Vreid - August 29, 2011 - Peabody's Down Under, Cleveland, OH
By: Dan Barkasi
There are a plethora of bands of which should have received a shot in North America long ago. Then, when such a band finally arrives for a tour, that moment of giddy elation shoots through you. Then you have those rare instances where a few of them tour together, forming a bill of total bliss. Case in point: Norwegian powerhouses Vreid and Kampfar plotting out a run of dates together for a late-summer jaunt of epic proportions.
Opening the show were Necronomicon, a band who were a fine choice to get things going. The Canadian three-piece – who hadn't toured the US in quite a while – put on a show full of brutality and presence. These guys have an atmosphere about them that makes them a band whose music is made for the stage. A tight, all too brief set that got the crowd energized.
Next up were the mighty Kampfar. If you checked out my Wacken review from back in 2009, you'll know just high of an esteem yours truly holds this band. One of the most unique, imposing bands in all of metal, also happen to be one of the most underrated and underexposed in these parts. Playing an absolutely haunting intro track before entering, Kampfar quickly set the mood properly. Then they kicked off their set with fury, blasting through a nice selection of their extensive catalogue. Singer Dolk brought a great deal of power to their set, displaying his passion for the music with every scream and bellow. Kampfar are one of those rare bands that makes the listener feel their music, and that sentiment rings truer than ever in a live setting. Mesmerizing set from one of the best Norwegian exports to date, and gauging the crowd reaction, a growing following and a successful first tour on these shores. Absolutely need to see this band again.
Lastly, we have Vreid, one of the masters of blackened thrash and a band that simply needs to be heard. Formed from the remnants of the classic group Windr, these guys certainly haven't lost a step with their transition to Vreid. With five albums strong – and every one of them a beast unto its own – Vreid seem to continue building momentum. Their latest, V, is quite possibly their sharpest to date, and their live performance reflects this quality. Definitely not my first experience of a live Vreid show – seeing them on their first North American tour, as well as Wacken – their stage show is great as ever, with the band displaying their war-themed tunes with fervor on every occasion. This show would prove to be yet another picture-perfect display of their patented black thrash attack. Their new material comes off fantastically live, further proving just how potent the new disc is.
A brilliant performance by all involved, this is a tour that was not to be missed. It's always a pleasure when every act is totally on, and shows like these remind you why superb live music is such a grandiose experience. Hopefully these bands become more frequent visitors, and with crowd reaction being any sort of sign, the demand will surely be there.