Vreid – Welcome Farewell

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Review by Paul Castles

Whoever would have imagined that hidden among the dark, dank desperate world of Scandinavian black metal you could discover a thing of such endearing inspirational beauty. Never mind black metal, Vreid’s remarkable new album Welcome Farewell is pure black magic. The Norwegian quartet have delivered some absorbing captivating work in the past but surely nothing to approach the sheer quality and emotion of this beast.

Opener ‘The Ramble’ features the traditional Nordic black metal vocal style but it rests upon some inspired layers of musical tapestry lovingly woven together. ‘The Way of The Serpent’ is a slithering giant that wraps itself around you and threatens to squeeze the last drop of air from your lungs. At one point the incessant rolling rhythm appears to have the Burzum footprint through the middle with its relentless spellbinding hum. The soaring guitar licks are out in force again at the start of ‘The Devils Hand’ the drums taking a frenzied beating just to keep up.

Title track ‘Welcome Farewell’ opens with another pulsating riff before Sture Dingsøyr takes over with his distinctive black metal delivery. It then embarks on an epic journey that throbs like a hungry wolf with passion and emotion. Strom’s screeching guitar whine sets your fillings rattling on the longest number ‘Sights of Old’ before it veers off in a direction that is both compelling and complex and will have the hairs on your neck dancing with its energy and enterprise. At times Sture’s tortured tonsils are fighting to be heard the above the din, despair and delight seemingly in equal measure before Vreid slow things down to a crawl with a soothing harmony that’s both intricate and intimate.

What these Norwegians do so well is write material that Satan would nod his devil horns to but with harmonies that would have John the Baptist rocking along with him. Disciples are one thing Vreid won’t be short of in the future if they continue to produce black metal in which it’s a pleasure to completely lose yourself and get taken on a ride more thrilling than anything to be found at Alton Towers.

Vreid – Welcome Farewell9 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. The Ramble
  2. Way Of The Serpent
  3. The Devils Hand
  4. Welcome Farewell
  5. The Reap
  6. Sights of Old
  7. Black Waves
  8. At The Brook
  9. Fossil (Bonus track)