VREID - V CD
Genre: Black Metal
Even though I was a fan of the Norwegian Blackened Folk/Viking Metal band WINDIR, (their 1184 release is an essential) who broke up after their vocalist Terje "Valfar" Bakken died of hypothermia in 2004. I didn't get into VREID, who are the former members of WINDIR, until their 2007 release I Krieg. Obviously I was late for the parade since VREID had two previous full lengths both of which were considered good. So now that I've finally caught up to their previous audio greatness as well as 2009's Milorg which ended up in that year's SFM666's end of year favorites list, here they are with a new one. The great thing about VREID is that although they're basically melodic black metal they add so much more into their music which re-writes the template. You'll get touches of Thrash, Black & Roll, NWOBHM and the opening cut "Arche" starts off with some reverb action as if this was the first CULT LP but quickly kicks into a more metal direction. Then Sture's vocals (also on guitar) end all doubts about what you're listening to. "Arche" has a killer riff plus there's an arpeggio solo on here by guitarist Strom which will invoke air guitar antics. Now how many times does a Black Metal band invoke air guitar antics?
Fans of this band know all about how VREID explodes forth on the opening tracks of their releases. Once thoroughly knocked back a few paces then one can be enveloped by the rest of the release. "The Blood Eagle" is a reminder of their past days of blackened Viking Metal anthems in WINDER. There's some slight keyboards added for atmosphere. "Wolverine Bastards" is basic melodic BM with some incredible technical soloing flowing through it where as "The Sound of the River" bounces back and forth from harsh aggressive thrashing to a solemn atmospheric mood which ends with a crescendo. "Fire on the Mountain" throws you a curve as it starts off sounding like some post BM shoegazer band but then kicks into a thrash riff that will send the Neo Thrash kids home crying. Welcome to the black metal slam pit. "The Others and the Look" is the longest cut on here at ten and half minutes plus it's also the most experimental VREID gets on this release. The song starts off with an NWOBHM riff then switches to technical tremolo picking giving way to melodic keyboard passage and clean vocal chorus. Strange yes, interesting a little since it showcases Sture's ability to easily move from harsh shrieks to almost a folk-like clean style of vocals.
The bottom end of the release is also not to be dismised with "Slave" as it carries you along with lite proggy moments which turn to harsh blackened extremes. The variences that VREID delve into keep you on edge throughout. On the cut "Welcome to the Asylum" it starts out pure Norwegian BM, milds out for a second then kicks into that Black n Roll groove. There's some obligatory blastbeats (not the only ones of course) by drummer Steingrim and a decent bass solo by Hvàll, not his only one on this release as well. Yes that's right there's bass on this Black Metal release and you can actually hear it. The final cut "Then We Die" starts off with a haunting keyboard opening then cuts loose reminding you of the greatness of WINDIR and how VREID have grown so far and triumphant. This is one of the best and varied BM releases of 2011.