The question for Norway's Vried is this: how do you follow-up 2011's V, an album celebrated by many as a flawless example of black 'n' roll, and nominated for the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy?
The question for Norway's Vried is this: how do you follow-up 2011's V, an album celebrated by many as a flawless example of black 'n' roll, and nominated for the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy? Well, tip of the hat to the band for not simply repeating the formula. The band's latest release, Welcome Farewell, contains Vried's customary blend of melodic, black and '80s metal set about '70s rock rhythms, but it also grants more room to thrash metal and a rawer sound overall.
Welcome Farewell certainly isn't as polished as V. "Way of the Serpent" and "The Ramble" lean hard on the brittle tremolo end of the spectrum, with vocalist Sture Dingsøyr spitting out razor-blade croaks. The thickset bass rumble following the melodic intro of "At the Brook" sounds fittingly sinister and swampy, and "The Devil’s Hand" and "Black Waves" come dripping with guitar-god leads. Throughout Welcome Farewell, the drums, bass and riffs sound avidly mean, providing harsher snags for fans keen on more baleful pursuits.
However, the album isn't, by any means, smothered in tenebrous noise, and its fluctuations between black and thrash metal and melodic rock are still accessible for those seeking sounds both grunt-laden and grim. Vried is very good at what it does, making black 'n' roll that's instilled with plenty of '70s hard rock and classic '80s metal. While Welcome Farewell sees Vried heading into a darker and less immediate direction, ultimately, the album is still replete with plenty of catchy hooks.