"Welcome Farewell"

By Dr. Abner Mality

These guys have to be the most hard-working and consistent band from Norway. I don't think a year has gone by for 8 years without a new Vreid album and all of them have been good. "Welcome Farewell" is no exception, but I can't say it surpasses what they've done before. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there seems to be a certain spark missing from "Welcome Farewell". The record has all of Vreid's trademarks, but seems to not be as edgy or aggressive as in the past.

Their songwriting is unique and hard to categorize. Black metal is the foundation, but not the face-painted, spike-wearing kind. There's lots of "regular" metal and even rock influences here, but merged so well with BM that it's hard to tell where one style ends and the other begins. "Welcome Farewell" seems to have a homely, rural atmosphere to it that reflects the morbid, folkish cover art. It's not as militaristic or slamming as last Vreid efforts "Milorg" and "V". I get the feeling the guys wanted to get in touch with the spirit of the Norse countryside here, but I'm not quite sure that improved the product.

Darkness abounds , even if its not the throat-ripping kind. "Way of the Serpent" is a definite tip of the pitchfork to oldschool black metal and is one of the best tracks here because of it. "Black Waves" is a glum track with a more plodding feel and "The Ramble" almost has a Children of Bodom aura to it, minus the instrumental histrionics. The songs are interesting and take a lot of twists, but at album's end, I don't feel it is Vreid at their most dynamic.

This will satisfy most of the band's fans, but those who like a nastier edge in their music may be somewhat disappointed.