Norway’s Vreid return for their ninth proper full length Wild North West, a concept album developed alongside a movie, delving deep into the mountains all while being accompanied there by the sounds of black ‘n roll and wondrous melody.
The band’s best work was their run from I Krig to V, which showed just how much the band could convey through their melody and songwriting. However, the last few albums seemed to have fallen off a bit. Let us see what Wild North West has to offer us.
The title track kicks things off while balancing out the speeds, the quick sections feel as though a storm is consuming our traveler, all while the quiet moments that begin to feel fleeting after a while could be observed via a high mountain peak. “Wolves at Sea” is beautifully well orchestrated from the pounding drums to the slowly layered guitars with the harsh vocals as the cherry on top; a masterclass in extreme metal song structure.
“Shadows of Aurora” speeds through your ear canals without regard to the listener, letting up only a little between sections, a slight breather for those making the already dangerous trek. A guitar solo here seems to signal a victory of some sort, no matter the level of said victory.
“Into the Mountains” starts with the title being spoken and dives in headfirst with tremolo picked riffs to juxtapose this against the frosty landscapes you have been traversing. Being that Vreid were formed from the ashes of the legendary Windir, it bears mentioning that the roots for this track were written between the 1184 and Likferd recordings, the last two albums the band would record. For those familiar with the band, it certainly sounds like it too.
“Shadowland” is the centerpiece of the album, clocking in at nearly 10 minutes on its own. The tempos vary between dizzying riffs to help carry the story, to passages that are a bit simpler, feeling desolate and empty by comparison, filling the atmosphere with both beauty and dread.
With this new album, Vreid solidify any questions about more recent albums with their best album since Welcome Farewell. This is a cohesive story told through the music being played. The listener is merely an omnipresent participant just along for the ride. Wild North West is a harrowing tale and a fun one to experience repeatedly.
(released April 30, 2021 on Season Of Mist)
Heavy Music HQ Rating:
Watch Vreid – “Into The Mountains” Video