"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Vreid - "Welcome Farewell" (CD)

Vreid - "Welcome Farewell" CD cover image

"Welcome Farewell" track listing:

1. The Ramble (5:17)
2. Way of the Serpent (5:29)
3. The Devil's Hand (3:39)
4. Welcome Farewell (6:32)
5. The Reap (3:56)
6. Sights of Old (8:37)
7. Black Waves (4:19)
8. At the Brook (4:47)

Reviewed by on February 15, 2013

"Somewhere in Norway, the secret conclave for the preservation of black metal purity is likely planning a hit on these guys."

Even with many bands moving away from their early roots (or dropping off the map entirely), Norway can still be pretty consistently relied on for some devilishly good black metal. The Vreid machine’s latest output is easily in that category, although “Welcome Farewell” does its fair share of flirting with other sub-genres as well. For black metal with a melodic twist, fans could do a lot worse than explore these eight tracks.

While much of the album brings up the sound of the ‘90s black metal scene (shades of Emperor and Ancient are both prevalent) and there’s a good deal of furious blasting drum beats, these tracks are constantly infused with interesting and unexpected melodies. “The Devil’s Hand” is where the twist starts to become prominent, offering up something more akin to “black ‘n' roll” than straight-up freezing darkness. Vreid also uses the track as an opportunity to break a cardinal rule of black metal: the audience is able to easily hear the bass. Somewhere in Norway, the secret conclave for the preservation of black metal purity is likely planning a hit on these guys.

“The Reap” is a highlight track and another one that really showcases the more melodic elements, as it creates a strong ‘70s occult rock vibe, starting off with a riff that would be right at home on an offering from The Devil’s Blood. This eclectic nature extends across the entire disc, as three-minute tracks sit next to nearly nine-minute cuts, and there’s a balancing act between the laid-back moments and the full-on metal assaults.

While purists of black metal may not care for the melodic rock riffage, overall “Welcome Farewell” is an incredibly solid disc that offers a little of everything. If you like a good balance, where the black metal has a unique atmosphere and identity without diving all the way into the symphonic realm, definitely give this one a listen.

Highs: An eclectic mix of sounds from Norwegian black metal veterans.

Lows: Doesn't fully commit to either the melodic or the black metal side, and it's a good bet people on either side of the spectrum will find something they don't like here.

Bottom line: Vreid gives black metal a melodic rock twist with "Welcome Farewell."

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)