It’s time again for another onslaught of Darker Than Black (and affiliated label) releases, one of my favorite times for doing reviews because they (DTB) make it so Fucking easy with great releases such as this newest one from Nordvrede. Hailing from Norway and continuing to carry the spirit of the original Norwegian scene in both sound and explosiveness, Nordvrede instantly quench my thirst for something that is still black metal but definitely carries over the glories of the past into current times. The ugly thrashing speed of the power chords ripping, backed by a violent force of drumming, and an anthemic rhythm fronted by raspy shouted rants of pure rage acts as a classic black metal glue holding these songs together. And where the band still remain true to traditional and TRUE black metal roots they also: avoid treble overdosing on their guitars; they use bass, which actually does a Hell of a lot on here because they know how to use it; create addicting rhythms that range from almost OI punk anthems to thrash metal as well as black metal; and they throw in a lot of shifting elements within songs such as an avant-garde jazz style trumpet intro (?) and some great melodic moments rife with razor sharp tones to keep it vicious. So basically take out anything expected or remotely predictable from the equation, Nordvrede sound like black metal on the surface BUT they are a Hell of a lot more complex underneath yet never lose their edge. And this is why albums like State of the Art are so Goddamn easy to review, and bands like Nordvrede keep me content with the idea that black metal (emphasis on METAL once again. You CAN still create real black metal without gimmicks or unnecessary flare that stands out on it’s own.
I honestly love the punkish directions taken with some of the rhythms giving them a riotous vibe with variety, especially in some of the guitar breaks when it’s just drums pumping with a thumping bass line as heard on the opener, “Som Kreft I Vaart Nye Rike”, which catch me instantaneously and then veer off into a melodic treble storm. It’s as if suddenly the mood shifts from blasting anarchy to slightly solemn and then erupts yet again. It’s a simple thing but so dramatic and effective that it’s not easy to ignore or undermine, just a slight shift in dynamics, but it completely enlivens the song. There’s also something that’s so classic and addicting about these rhythms and the way the band works them into songs al the while keeping things going as rampant buzzing metal, especially with some of the siren wail tremolo guitar work on “The Noble Art”, which reminds me of old footage of bombing raids with the horrendous siren going off as building crumble into dust. This song is wickedly eerie mostly due in part to this small element, but when combined with the balance of the rhythm patterns and dynamic range of moods as the band actually break out of a mode where just the haunting siren wail is present and then suddenly explode into a morbid but infectious tantrum of almost post punk fueled black metal, it’s impossible to not be incinerated in the process. And now with me on the subject of the great things Nordvrede interject into songs I can’t avoid mentioning the amusing use of a bizarre jazz trumpet in the intro to “Temple of Intolerance”, which is immediately accompanied by Islamic prayer and then combusts into an anti-religious, anti-ignorance anthem concerning the bullshit Jihad and terrorist shit that really caught me off guard.
While it’s 100% apparent as to what the song is about once the prayer kicks and some of the lyrics about the religious hypocrisy start to unwind but hard to not be intrigued with the trumpet intro. These guys are masters of subtlety and taking simple things, sometimes even out of place as this trumpet would seem to be, and making them completely essential components to the song, almost to the point of a main focal point even, yet with many bands this sort oddity added results in fatal failure, but not Nordvrede. These guys know what they are doing and everything, regardless of how small or huge it may be, or seemingly quirky, has a significant reason for being present and is methodically thought out and placed resulting in true uniqueness and strength that so many lack the ability to achieve. Sort of like the Viking metal blazing melodies and rhythms on “V.P.T.D.I.N.”, they just sort of appear on the song but are so well woven into the texture of the song that they act more as lighter fluid on the blaze then an awkward shift. I mean every song on here is an absolute powerhouse of solid Norwegian black metal, new and old, because the band can blend elements so well into great fucking songs, nothing is out of place or disposable!!!
This album was just released and not even listed in the DTB store inventory as of yet so give it a week or two and then order a copy ASAP!!! This is one of the most memorable black metal bands of current times and essential for the true black metal fan.