Vredehammer Violator 2016Norway’s Vredehammer started off as a solo-project for mainman Per Valla in-between work with his other bands, Elite and Allfader, as a way to branch out of the traditional sound of his country’s musical export of choice. Until most recently, Valla was hired on as a live second guitarist for Abbath‘s band, but quit to concentrate on completing Vredehammer‘s second full-length, Violator. I bring this point up because Violator isn’t dissimilar in style and approach to the lovable crab-walking ex-mainman for Immortal. It’s also important to discuss because Violator gives Abbath a serious run for his money, as it’s a pretty lethal, catchy beast all on its own.

And it wastes no time tearing you a brand-spankin’ new anal orifice once the appropriately-titled “Light the Fucking Sky” launches. Valla doesn’t even bother to adopt the croaks of Abbath, choosing to wisely adopt a raspy death-growl similar to Randy Blythe (Lamb of God). But his tremolo riffs and intricate melodies definitely hold your attention throughout the song’s five-minute duration. It doesn’t hurt that his backing band is putting forth top-notch performances themselves, as drummer Felix and bassist Stone (both of progressive death metallers Canvas Black) lay a perfect bed down for Valla’s catchy riffs and sky-soaring melodies. The hooks are here, gang, and they’re starting to dig.

Speaking of hooks, there’s no shortage of them on Violator. The title track starts off like a blackened tribute to Slayer until the song’s halfway point, building up a nice, slow, atmospheric build-up, complete with a catchy melody that is sure to get fists pumping at shows. “Cyclone” definitely draws from Lamb of God‘s Ashes of the Wake period with some crazy-addictive drumming and pit-inducing riffs, as once Valla growls “Purify… Wash away… Obliterate… Justify…,” you will envision arms flailing, heads windmilling, and horns thrown. But the standout on here has to be “Ursus,” which could best be described as what it would sound like if Abbath had forgone his main band and joined Amon Amarth. Drums thunder slowly, building up drama and suspense, until the main riff comes through, taking you to far-off Viking lands rife with maidens, beer, and Eurovision. I say that last one not as a detriment, as I could see this song being entered on there, and winning victoriously. It’s got that endearing fist-pumping, headbanging, fuck-everything-and-lose-yourself anthemic quality to it that just can’t be met with anything but a smile and thrown horns. It’s that good!

Vredehammer Band 2016
There are a few nitpicks I have with Violator. I do wish the bass had a little bit more of a presence here, as Stone lays a good bottom-end. Also, the drums could be just a little less compressed, as sometimes the cymbals just sound off, though thankfully this is very rare. The guitars however are upfront and powerful, as they should be, given Valla’s incredible riffs and perfectly-placed melodies. It also does have an air of familiarity among the album’s seven tracks, but Valla didn’t set off to reinvent the wheel here. He wanted Violator to give that exhilarating feeling that classic metal albums from the 80s and 90s gave, and he succeeded here triumphantly.

There’s always a gamble when you go off and do something on your own. Vredehammer not only went out and succeeded in releasing such a strong, enjoyable record in Violator, but also, in my eyes at least, beat Abbath at his own game. Catchy, heavy, and memorable.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 160 kbps mp3
Label: Indie Recordings
Websites: vredehammer.no | facebook.com/vredehammer
Releases Worldwide: March 18th, 2016

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  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    This tore me a new anal orfice alarmingly fast considering how lacking “Violator”‘s own bottom end is. Great damn stuff; enjoying it considerably more than Abbath based on what I’ve heard.

  • Jaba

    Light the Fucking Sky sounds promising (and not only the title), will check the whole album once it’s available for streaming. Thanks for the review!

  • Greg Hasbrouck

    Nice review. I’m excited to check this out.

  • Kalsten

    Holy shit. That song is killer!

  • AngryMetalBird

    That song kicks ass!

  • Kmill

    After listening to the song Cyclone, I only ask “Abbath Who?”

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Doom Occulta. Abbath Doom Occulta.

  • Bart the Repairman

    It’s dfificutl to wrrite while headbangnig like carazy, but I can’t stop replaiyng thiis song for a minute!1!

  • Necrocustard

    This makes me feel like crushing grapefruit in the snow

    • That’s the only way I drink it. Steely D taught me that trick.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Don’t eat the yellow snow!!!!!!!

  • AndySynn

    Needs more Elite. By which I mean *I* need more Elite.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    I’ve really been enjoying this album. Between this, Abbath, and Havukruunu, I’m sitting pretty with a playlist of groovy, thrashy, black metal material.

  • Alexandre Barata

    Everyone and their mothers know that I dislike Abbath’s solo album, as I think it’s not only weak on all those strong points that fill the last couple Immortal albums, but also because it is a worthless piece of time-stealing Abbath’s masturbatory idea of great music. This said, and although I didn’t hear this whole album (only the above posted song), I see this as a potential strong thrashy BM album that can easily supplant that egotistical weak album. At least the main riff in here sounds good and strong!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      You like Rimfrost?

      • Alexandre Barata

        It’s pretty cool, I know they’re releasing one new album this year, although I don’t know when, or if they did already, but I know that I gotta check it :D

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          They are a kickass band. Thought you might like them. Love that they nail the Immortal sound perfectly. I’m finishing the review for the new album as we speak. I’m in love with it.

          • Alexandre Barata

            I’ll be reading your review when you release it, and I’ll listen to the album, not only because I wanted to, but also you made me believe it’s mouthwatering :)

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I mean, I don’t want to hype it up too much, but it makes me one happy dude.

  • Robert Turnbull

    Thanks for the review. The embedded track is rather tasty.

  • Blueberry Balls

    Oh boy, this embedded track is a fucking doozy. CRUSSHHHHHHH

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Leave the unicorns out of this…

  • Jaba

    I have just started listening to their previous album, Vinteroffer. Not bad, not bad… ;-)

  • sir_c

    This sounds pretty excellent. So far, the review is spot on. Thx!

  • Kryopsis

    The embedded track is excellent! At this point some of the best content on this site has been reviewed by frequent contributors rather than AMG himself. I propose to rename the website to ‘Angry Metal Guide’. Down with tyranny! Down with the cult of personality!

  • Mr T

    Not bad.

  • Greg Hasbrouck

    Finally gave this a spin. Awesome disc.

  • Name’s Dalton

    This. Fucking. Slays.