Released: 2013, Indie Recordings
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Given their history a new album from Vreid is always likely to be welcomed with open arms. Their last release, V, was not only critically acclaimed but also nominated for a Norwegian Grammy, and so no matter how hard it tries Welcome Farewell still tracks in a trail of expectation when it walks in your door. It might as well accept it and start demanding a fanfare to announce its every move.
Being born out of the demise of Windir, Vreid is supposedly black metal but really it’s more accurately described by the affectionate term black ‘n’ roll. Blah, blah, cross-genres, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t - black ‘n’ roll definitely does. Whilst the black metal influence gives Vreid that recently-hacked raw edge, the thrashier side of things just helps to warm up the frosty atmosphere that the genre sometimes brings in with it.
For purists looking for something to cling on to, well the vocals of Sture very much fit the black metal theme - it’s a voice that sounds as though it’s been dragged over hot coals and is in the process of healing. Musically though Welcome Farewell fields menace and muscle in equal measures as typified on its title track.
Then there’s ‘Sights Of Old’ the first passage of which is just a throat clearer for the close-to-copy-paste ‘Raining Blood’-like riff that fights for its head and wins, whilst ‘The Devils Hand’ invokes the wistful past of Metallica with a quite-unbecoming-for-black-metal gallop. With the kind of melodic opening Machine Head do a good trade in, ‘Black Waves’s’ partly spoken lyrics add a deeper shade to muddy the waters, and ‘At The Brook’ rushes at you to get everything else out before the album ends. It leaves you thinking... ‘is it over’... ‘that’s it?’... right ok breathe.
And then it hits you, just for a moment, but for that moment there’s an empty space, an unspoken expectancy of just a bit more. With a title that sounds as though it’s both waving hello and bidding you adieu at the same time, I guess what’s really important about Welcome Farewell is what happens in between those moments. Well enough that by the end I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye. Let’s do this again sometime, ok guys?
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs