Vreid: Welcome Farewell

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Vreid: Welcome Farewell
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Vreid: Welcome Farewell
Melodic Black Metal
Indie Recordings
March 5th, 2013
Release length: 42:47
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Vreid formed back in 2004, and since then has really come a long way. While not a household sensation yet, this group’s form of Melodic Black Metal, which at times has a bit of a Hard Rock vibe, has earned the respect and admiration of many a Metalhead. They have issued five full-length albums, their most recent, V, was a smash hit among fans and critics alike. Now, two years later, Vreid return to tear into you once more with Welcome Farewell. But, is this as big a quality hit as their previous effort, or does it wind up being a step backwards?

Welcome Farewell carries a crisp, modern quality that in no way affects the impact of the music. The bass guitar is more of a mid-range hum, giving the material enough backbone while contributing to the somewhat sharper and creepy atmosphere the guitars have. The leads, however, do have a cleaner sound when tackling some melodic hooks. The cymbals have varying levels, but for the most part are rather loud, and the bass kicks tread the line between having a subtle click and a thud, while the snares have a somewhat full, tighter sound. Finally, you have the rhaspy vocals with a nice range, and at a decent volume, never being too loud or too low, though largely restricted when it comes to the amount of energy utilized.

One positive aspect right off the bat is the very brief introduction on “The Ramble.” This sets up that eerie atmosphere nicely, and then gets right to the music without delay. The performance makes things rather cold, and for the most part the bass is simple, but really makes its presence felt. The vocals vary in enthusiasm, but that restrictive approach works to give a sinister touch that the concluding guitar solo really capitalizes on. “Welcome Farewell” has a nice underlying marching groove to the darker sections, primarily the start, and then just an aggressive touch later on. The guitar solo around four and a half mintues ushers in a morose atmosphere for a brief time, and links to the more emotional climax well enough. “Black Waves” is another somewhat somber offering. The main passages find a spoken word approach that gives the song a b-movie vibe. Unfortunately, these areas end up kind of boring, as if a long lead in to a larger payoff. It does deliver somewhat, but very briefly with a thicker passage at the very end.

Of course, not all songs have that eerie sound. “The Reap” throws back to the first generation Black Metal days, having more of a NWOBHM touch to the music that is instantly infectious thanks to the hooks found in the leads. Much like the bass guitar presence in “The Ramble,” the main verses here are incredibly simple, but get the job done. The vocals also lose some edge at times, going for a rougher approach that the harsher, more enthusiastic style wouldn’t really work with outside the richer passages. But, then there’s “The Devil’s Hand,” which lacks any real sort of atmosphere entirely, focusing more on catchier material that ends up a bit light, though you wouldn’t tell from the harsher start. After that, the music thins a bit, finding the bass presence minimal, unlike the bass kicks that eventually pick up, and even usher in some upbeat two-stepping prior to a somewhat redundant breakdown behind a well done guitar solo.

Welcome Farewell does have a few tracks that are a bit boring, and “The Devil’s Hand” is largely forgettable. Thankfully there’s enough solid material to really keep the listener invested, and have you banging your head along for most of the release. This one has plenty of replay value, but as time goes on you’ll find yourself skipping songs and choosing the more atmospheric cuts like “The Ramble,” or even the old-school throwback “The Reap,” among others. If you’re a fan of Vreid, chances are good you won’t be let down. Welcome Farewell isn’t exactly one of the strongest offerings from the band, nor does it really hold a torch to V, but it’s still an enjoyable effort from the band that seems to only be dragged down by the more accessable passages and tracks.

01. The Ramble – 5:19
02. Way of the Serpent – 5:30
03. The Devils Hand – 3:41
04. Welcome Farewell – 6:33
05. The Reap – 3:58
06. Sights of Old – 8:38
07. Black Waves – 4:20
08. At the Brook – 4:48
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Vreid
Vreid

Digital review copy of this release provided by Indie Recordings via Earsplit PR.