Full on, no compromise, extreme fucking metal – yep that’s what you get on Vredehammer’s third full-length album, ‘Viperous’. No nonsense, yet filled with layers that demand repeated listens.

Where to classify this release… Is it death metal? Is it black metal? Is it blackened death metal with keyboards? None of these fit just right for Viperous. Best just categorise it as extreme metal for people who like extreme metal.

That sort of doesn’t quite fit either, because there is depth in the aural assault as exemplified by the title track that overwhelms, yet has enough going on to become hooked on every riff and pattern.

Equally ‘In Shadows’ begins with an almost thrash feel, before descending – in a good way – to become an engrossing exercise in black. And, therein lies the success of Vredehammer. There are no boundaries in what Per Valla (guitarist, bass, keyboards, vocals etc) wants to write, even the addition of the keyboards with an 80s feel.

The fact that the lyrics are based on Stephen King’s work (hell, it worked for Anthrax) shouldn’t deter as King’s work has many strands and themes that the words penned by Valla have enough universality.

Keyboards introduce ‘Any Place But Home’ before its helter skelter attack from Valla and Kristoffer Hansen’s guitars entwine malice, melody and ferocious riffing behind Valla’s menacing singing.

What is noticeable throughout is the work rate of the new man on the drum stool, Kai Speidel. Not only does he have the power and chops, he has the feel for the right run, the right fill, all combine to give texture to each track.

Viperous is best summed up on ‘From a Spark to a Withering Flame’. It is more mid-paced than most of the album, but has an intensity and threat and enough varied delivery – including a spoken word passage – to entertain across each second of its 4:42 length.

And that is where Vredehammer have succeeded on this release. The promise of ‘Vinteroffer’ and ‘Violator’ have been realised fully. Now we’re off to ‘Suffocate All Light’.

Viperous is released on Indie Recordings on March 6th.