Vreid / Solefald / In Vain

4 April 2013

Barfly, London


Norway appears to be leading a charge in 2013.  Having already witnessed excellent performances from Audrey Horne, Kvelertak and Enslaved this year, tonight saw three further bands invading our capital with Kristiansand’s In Vain first to take to the stage.


In Vain have put out three albums to date with this year’s Ænigma really capturing my own attention.  If pigeonholed, I could imagine progressive death metal being their tag, though despite Andreas Frigstad’s rasping vocals, this is balanced with much melody in both the music and Sindre Nedland’s clean vocals.  At times the complexity of Opeth crossed with the melodic tendencies of Soilwork sprung to mind, but that would be heading over the border to Sweden.


The venue slowly filled during opener Captivating Solitude, which coincided with an improvement in the sound quality.  By second song Against The Grain, each instrument could be heard, though any soundman would struggle to match the crisp sound Jens Borgen caught on Ænigma.  Sindre joked he expected a sing-along to Det Rakner since it was in Norwegian, and though I spun around to see if Johan could oblige, he was beaten by a Finnish fan shouting that he would.


In Vain In Vain In Vain


What was particularly impressive was how tight In Vain were considering half the line up (bass, drums and second guitar) were stand in members.  Petter Hallaråker in particularly impressed handling many of the solos and pairing up well with Johnar Håland.


Since In Vain were the opening act, with a relatively subdued crowd, their low key presence perhaps wasn’t a surprise, but considering they had substitute members and this was the first night of the European Tour it was an impressive performance and a band I’ll certainly be keeping my eye on.


In Vain setlist:

Captivating Solitude / Against The Grain / Det Rakner! / Hymne til havet / October’s Monody / Image Of Time / The Titan


There’s no rest for In Vain who were soon back on stage again forming the backing band for Cornelius Jakhelln of Solefald.  Cornelius partner in Solefald, Lazare, was absent due to work and family commitments, however his brother Sindre from In Vain was on hand to step into his shoes.


I’d been a fan of Solefald’s 1997 debut The Linear Scaffold, however since then their journey into the avant-garde had somewhat lost me and knowing it wasn’t going to be my thing this evening I indulged in some socialising during their set.  However, I did manage to catch Jernlov from that debut disc which was highly enjoyable before Mont Blanc Providence Crow had me heading off again.


In Vain Solefald Solefald 


I would stress this is very much my own tastes, with Solefald going down very well and it would seem the band most here were here to see.


Solefald setlist:

CK II Chanel N°6 / Red View / Backpacka Baba / The USA Don't Exist / Sun I Call / Jernlov / Mont Blanc Providence Crow / Vitets Vidd I Verdi / Philosophical Revolt / When the Moon Is on the Wave


Closing tonight’s proceedings were Vreid, who whilst fairly common visitors to our shores I’d yet to catch until this evening.  Ramble from latest album Welcome Farewell opened the set, though I was somewhat distracted as a group in front of me had decided to line up for photos with the band playing behind them whilst we were trying to watch.  With that annoyance out of the way, it was time to start enjoying Vreid and the probably the band’s catchiest song to date, The Reap, from the latest album worked its charms.


By contrast Songen Åt Fangen was an icy trip back to the band’s post Windir debut Kraft.  Frontman Sture rasped very much in the style of Abbath and indeed there were strong comparisons to the Sons Of Northern Darkness, Immortal.  Flashing green lights ushered in the title track of the band’s latest release which moved into recent Satyricon territory.  What Vreid lack somewhat is either of those two Norwegian legends presence.  The material, though played well, felt like it deserves something a bit more domineering.


Vreid Vreid Vreid


Sights of Old raced away with a Slayer like refrain before melodic guitars competed and complimented each other, the song eventually breaking down to a wind chilled extended ending.  Maybe it was as they were fresher in the mind, but it was the songs from Welcome Farewell that stood out most for me.  The opening of At The Brook could have sat snugly on Maiden’s Seventh Son of A Seventh Son, until a dirty stomping riff Satyricon would be proud of took over, riding on Hvàll’s bass.


A cry of “Pitch Black Attack” from Sture set head’s banging to Pitch Black’s main linear riff as Vreid set to wrap up the evening.  All in all it was an enjoyable if not spectacular set from Vreid and on reflection In Vain took the honours for me this evening.


Vreid setlist:

The Ramble / The Reap / Songen Åt Fangen / Welcome Farewell / Arche / Alarm / Sights Of Old / Raped By The Light / At The Brook / Pitch Black