Pitch Black Brigade

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When Vreid's debut album, Kraft, was released in the United States in early 2005, some black metal enthusiasts who bought the disc without having heard it wondered, "Will Vreid simply be Windir with a new name? Is Vreid really Windir minus Valfar, the Windir vocalist who died in 2004?" And when they actually heard Kraft, it became obvious that the answer to those questions was a definite, emphatic no. Make no mistake: Vreid is a different band with a different sound, and that total lack of Windir-isms is equally evident on their second album, Pitch Black Brigade. Three ex-members of Windir are present on Vreid's sophomore outing, but stylistically, the only thing Vreid has in common with Windir is the fact that both are/were black metal bands -- and Pitch Black Brigade, like Kraft, offers a very different vision of black metal than Windir's work. In contrast to the elaborate symphonic black metal that Windir was known for, this 2005 recording thrives on rawness and is a throwback to the black metal pioneers of the late '80s and early '90s. Kraft celebrated black metal's punk and thrash roots, and Pitch Black Brigade does the same. Not surprisingly, there were some Windir fans who were disappointed to learn that Kraft had nothing to do with symphonic black metal; the very similar Pitch Black Brigade won't win them over. A big part of enjoying this release is accepting the fact that Vreid has no interest in sounding like Windir any more than John Lydon wanted Public Image Ltd. to sound like the Sex Pistols -- and those who can accept that fact will find Pitch Black Brigade to be a likable, if less than groundbreaking, dose of thrashy, punky black metal rawness.

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