Formed in 2004 after the demise of black/folk/viking metal band Windir, Norwegian black metal band Vried are set to release the seventh full length of their 11 year career, 'Sólverv' via Indie Recordings.
The production quality on this album is excellent, nothing is overstated, which is definitely an important factor in an album featuring sparse symphonic elements as it would be all to easy to play up these sections making the album as a whole sound a little silly, to be frank.
Starting off slow and quite atmospheric, album opener 'Haust' doesn't take long to bring in some blast beats, tremolo picked guitars and raspy vocals typical to the genre. That's not to say that this is a tick the boxes exercise in black metal, the songwriting on display here is phenomenal. It could be, dare I say it, the best of their career. There's hooks aplenty throughout, some fantastic solos and subtle glimpses of symphonics buried deep behind layers of melodic guitars, a fantastically tight rhythm section and Sture Dingsøyr's evil sounding vocal delivery.
Highlights are the title track which starts off at a frantic pace, building into an extremely catchy chorus, bringing to mind Emperor in their heyday. The proggy, Enslaved-esque 'Ǽtti Sitt Fjedl' and album closer 'Fridom med daudens klang' which starts with bells and air raid sirens before tribal drums kick in, effectively building tension with a creepy atmospheric symphonic section; leading into another track with all of the hallmarks of a great black metal song.
'Sólverv' is a shining example of modern Norwegian black metal, enough to simultaneously remind fans of the classics of the genre and leave them with a sense of hope for the future of black metal. This one will slot easily into a place in mine, and I've no doubt many, top ten albums of the year.