’s something missing. That’s happened with a couple of metal albums I’ve listened too lately — there’s just been that vital element which has, to me, been missing. After years of pushing and advancing their sound, The Empire feels like a natural-sounding and far less progressive album. Still, Vader are one of the finer exports and, if you choose one of their albums, then you won’t go far wrong.