Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 1/25/2005
posted on 12/2004 By:
Prior to Valfar's death, Windir remained an unjustly underrated band that was only spoken of in high regard by everyone who heard them. It's a shame that so many great figures throughout time aren't necessarily appreciated when they're around - and although there wasn't a lot of bandwagon hopping after his death, the metal community certainly paid more notice to Windir. Thankfully for all of us, the remaining three members have gone on to form Vreid, a progressive black metal act who also give a nostalgic nod every so often.
Vreid retain a lot of the same qualities that made Windir so endearing to many of us. There's a bleak black metal feel, but the music is executed with far more orientation towards thrash as well as glimpses back into viking metal. Although a different style of metal, you're still able to hear bouncy and similar progressions that are certain to call comparison to their previous band. It's mainly in the guitar rhythms and their balance between intense drumwork and fairly standard beats. "Helvete" suffers slightly due to its usage of slightly questionable electronic instrumentation, which isn't poor in composition - just tonality. The song remains an instrumental until the last two thirds of it, where a mid-tempo passage enters with spoken vocals and dreamy female singing. I'll commend Vreid for this bold move, and even further commend them for actually making it sound good. "Unholy Water" starts with almost an aggro-edge to it, confusingly enough, before unleashing a blasting black metal assault with thrashy verses, while maintaining the one Exhorder/Pantera breakdown. The album thoroughly runs the gamut, keeping the signature melody and sound of Windir while also taking it a step further. Their ability to insert such distinction into Kraft without bogging it down from an overflow of ideas is remarkable. Sounding a lot like Dissection, "Eldast, Utan Å Gro" takes a radical shift mid-song to deliver an exceptional clean-sung section precluded by a memorable bassline and rounded off at the end with slight acoustic strumming.
With its unique listen with a lot of fresh ideas, Kraft is an essential album for anyone with any sort of affinity towards black/viking metal. With the devastating loss of Valfar, it's outstanding to see the members of Windir move on with an exciting and promising new outfit. I'm very pleased with my introduction to Vreid, and there's no doubt in my mind that fans of viking metal and black metal in general will receive the album in the same way in which I have. Being one of the first albums of 2005 for me to review, they've set the bar fairly high, as I can already see this arriving on my list of favorites for the new year.
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