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(Indie Records)
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jools green

Jools Green


Vreid formed in 2004 out of the ashes of Windir, following the death of lead singer and founder Valfar. Since then they have delivered seven full lengths, including this latest offering, ‘Sólverv’, the third with Strom, who was also with Hváll ,Sture and Steingrim in Windir.

As much as I liked the other albums, these; the 2011’s Norwegian Grammy nominated ‘V’ and 2013‘s ‘Welcome Farewell’ , have made a bigger impression on me and were very accessible, easy listens and now ‘Sólverv’ continues to impress.

For ‘Sólverv’, they have moved away somewhat, from the ‘black ‘n’ roll’ sound, for a more minimal classic Black Metal sound, it’s still an easy listen, there is enough melody and some memorable lead work to make it so, as well as concentrating on a good composition and delivery.

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As a result ‘Sólverv’ is a chunk of well crafted, icy Norwegian Black Metal from the quartet. In another change, this time around Hváll has gone back to all Norwegian lyrics, its predecessors ’Milorg’, ‘Welcome Farewell’ and ‘V’ all had English lyrics.

It does add a blacker feel to the album enhanced by Sture’s sinister and rasping vocal delivery and certainly nothing is lost from this, if anything it adds to the atmosphere, a brave but good decision on the part of Hváll.

You couldn’t wish for a more dramatically dark and haunting opener than that on ‘Haust’, turning intense and icy as the rapid riffing and rasping vocals arrive, the tempo and direction switching is dramatic, seamlessly executed and completed by superb closing lead-work.

Title track ‘Sólverv ‘ has a classic Black Metal sound that is superbly delivered with just enough melody to make it both catchy and listenable. The final two minutes take on a whole new mood and sound , but it works well and feels right, a track that remains with you long after it has finished.

‘Geitaskadl ‘ has well punctuated rapid riffing to open, followed with an almost thrash like guitar squeal , militaristic drum beats, rapid switching, all completed by vitriolic rasping vocals and superb keyboard enhanced, closing lead work on this well constructed track.

‘Ætti sitt Fjedl‘ has beautifully haunting riffing , great high profile drum work and the lyrics have a superb delivery, well intonated and complemented by clean backing vocals. The whole track is delivered very much like a journey through enjoined rooms and with each door you open, so another mood presents itself - a stunning track.

‘Når Byane Brenn ‘ is a dramatic and protracted builder, haunting symphonics, drumbeats, gritty riffs, building layer upon layer, fully coming to fruition at after almost three minutes holding your attention and feeding you anticipation all the while, again well varied in its tempo and direction and concluding in a similar manner to how it began.

Layers of fast riffs build, appropriately, like an oncoming storm as ‘Storm frå Vest ‘ opens. It’s a fast, punchy and vitriolic offering with classic Black Metal styling and great midpoint and second half lead work, the final minute taking a dramatic drop-away before more very melodic lead work.

It’s dark drama to the very end and the stops are pulled all the way out with ‘Fridom med daudens klang’, opening on tolling bells, air-raid sirens and a symphonic build overlaid with military drumbeats that will have the hair in the back of your neck standing on end.

More atmospheric keyboards and tight riffing builds the atmosphere further, with the vocals arriving at the three minute mark on this intense nine minute offering, dramatically garnished with crashing cymbals, a poignant interlude falling away to a haunting bell.

There are more symphonics and choral elements before a sudden rapid rebuild of intense riffing and rasping vocals, finally closing on haunting lead work that weaves its way through intense pummelling drum work keeping it exciting to the very last note.

‘Sólverv’ is a solid, well crafted and well delivered offering from a band who are consistent, to a high standard, not only in the studio but also live. And there is a lot to be said for that.

There is also much more to this album than you realise on the first listen, the more you play it the more it totally enthrals you with its complexities and even though all of the tracks pass the six minute mark you never feel any are too long.

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