Vredehammer - Violator
Indie Recordings
Black/Death Metal
7 songs (33:26)
Release year: 2016
Indie Recordings
Reviewed by Goat

A short but fun modern extreme metal album, Violator serves as the perfect introduction to Norway's Vredehammer for those new to them. Originally a side project started by Allfader's Per Valla, Violator is the band's second full-length; although rooted in black metal Vredehammer mix various influences together well into an enjoyable if not especially unique listen. Opener Light the Fucking Sky simply roars into being, Anaal Nathrakh with some Aura Noir making for a compelling start as the track continues with thrashy riffing, ultimately turning more melodic and atmospheric. The band are at their best when experimenting; although the more or less straightforward blasting of Spawn Tyrant is very good, the likes of the title track are far more interesting for their progressive approach. And this isn't the traditional sense of 'progressive' as meaning 'having keyboards' - keyboard use is very limited, just adding an atmospheric touch here or there. Instead, experiments are done with guitars and song styles, leading to moments as diverse as the oddly modern-sounding Deadfall, something more like recent Decapitated than the frostbitten blasting you'd expect from Norwegian black metal, and the following Ursus being closer to folk or Viking metal in style, while Cyclone is practically a tribute to the late great Zyklon (clue's in the name, I guess).

This mixture of styles makes for a fun, unpredictable album that holds together thanks to the band's skilled grasp of what makes extreme metal work, but it doesn't exactly suggest that Vredehammer have an identity of their own yet. Perhaps ironically, the best track present is the most traditional; album closer Blodhevn showing the cold and precise black metal that lies at Vredehammer's heart off well, blasting along engrossingly with more of that atmospheric touch that made Light the Fucking Sky so good. Continuing along this path would mean Vredehammer lose that sense of variety which makes them stand out from the crowd, but there's no denying the more black metal this band are, the better. In any case, they're more than good enough to deserve your time, whatever the genre is.

Killing Songs :
Light the Fucking Sky, Violator, Cyclone, Blodhevn
Goat quoted 70 / 100
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