I recently saw Vreid open for Enslaved. They killed it, as did Enslaved. The pairing was apt, as both play black metal but stray from the blueprint – Vreid with rock influences and Enslaved with prog leanings. CD’s are expensive here in Germany (for this album, I paid 15 euro, which is considered cheap), but Vreid put on such a good show that I had to get Pitch Black Brigade (on Tabu).

Evidently, Vreid is pronounced “Vrite.” Beyond that, I honestly don’t know much about this Norwegian group. The band has three ex-members of Windir, whose singer Valfar died of hypothermia in January 2004. Descriptions of Windir typically include the words “folk music” and “symphonic,” so Vreid would be a significant departure from that.

Basically, Vreid is about 60% black metal and 40% rock. Of course, later Darkthrone and later Satyricon come to mind, and if you go back far enough, Hellhammer. But while Darkthrone channels Discharge and Satyricon, I dunno, The White Stripes (see “K.I.N.G.” on Now, Diabolical), Vreid’s rock is more like Motörhead or NWOBHM.

This isn’t just “blackened rock,” though. Vreid definitely keeps that cold black metal feeling, just sometimes with rock and thrash riffs underneath. And there are some damn fine riffs here, particularly on “Left to Hate” and “Our Battle.” But what’s with the silly electronic intro to “Hengebjørki”? Sub-bass booms have no business on a black metal album. But for the most part, the record is raw and rocking yet clear enough to escape the usual lo-fi blur.

Vreid – Left to Hate
Vreid – Our Battle

There’s also a nice black-and-white video for “Pitch Black.”

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The more I hear this album, the more I like it. Check it out

@ Amazon
@ eMusic