Vreid - Pitch Black Brigade
Tabu Recordings
Epic Black/Thrash
8 songs (42'21")
Release year: 2006
Vreid, Tabu Recordings
Reviewed by Alex

As much as I like Windir I have naturally followed the Vreid’s path. Kraft appeared soon after Valfar’s tragic death, and although it wasn’t a tribute to Windir’s last days, it certainly bore a little bit of an imprint and influence. An excellent album nonetheless, it proved that with time Vreid should be able to stand on its own two feet. The interview proved elusive, Vreid busy touring and composing music to Kraft’s follow-up. As of today Pitch Black Brigade is out, cementing Vreid’s strong reputation in the Norwegian Black Metal scene, while also moving it further away from Windir’s legacy.

If you listened to songs from Pitch Black Brigade in non-cohesive individual fashion you would have vacillated between the epic, Windir-like, approach and more modern black & roll feel. Digesting this album as a whole provides a listener with a more continuous kaleidoscope, where the pictures are indeed changing, yet the overall inner workings are interconnected. Upon first discovery I also felt the prevalence of the more in-your-face punk attitude on Pitch Black Brigade, with additional spins filling in the more subtle, but also grand, ambitious, yet ambient, spaces.

OpenerDa Draumen Rakna and Left to Hate are probably the best examples of thrashy punk character on the album. Simple and effective, riffed-out, melody on Left to Hate is something I might expect to hear from Carpathian Forest. The music here is catchy, breakneck in terms of rhythm, augmented by a leathery throated voice, which happens to be quite legible on Left to Hate.

Pitch Black and The Red Smell, on the other hand, discard the structured riffs in favor of the familiar epic tremolo, the quiet Hydra-like melody on The Red Smell sounding a little apocalyptic next to the chaotic blastbeats.

Rawer blackened thrash steps right back in on Our Battle and Hang Em All, on which the end falls into a buzzsaw groove. You need to dig very fast riffing to like this stuff, with Our Battle threnody sounding a touch monotonous.

More unusual moments of Pitch Black Brigade come with Norwegian lyrics laden Hengebjorki and Eit Kapitel For Seg Sjolv. Whether it is the native tongue that wakes up the epic feeling or not, but Vreid has the Windir moments on these two tracks.Hengebjorki opens up with electronic nebulous otherworldly bubbling synthesizers before blastbeat and folk inspired melody arrive. Acoustic interlude, stomp dancing, militaristic march outro – all signs are there on Hengebjorki to narrowly label it Viking metal, although the song is so much more. The theme continues on Eit Kapitel For Seg Sjolv, the song also bearing a folk mark, with howling wind and Northern forest distortion present alongside dark sledgehammer blacksmith riffs akin to Enslaved and Therion on Secret of the Runes.

Hvall’s own Studio 1184 production is used again, and the sound is perfect for the Vreid’s brand of black & roll epicness. It sounds harsh and predatory, reminding me again of Carpathian Forest, Khold and Old Man’s Child back in the days of Pagan Prosperity.

It would be nice to have had the lyrics to Pitch Black Brigade. Between what I can’t make out in English and Norwegian which I can’t understand in the first place, I feel that I am losing the meaning of the album purportedly describing the grim historical events of Europe in the 20th century. I have a feeling the lyrics would have been an insightful guide to understanding the bandmembers’ philosophies and positions.

Pitch Black Brigade continues Vreid on the path of a band searching and finding its own face. This one definitely deserves your time and money.

Killing Songs :
Left to Hate, Hengebjorki, Eit Kapitel For Seg Sjolv
Alex quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Vreid that we have reviewed:
Vreid - Lifehunger reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Vreid - Welcome Farewell reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Vreid - V reviewed by Crash and quoted 82 / 100
Vreid - Milorg reviewed by Charles and quoted 75 / 100
Vreid - I Krig reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
1 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 17 replies to this review. Last one on Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:25 am
View and Post comments