Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Label: Indie Recordings
I respect these guys for their decision to change their name into Vreid after the death of Valfar and the break up of Windir. They knew the band would not be the same without him and how they would change their sound, so the entity should also change it’s monicker. Since 2010, they also acquired former Windir guitarist Strom and now it’s almost everyone together again, as Vreid stays active and constantly grows. “Sólverv” (meaning “Solstice” in English) is the third album with this line up and it follows 2013’s “Welcome Farewell”.
With this band, I’m never totally sure what I’m going to hear because they’re relatively free in terms of composition, even though a strong spirit of the Norwegian scene is always present. The new album has crystal clear production and the vocals are slightly more shrieked than the last album, setting the standards for any modern black metal record. Of course, there are a lot of melodic passages going on around and a bit of ambient instrumentation to spice up the tracks.
“Sólverv” shows some serious Vreid talent from the very beginning, with the first two tracks “Haust” and “Sólverv” being a festival of musical euphoria. They are perfectly structured and interesting, including excellent lines and memorable riffs that make the album very appealing in the ears of a listener who just wants to check out what’s what. Taking the record from track 1 is a good choice in liking it and the band in general. “Geitaskadl” is one of the long pieces in the album and it has lot’s of action, from wonderful solos to moments of ambiance and it fades off nicely.
On the other hand, the changes between parts the band chooses to do feel a bit weird and doesn’t stick up that much. While “Ætti Sitt Fjedl” is getting stronger and stronger from the middle and so on, it’s introduction sounds like the most boring, uninspiring post-black metal band ever. “Storm Frå Vest” starts off with traditional metal riffs and fast drumming, in the vein of the good side of Vreid, but then goes a bit more middle paced and suddenly throws a semi-groove guitar part that sounds horrible. I can’t really understand what happened there.
“Når Byane Brenn” is one of the best tracks of the record along with the opening ones, because of it’s great synth lines and introduction. The last piece is also the longest, namely “Fridom Med Daudens Klang” and moving mostly in a funereal pace (apart from a middle part) towards the end of the album. There are mostly samples and ambient lines there, so it’s more atmospheric than the rest of the tracks, giving the feeling as if you know nothing will come after it finishes. Even the harsh guitar lines at times aren’t that much violent, rather nostalgic I would say.
All in all, I wouldn’t say “Sólverv” is a bad album but it isn’t a particularly moving one either. Half of it I like a lot, other parts I can’t stand listening to and it’s not that special to me at the end of the day. There are very positive elements in some moments that fully characterize Vreid and it’s suggested you listen to this for them only. However, you can also look for other more powerful material they have released and you won’t be let down.