“Metal” is a word than can be applied to a very broad array of music. We as a musical community have spent the last 30+ years slicing and dicing bands up into genres and sub-genres and even sub-sub-genres. This sort of categorization, both mentally and in print, sometimes leads us to be pleasantly surprised any time a band successfully blends sounds from across genres. One such band that has made a living off of making their sound as indescribable as possible is Norway’s Vreid.
Mixing elements of black metal, thrash, traditional metal and good old fashioned rock n’ roll, Vreid create a sound that almost always defies succinct one or two word genre-based descriptions. Their new album, Welcome Farewell, is no exception. If you removed the vocals completely from this album you might not consider it a black metal album at all. The riffs and the song structures themselves borrow more from the early days of metal (specifically the brief few years when metal was simply “metal”) than from the corpsepaint wearing purveyors of black metal. The album is still black metal in spirit if nothing else though and those raspy, demonic vocals alone link it back to the genre. But it also gives off a certain aura of grimness that just reeks of black metal. Not to mention that tracks like “The Ramble” and “Way of the Serpent” have more in common with artists like Immortal and Satyricon than anyone else. The latter track especially, with it’s blast beat opening.
But as the album progresses so too grows the inclusion of more and more elements dragged from their darkened corners of the metal landscape. Honestly, there are just as many, if not more, parts of this album that share common ground with a litany of artists not directly connected with black metal as it does black metal itself. By album’s end you’ll have heard as much Mercyful Fate or Possessed influence as you would anything else. Regardless of what you want to call it the one thing you can call this album is kick ass. It’s a cold, dark record that perfectly embodies the loneliness and harshness of the thematic life cycle held within the lyrics. Welcome Farewell sees it’s official release here in the States on March 5 on Indie Recordings.
I’m going to open this up to you guys to give me some homework. In the comments field below throw out some bands from your local scene you think deserve more attention! The one caveat – make sure they are an active band and preferably have released original music in the last year. Go!