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Norway’s Vreid was formed in 2004 after the implosion of their then current band Windir when vocalist Valfar passed away. The remaining members decided to form a new band rather then continue under the Windir moniker. Bass player Jarle Kvåle formed Vreid while recruiting former members Jørn Holen on drums and guitarist Sture Dingsøyr who also took over on vocal duties. Along with new guitar player Ese, Vreid went on to establish their style of melodic black metal and released four stellar albums. In 2010, former Windir guitar player Stian Bakketeig joined their ranks to replace guitarist Ese to finalize the full transformation from Windir to Vreid.
Vreid are coming off their most successful and critically acclaimed release of their career, 2011s “V.” Nominated for a Norwegian Grammy and also proclaimed their “finest hour” by the media, all eyes are on their latest release through Indie Recordings “Welcome Farewell.” Does “Welcome Farewell” build on the success and momentum they have received over the last few years or do they take a step back and fall into the pack of incessant black metal bands?
Playing a style that is reminiscent of modern day Satyricon, Vreid execute more mid paced black metal and concentrate on song writing more than aggression. The riff writing is memorable and not just fast picked tremolo guitar parts. They do utilize the black metal formula of blast beats and tremolo guitar parts but it is used in moderation and has more of an impact. This is used to full effect on the aggressive “Way of the Serpent.” A roller coaster of a song that pulls out all of the black metal tricks and is emphasized by an outstanding guitar solo. The players are talented in Vreid and it would be to their benefit to incorporate more guitar solos going forward.
The band shines on the black ‘n’ roll style songs “The Reap”, “The Devil’s Hand” and “Black Waves.” Especially “The Reap” with its unforgettable chorus, vocalist Dingsøyr shines with his melodic rasp that is perfect for black metal. Not too overly aggressive, his voice is one of the best in the genre. The riffs will invade your skull and not leave. The epic middle section is a perfect black metal moment. The last song on the record “At the Brook” is another highlight with a clean guitar intro that transforms into a crushing facemelting riff that has a groove that doesn’t quit. The distorted bass guitar tone blends amazingly with the heavy guitars. Midway through the song the band shifts gears to a start and stop progressive thrash vibe. Not only is it the best part of the record, “At the Brook” is the strongest Vreid song to date.
Vreid are a prolific band that consistently release albums every two years. The high output of material has done nothing to water down the quality. “Welcome Farewell” might not top the excellence of the remarkable “V” but it can proudly sit side by side with it as a worthy follow up. Taking off right where they left “Welcome Farewell” is an outstanding release that should vault Vreid alongside the titans of the black metal scene. “Welcome Farewell” is the perfect combination of aggression, musicianship and accessibility as Vreid are turning into one of the most consistent black metal bands on the scene.
- Originally Published at Metal Temple