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Vreid – Wild North West

Wild North West
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 06 May 2021, 11:32 AM

VREID is a Norwegian black metal and who formed out of the ashes of the legendary WINDIR in 2004. "Wild North West" is their ninth full length album. VREID don't seem to get the appreciation they deserve which is a shame because their output is always solid, varied and adventurous. "Wild North West" continues that trend in earnest. It steps outside the box and owns it straight up—–I sense no fear here but total confidence of a band who are playing what they want to play.

The opening title track begins with organ and bass before those sweet blackened groove riffs settle in. The drums give the song a "black and roll" feel and I love how the bass is much of the focus especially when the organ is playing. Throughout the album the bass is thick yet melodic and it's good to hear a black metal album make it so integral to their sound. The vocals are throaty with plenty of heft behind it.  Around the 3:30 I can hear some slight post elements with the guitar melodies. The drums hammer hard during all this, never letting us forget this is black metal.

Whereas that track was energetic and boastful, the mood changes for the "Morning Red" when the riffs and clean guitar give it a sinister as hell feeling. Yet there is a dark western feel to it, like a person wading into a situation they don’t quite understand the dangers of yet. The melodic guitar solo around the 1:35 mark is a nice way to bridge the early moments of the song together and it sounds damn good too. The vocals are layered with quieter near whispered cleans and low blackened growls as the music builds up. I could feel the tension building because of the drums…then that harrowing scream pushes the song overboard.

"Spikes of God" reveals yet another part of the album's dimensions. This song is definitely the most "traditional" black metal track on the album. VREID still throw some surprises into it though like its clean note section in the song's middle.  This is a whiplash of track!  I couldn't write this review without mentioning the most odd song of the bunch, "Dazed and Reduced."  Musically it is simple, metal mixed with hard rock. The vocals are spacey and wouldn't sound out of place on a stoner doom album. Would I like an entire album like this from VREID? Of course not but a song like this every now and then won't hurt…the song IS good and fits into the album in the overall flow.

The final track is the nearly ten minute long "Shadowland" and it is an excellent way to close it all down. Organs light up the landscape and lay down a path for the guitars run over, which are more intricate and methodical than some of the previous tracks. The song settles on a decent cadence which helps the song not at all seem like it is ten minutes long. There are plenty of melodic moments mixed with heavier ones throughout—this is a song that is put together well.

All in all, VREID have created a varied and sprawling piece of black metal that captures the spirit of the genre while showing a willingness to be forward thinking and a desire to be different.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

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
Hváll - Bass, Keyboards (Additional), Vocals (Additional)
Steingrim - Drums
Sture Dingsøyr - Vocals, Guitars
Strom - Guitars
Record Label: Season of Mist Records


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Edited 31 March 2023

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