Archive for Vreid

Kampfar: Djevelmakt

Posted in Black Metal with tags , , , , , , on February 2, 2014 by Badass and Grim

Kampfar-Djevelmakt

With the temperature outside dropping to bollock hide and seek levels, it seems appropriate that a new black metal review should grace the B&G interspace. As this is my first encounter with Kampfar a brief biog is as much for my benefit as for yours. Formed in 1994, and with their first full length release in 1999, the band then took a lengthy hiatus before reforming in 2006, since when they have release four subsequent albums. If you hadn’t guessed by now these guys are from Norway, and there is a good dose of the viking metal strain in their sound. The album art and design elements are taken from a 1981 oil painting by polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński.

To place Djevelmakt within the current musical constellation, I’d go somewhere between God Seed’s “I Begin” and “Ylem” by Dark Fortress, which is nothing but a compliment; here is another black metal act whose sound is full and interesting, and not hampered by a self imposed preconception of what the genre “should” sound like. Most of the songs incorporate keyboards, synths, or strings, but without them becoming the focus, rather adding texture to the raging blade cyclone of the guitar riffs.

“Swarm Norwegicus”, the album’s single, is a moody, inevitable stomp, funereal in tone, which leads into an anthemic chorus, building with the use of a synth which doesn’t overstep the mark. The stand out track on the album is “Fortapelse” with its extended keyboard introduction, leading into a series of melodically interesting and memorable rhythm progressions on the guitars. Another great track is “De Dødes Fane”, with its haunting spoken word refrain and Windir-esque central section, I have absolutely no idea what this dude is talking about but he sounds as bitter as a bucket of lemon rinds.

A great black metal album with a good balance between lacerating grimness and catchy-ass guitar riffs. Recommended for fans of Windir, Vreid, God Seed, Dark Fortress. Now, please excuse me while I go sit still for 8 hours until Behemoth’s ‘The Satanist” is released.

Deej

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Vreid – Welcome Farewell

Posted in Black Metal, Black'N'Roll with tags , , , , on February 26, 2013 by Badass and Grim

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Vreid (Wrath) are a Norwegian Black Metal / Black’N’Roll band who formed from the remaining members of Windir following the death of frontman Valfar. “Welcome Farewell” is their 6th full length release coming two years after their last album “V”. My first encounter with Vreid was at last year’s Damnation Festival in Leeds, and I thoroughly enjoyed their live show, I immediately got up tod ate with the back catalogue, and when I saw they had a new album on the way it went straight on my watch list.

Thing get rolling with opener “The Ramble”. I don’t know if this word has some other meaning or significance in Norwegian, but in translation all my mind can conjure up is something like this…….

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…..anyway, we’re rambling through DARKNESS, so what of it! I imagine rambling is certainly somewhat more hazardous is the freezing nordlands with unexpected fjords and lake-trolls to deal with along the way, and lyrically makes for uncharted territory in these days when most metal song material has been done to death. This track emerges from eerie intro into a great mid-paced stomp along verse riff. There’s also some great vocal work as the song progresses, low growl joined by discordant and not overdone clean vocals.

“Way of the Serpent” throws up some interesting passages which hark back to these guys’ Windir days, with fast paced rhythm guitars accompanied by piercingly harmonised melody lines on lead. For those who regret the cutting short of their former band this will be more than welcome. “Sights of Old” is a high point, with Vreid putting their foot on the accelerator and delivering a storm of ice that will make that ramble a little more inclement.

My criticism of this as a whole has to be that essentially there is little variation through its 8 track length, and it’s not going to blow anyone’s mind. If you like what Vreid have been doing for the last 4 years then you’re going to like this. Hell, if you’ve never heard them before it’s a fine place to start, this is an enjoyable mid-tempo black metal album. However, at times this formula can become repetitive, and to some extent I’d like to see it mixed up a bit more, just something out of left field to knock the shit out of me.

This doesn’t damn “Welcome Farewell”, it is what it is and I’d certainly put it on at the next B&G Staff Party (by the way guys, we’re having a staff party, trousers are obligatory, we’re looking at you Rumple), but I imagine some months down the line most of these tracks will have descended into the primordial soup of blast beats, tremolo picking and chugging that will occasionally be washed up while my audio library is on shuffle. That aside, a sound offering here from Vreid and a welcome addition to their strong back catalogue.

Deej

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