From its tumultuous inception, the Norwegian metal scene has always been about pioneering. While embracing the illustrious black metal history as part of their musical heritage, the many iconic bands have now evolved in various directions. Leading the black ‘n roll movement in Norway, VREID are the perfect example of that. The band arose in 2004 from the ashes of WINDIR after the tragic perishing of Terje ‘Valfar’ Bakken. The Sognametal legends declared the mission of exploring new musical paths, which they have pushed to even greater heights on their new record ‘Wild North West’.
The ninth record is not just a collection of songs, but a concept album that developed alongside an entire movie. Throughout eight chapters you will be taken on a journey deep into the mountains, to a dark place where the borders between reality and fantasy fade and where death is only one step behind you: The Wild North West. Not just in sheer size of the project but also in terms of music videography, creativity, and determination, VREID have done something truly unique and lifted their art to a new dimension.
On the concept, founder and bass player Jarle Hváll Kvåle states: “Wild North West is a concept story about life itself and its eternal shadow: death. It is built around the world of our fictional character E, but it is surely inspired by my own life, my band’s life, historical events and many tales that have inspired me over the years. Is it a true story or fictional? I would have to say both, and sometimes is hard tell the difference.”
‘Wild North West’ features the most extreme and intense work of the band to date, as well as heavy and melodic rock songs. These influences have always been a part of VREID’s DNA, and it is this combination that makes up the spirit of Sognametal. A remarkable homage to that same musical spirit is the song “Into the Mountains”. The ideas for that track were written in 2002 by Jarle ‘Hváll’ Kvåle and Terje ‘Valfar’ Bakken (WINDIR). Inspired by these ideas, Hváll wrote the song and included the original demo keyboard tracks from 2002, recorded back then by Valfar.
VREID have always chosen a course of constant evolution that is marked by thematically denoted phases regarding their often historically inspired lyrics. This became particularly clear with albums ‘I Krig’ (2007) and ‘Milorg’ (2009), which both revolved around concepts dealing with resistance and liberation of Norway during World War II. With their following three records, the pitch black brigade returned to their Norse roots on ‘Sólverv’ which received high critical acclaim in 2015.
In 2018, the Norwegians teamed up with Season of Mist for their previous full-length ‘Lifehunger’, a record that successfully blended elements of 70’s rock, 80’s classic metal, and Norwegian black metal and which featured a remarkable guest contribution from SÓLSTAFIR’s vocalist Addi Tryggvason on the track “Hello Darkness”.
VREID have hammered out their success partly by being a heavily touring band. The four-piece performed more than 500 shows in 25 countries so far. Their everlasting march to conquer new territories has led the Norwegians to headline tours in Europe, North America, Japan, and India.
The band’s onward march did not come to a halt in 2020, a year that will go down as devastating for the international music scene. VREID launched their own beer, which turned out to be the biggest success of the Balder Brewery as the first batches were sold out immediately. Instead of waiting to be able to tour again, the Norwegians invited the fans to their home region and hosted a massive streaming concert among the beautiful mountainous surroundings of the Sognefjord. The concert, ‘Into the Mountains of Sognametal’ took place in June 2020 was viewed by over 140.000 people from more than 40 countries.
In 2021, VREID will once more invite the fans to their dark, cold, and wild universe but tread carefully as from these haunted mountains, no man can descend.
Welcome to the Wild North West.