Friday, March 04, 2011

Vreid: V (2011)


Once upon a time there was Windir, a band which released four full-length albums. Vreid was formed from what remained after their frontman died, and went from there. If you consider the two as one band, V (the fifth Vreid album) is essentially their ninth full-length. Yet it's my first exposure to the band. And I am very, very impressed.

VV finds the band playing black 'n' roll, a style which has been attempted many times with only rare success. Satyricon may be the most well-known practitioners of the style, but Vreid doesn't sound all that much like them. Instead it sounds more like their labelmates Borknagar, especially Universal. They share a classic 1970's rock feel, with less emphasis on clean singing and synths and more emphasis on the traditional tools of black metal.

The riffwriting and songwriting on this album are incredible. Opener "Arche" and "Fire on the Mountain" are only two examples of songs which will stick in your head long after you finish the album. But that's just a small part of it. "The Sound of the River" is perhaps the highlight of the album, with an amazing bassline/guitar riff combination, and epic "The Others and the Look" has no shortage of memorable parts. There is some clean singing on about half the tracks, but harsh rasps are the tool of choice. There are also some synths, and even a synth-driven section to the album's epic centerpiece, but they are restrained enough to keep it from derailing the album. There simply is not a weak track, not even a weak moment, on this entire album.

Pair excellent writing with great performances and production, and you have a recipe for a perfect album. The performances are top-notch, with each band member pulling his weight and playing with the feeling appropriate to black 'n' roll. The production serves it well, never being overpolished--so it doesn't lose the rawness all rock music needs--but instead allowing you to hear every instrument (including the bass) throughout the album.

Now is the part of the review where I'm supposed to say something negative about the album. I guess you'll have to forgive me, because I can't find anything.

The Verdict: Vreid have perfected black 'n' roll, combining the tools of black metal with the great songwriting of 70's rock and early heavy metal. V is the first real contender for album of the year. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.


  1. Out of curiosity. have you heard Attende by Mistur yet? That's another band that the Windir/Vried guitarist Strom is in, and they go for a sound that's pretty similar to Windir.

  2. I can't say I have. I may have to check it out.