[5th March 2013]
01. The Ramble
02. The Way Of The Serpent
03. The Devil’s hand
04. Welcome Farewell
05. The Reap
06. Sights Of Old
07. Black Waves
08. At The Brook
Vreid have returned and with them they bring their prolonged sorrow and sweet sounding melodic black metal. Being their first album since 2011′s V; an album that really launched them into the metal world head first, expectations are running particularly high.
The band has continued to hone their craft and show that they can certainly compete with fellow extreme metal heavyweights like Enslaved when it comes to excellently constructed black metal. While Enslaved lean more on the progressive side, you’ll find Vreid’s sound much closer to that of Dissection as this is always going to be black metal with plenty of solos and hooks for the casual listener to sink their teeth into, and yet there is always something more to discover with each listen.
“The Ramble” opens the album with galloping guitars and expertly played drums; it also serves to set the stage for what is to come. Follow this up with the tremolo picked sections of “The Way Of The Serpent” and you will see a band playing to their strengths to create an atmosphere that is both icey cold and full of emotional resonance. The oppressive nature of tracks like “Welcome Farewell” propel the band into exciting territory that could easily gain them new fans due to the incredible riff sections combined with the masterfully balanced percussion, creating a powerful symphony of destruction. Frankly, it’s sweet enough to give you a cavity.
Long-time fans of Vreid will be aware that the band formed from the ashes of legendary black metal band Windir after the tragic death of their founding frontman. It’s here that they are able to channel some of that band’s finest moments following the well established formula of viking/black metal with a strong emotional core, augmented by the provocative lyrical focus of WWII era Norway as a modern epic tale of heartache, failure, and suffering. The emotion ebbs from “The Reap” – the very first set of riffs blaze through your body, leading to the poetic intertwining guitar solos with excellently placed bass for an unforgettable finale. The whole album consists of a mix of styles reminiscent of the NWOBHM movement, which has always been highly regarded by myself.
However, it’s not all chaos as evidenced “Sights Of Old” , a decidedly slower paced song; that nearly 5 minutes in dissolves into heart-wrenching and soaring guitar sections peppered throughout. The album ends with two particularly bass heavy tracks in the form of “Black Waves” and “At The Brook” as Hvall makes his presence felt. The stronger track is definitely the album’s closer; as “At The Brook” finishes proceedings similar to the way a high school English teacher would have a student conduct a book report; by briefly rehashing the themes contained within whilst avoiding becoming stagnant. The guitar work compliments the heavy bass here, buzzing through your eardrums and make this one of the most memorable tracks on the album, which is saying something.
For fans of black metal, or anybody who loves a metal album with a great understanding of melody and emotion, look no further than Vreid’s latest opus. This is most certainly going to make a few year end lists. Don’t miss it.
Welcome Farewell is Vreid’s sixth album and will be available for purchase on the 5th March via Indie Recordings.