CD review VREID ‘Wild North West’

Vreid rose from the ashes of Windir and it was in 2004 when the band premiered with ‘Kraft’. Since then, Vreid is a regular guest on the release schedule lists with eight longplayers that have been released so far. Following a kind of three years pattern, the year of 2021 is the one for a new album that reaches us from Sognal, Norway. And here it is: ‘Wild North West’.

Vreid’s ninth album is a blast. That can be stated right away. Not only that it carries eight excellently crafted songs, it also builds on a conceptual approach that was developed alongside the creation of a movie. Vreid invites the listener to a trip to a place where reality and fantasy blend. It’s about life and the constant companion called death, a story told by the help of an imaginary character named E.

‘Wild North West’ starts off with the title track. It’s a mystic beginning with keyboards before a rocking riff adds a solid portion of heaviness to the mix. What follows is a well-implemented alternation between harsh moments and slower, sometimes calm elements. This mix let fascination grow right away and raises curiosity about the rest of the album. If the first track of an album is the door opener for a longplayer, it’s this title track that pushes the portal wide open.

Although the album contains not more than eight songs, ‘Wild North West’ still delivers nearly 50 minutes of well-done black’n’ roll. Northern influences are reflected in the brisky ‘Wolves at Sea’, followed by the excellently done ‘The Morning Red’ with a beginning that reminds me of Metallica. This tune shows that intensity and calmness are no counterparts or rivals. This blackened anthem is reflecting a perfect merge of poles that strengthen each other. Next on the Nordic batting order is the highlight of the album.

A solid bassline kicks-off ‘Shadows of Aurora’. It’s again a calmer beginning, followed by a thundering thrash metal riff that is the Northstar for the entire song. This savage track is just mind-blowing and has a certain addictive factor weaved in. ‘Shadows of Aurora’ is a real wow-moment on the album and beyond. After having placed such a song in the middle of the album the challenge is to keep the level up high. Vreid can handle the challenge.

‘Spikes of God’ is a furious tune that doesn’t take any prisoners. It’s an eardrums assault that comes with some atmospheric elements which amplify the density. And not to forget the well-placed break halfway, a peaceful moment in sonic wildness. The rock’n’roll spirit is the driving force behind ‘Daze and Reduction’, a catchy smasher that could help Vreid to enlarge their fanbase without becoming cheesy.

Vreid can keep a high level of quality until the finishline. ‘Into the Mountains’ is mystical sonic feast, kept in a moderate pace and handing over to ‘Shadowland’, the majestic closer. The grand finale clocks in at 10 minutes and reflects all the elements of the album, united in one song of epical length.

‘Wild North West’ is an excellent longplayer. Bringing together the darkness of the North and the anarchic spirit of rock’n’roll elevates this record to a true highlight of 2021. Any attempt to resist the blackened beauty of this album after having pressed the ‘Start’-button is a waste of time. It just catches you. Horns up.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Wild North West
  2. Wolves at Sea
  3. The Morning Red
  4. Shadows of Aurora
  5. Spikes of God
  6. Dazed and Reduced
  7. Into the Mountains
  8. Shadowland

Label: Season Of Mist

Genre: Black’n’Roll

Release Date EU: April 30th, 2021

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