Pitch Black Brigade
Some general black metal fans may find a little bit of what they like
After the unfortunate demise of Windir’s frontman Valfar in 2004, three of Windir’s other members decided to form a new band, Vreid. Making up this group are Guitarist/vocalist Sture, bassist Hvall, drummer Steingrim, and Ese, a non-Windir member recruited to play guitar. Instead of continuing to play the unique version of Viking/black metal that Valfar penned in Windir, the four chose a more straightforward black metal route. Sadly, at least on Pitch Black Brigade, they do not come anywhere close to achieving Windir’s former glory.
Taken on their own, Vreid actually aren’t a terrible band. They’re more or less average. Too many of Pitch Black Brigade’s tracks have an overt “death-and-roll” feel to them, where the melody is relatively simple and catchy, and the song is not too heavy or overpowering. However, several songs display a fair amount of musicianship. For example, “Pitch Black” contains a creative riff or two, and “Hengebjorki” has a clean-vocalled chorus that does a great job of changing up the song’s pace and intensity. If it was not for Windir, this album still wouldn’t stand out… but I also wouldn’t be giving it a negative review.
The lyrics and song titles that Vreid have come up with sound stupid and almost cheesy at times. “Hang Em All” sounds like it was thought up during one of Metallica’s less fruitful brainstorming sessions, and “Left To Hate” is far too simplistic. It is kind of unfair that I’m holding them to such a high standard, but after the brilliant music that Valfar made, it makes sense to hold those that played with him to similar standards.
As you’ve probably already figured out, Windir fans are NOT going to enjoy this album. Instead, I would recommend true fans to check out a band called Cor Scorpii, which was formed by Windir’s keyboardist Righ, guitarist Strom (they go by their real names in this band) as well as drummer Steingrim, who is also in Vreid. They create vaguely folk-inspired black metal somewhat similar but not identical to the style of Windir, and pay homage rather than insult to Valfar’s spirit. Some general black metal fans may find a little bit of what they like on Pitch Black Brigade, but nothing stands out enough to make this disc truly worthwhile.