Vredehammer: Violator

Former Abbath guitarist leads a muscular death/black assault

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Led by one Per Valla, Vredehammer’s 2014 debut, Vinteroffer, was a storming record that offered an intense, embittered black metal experience, but also a clean and non-obscure ambience.

While it balanced the grim riffing with precise drumming and a reasonably accessible sound, Violator sees the group steering toward their black metal roots in a more pronounced fashion. Once again the Norwegian trio are fearsomely tight, the modern production and larger-than-life sound capturing the technicalities and details in impressive fashion.

Death metal influences are far more prominent now, the band combining the two genres with groove, melody and some well-placed atmospheric moments, the songs intense and full of energy. To call it ‘stripped-down’ would be unfair because the songwriting is well-considered and often intricate, but there’s very little of the sinister/cult/claustrophobic atmosphere one tends to associate with black/death crossover bands such as Behemoth.

This is strong, punchy and unpretentious metal that should appeal to fans of most genres of extreme metal.