In a bleak 2021, Vreid’s Wild North West is undeniably a reason to celebrate. Not only is this one of the best records released this year by any label so far, it is, perhaps Vreid’s crowning achievement.
Wild North West will get you hooked right at the first listen and then provides a great deal of texture and nuance to keep you enthralled as you play it over and over again. And, if you’re like me, you’ll play this record an awful lot from start to finish. This makes sense, of course, as this is a concept album that takes the listener through a chilling tale comprised of mental illness, post-war malaise and a very deep admiration of David Lynch. In fact, we spoke to Vreid’s Jarle Kvale about the record, the breathtaking film accompaniment and the Sogndal region of Norway – the “wild north west” that the title references.
A highlight of the record is the band’s heaviest track to date, “Spikes of God,” followed up by the contrasting, slower, and more rock-driven “Dazed and Reduced.” “Dazed and Reduced” is one my favorite songs on the LP with it’s Alice Cooper, King Diamond texture to it. “Spikes of God,” by the way, is a horrific nightmare of a video:
“The Morning Red” is another standout in a record full of standouts. Love the leads on this one as well as the contrast in the composition. Songs like this one are endemic of the record in the sense that Vreid is expertly able to show restraint and create resonance where needed to more aptly engage the listener.
You’ve likely heard the opener already, “Wild North West.” Note that organ and those little touches of unique instrumentation in the mix. Though they certainly are capable of barreling through a song in traditional black metal style, the band diversifies it’s sonics by novel introduction of sound and timbre.
The piece de resistance, however, on this record is “Into the Mountains” which was crafted from ideas by Jarle Kvale and late Windir frontman Terje Bakken created back in 2002.
Wild North West is undeniably going to show up on a myriad of 2021’s “Best of” lists. It might just wind up on some best of the 2020’s lists as well, nine years from now.
Wild North West will be released on April 30 via Season of Mist. Pre-orders are available for ‘Wild North West’ HERE.