Vreid – Lifehunger

(W)This year’s visit to Bergen (Norway) offered me, besides (the same-ol’) Trolls, fjords, rain and (really) expensive beers, a rather nice chance: Attending a listening session of the new Vreid album. In no other bar than the infamous Garage and presented by Hvåll (Jarle Kvåle) himself. The album, after the symphonic intro, sounds like a new, much more epic Vreid. Room is made for a more expansive sound and symphonic constructions (to blow the mind here and there). Some intricate drumming and flowing vocal/guitar harmonies I noticed on One Hundred Years and Dead White. Chugging away with the old, luckily still sharp axe, is done on title track Lifehunger. Hello Darkness I would have gladly traded for more songs like Black Rites in the Black Nights, a heavy weight and brilliant epos.

Well, is it really that good, or did the first afternoon beer bias my already happy state of being in Norway? Ingrid took some proper, un-beer-biased time to listen to it attentively and seriously; here is what she thinks of Lifehunger.

(I)It’s been three years already since self-proclaimed ‘Norwegian Black ‘n Roll’ band Vreid, released their previous album Solverv and I must admit I slightly lost track of them since then as well. Now they’re about to release their 8th full length and back in the picture.

With Vreid, as well as Cor Scorpii, releasing a new album (Ruin) this year, the Sognametal genre is more alive than ever. Yet where Cor Scorpii continued to create music in the Windir style, Vreid has developed more a style of their own through the years. The ‘old’ Sognametal sound is still present, but the Black ‘n Roll riffs are what define their music and are the life line through Lifehunger as well.

There’s a lot of variation on the album and Vreid are experimenting here and there. Best example would be Hello Darkness, where they are collaborating with Solstafir singer Aðalbjörn ‘Addi’ Tryggvason. Now I have to talk about this song. I do like Solstafir and I like Vreid, but I have to admit that for me, Hello Darkness is out of place on the album. I get the philosophy (see what I did there) behind it, but I am not convinced. The song itself isn’t bad, I actually like it, that is, until the cowbell. The combination of Addi his voice with Vreid their riffs gives a very post-metal/ doom-stoner rock sound to it, which is helped by the fact that the song is a lot calmer than what we are used to. But it would have been better as a bonus song instead of splitting the album in two halves.

Also surprising are the clean vocals in One Hundred Years, an experiment that works a lot better. After the instrumental intro Flowers & Blood, this is the first song we hear and immediately it is the wall of sound you are waiting for during Flowers & Blood. Halfway in, One Hundred Years calms down for about one minute towards a storytelling sound. Changing the tempo during the songs is something Vreid has mastered and you will find back in almost every song on the album.

Personal highlights for me are title track and bass orientated Lifehunger, and Black Rites in the Black Nights (Mine too, says Wouter). Both songs are very raw, yet defined by extremely straightforward riffs. Vreid might tend to lean a little more to the prog metal sound every now and then, but both of these songs honor their black metal roots

That the album has an extremely varied sound to it once again is proven by Sokrates Must Die. The song gives me a very ‘Melechesh’ feeling, especially those of you who know the song Leper Jerusalem will understand what I mean. But then again, I like Melechesh, and I also like this, for Vreid standards, short yet very up-tempo song.
In the end I must conclude that even though it thought it was an ok album from the first spin, it had to grow a little on me to get fully appreciated. The album has, like said before, a highly varied sound to it, but since it’s representing life(hunger) itself, this fits. Because of this, Lifehunger is very accessible, also for non-black metal fans.

Record label: Season Of Mist
Release date: September 28th 2018

Review by: Ingrid (first impressions by Wouter)

Rating: 85/100

Tracklist:
01. Flowers & Blood
02. One Hundred Years
03. Lifehunger
04. The Dead White
05. Hello Darkness
06. Black Rites In The Black Nights
07. Sokrates Must Die
08. Heimatt