Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 5/16/2006
Pitch Black Brigade
posted on 5/2006 By:
Layers upon layers of filth, decay, blackness, and good old rock 'n fucking roll welcome listeners to Vreid’s second outing, Pitch Black Brigade. Not only do Vreid manage to distance themselves further from their previous existence as the remarkable viking group Windir, but they also produce something similarly intense and breathtaking in the form of eight expertly crafted songs.
Some of the more questionable atmospheric elements present on the group’s debut have been trimmed and Vreid sounds all the better. While less than two years have passed since Kraft, maturity does seem to be a noteworthy contribution to its firmer grasp on songwriting. “Our Battle” serves as a clear example of a developed black n roll aesthetic; the type that contrasts sharply with the debut, whose sound lacked the more melodic and controlled approach of this outing. A song like “Left to Hate” that not only boasts crafty riffs but a rock and roll rhythm and suitably dark vocals encapsulates the sound that one envisions a group like Vreid has attempted to hone from its inception. The only question mark preventing these Norwegians from really taking off remains if they can sustain this dark, melodic, and, most importantly, distinctly unique tone throughout the course of an entire album, as Pitch Black Brigade is not without its dragging moments.
Quick little numbers like “Our Battle” and “Hang Em All” are a step in a new direction for the band because they’re no longer screwing around too much with postproduction tactics like rearranging where the slow passage fits into the meat of the song. There are very few slow moments and, as a result, Pitch Black Brigade is a lot more straightforward in approach than its predecessor. Some listeners will leave this recording believing that, in fact, Vreid is now too one-dimensional, and while there’s a bit of truth in that, there’s enough diversity in the riffs to keep most fans of no bullshit black n roll like Darkthrone is capable of happy.
Unfortunately, a few of the electronic elements, most noticeably the keyboard theatrics, remain a part of the Vreid vocabulary, and they are only unfortunate because they are completely unnecessary. The album closes with “El Kapitel For Seg Sjolv, and the keyboard notes detract from what would otherwise be one of Pitch Black Brigade’s more brilliant tracks. These spacey, laughable passages seem forced for the sake of originality, and when the song itself consists of a few really great riffs, it makes it seem all the more forced because the track needs them like Clinton’s presidency needed the Lewinsky scandal. The most unfortunate part of the track is that it will leave most with a bitter taste in their mouth. After seven visceral, explosive songs we’re sent away with this? The song does pick up and the guitars gain an extra punch near the end, but it takes far too long to reach that point.
While a little uneven, those that bought the first album but wished it had been trimmed down to better highlight its insane riffs will love Pitch Black Brigade. Along with Kampfar’s Kvass and Darkthrone’s The Cult is Alive, this is one of the more notable black metal releases thus far in 2006.
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