Wild North West

Wild North West

With their ninth album, melodic black-metal kings Vreid have created a soundtrack to their own movie of the same name. As such, each of the songs on Wild North West corresponds to a section of the film, and those sections are music videos for the songs. “We were about halfway there writing the album when we decided on the movie,” Vreid bassist and songwriter Jarle “Hváll” Kvåle tells Apple Music. “Then we started filming and recording at the same time, so there was a lot of back and forth. The movie kind of changed some of the music, and the other way around. It became a very strange way of working.” Below, Kvåle discusses each track on Wild North West—and how one song, in particular, finds its roots in the Vreid members’ previous band, Windir, which dissolved in 2004 after the accidental death of its founder, Terje “Valfar” Bakken.
Wild North West “I wanted there to be no doubt that you’re now listening to a Vreid album. When I had the first riff going, I knew instantly that it would be the opening track. It’s heavy and it’s very melodic at the end there.”
Wolves at Sea “The first part of the song is very classic, melodic black metal. I would say it’s one of the most black-metal sounding songs on the album, but it ended up a bit different at the end. On the last theme of the song, we have a break and I included piano and different stuff.”
The Morning Red “When I started this song, it was clearly influenced by Alice Cooper, Scorpions, Maiden, and Metallica—how they do these slow, heavy songs and build into something more intense. When I listened over and over again to my favorite Metallica albums, like Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, they have the faster, more extreme stuff and then the slow song coming in there at the third or fourth song—I love that feeling. It kind of reminds me of what we did on the first album with tracks like ‘Helvete.’”
Shadows of Aurora “This started out as two songs, but in the last rehearsal before we went in and did our first recordings, I put them together. One of the songs had a very slow, doom-ish kind of Pink Floyd vibe to it, whereas the other was a kind of classic thrash song that very much pays homage to the ’80s and ’90s scene. I think this is something that a lot of people have not seen so much of with Vreid on the previous albums. It’s more in the vein of when we started playing when we were 15 or 16 years old. It’s going back to youth somehow.”
Spikes of God “When people see this title, they get this blasphemous, black-metal vibe. But it’s something completely different. It’s an even uglier story of lobotomy and how people were treated during much of the 20th century all over the world. It’s a very disturbing theme, and I felt that it really needed a disturbing song. Some of the chords are a bit off and it’s got many weird elements. It’s got such an ugly atmosphere that doesn’t let up. In many ways, it’s the most extreme song we’ve ever done with Vreid.”
Dazed and Reduced “This is the complete opposite to the track before, and that’s also following the story of the movie: There’s something completely new happening here now. It’s one of the most catchy, straightforward, heavy rock ’n’ roll songs we’ve ever done. There’s completely different vocals than anything else we are used to listening for with Vreid. If we would try to mix more extreme elements into the song, we’d destroy it. This song shows a complete other side of Vreid, and I’m extremely proud of it.”
Into the Mountains “Early in the process of making this album, I went through all my old hard drives and found some riffs and keyboard parts from 2002 that I had written and forgotten all about. This was in sessions for Windir, when we were making music with Valfar before he died. So, it felt very, very strange to find these things. But I was so inspired, I spent two days in the studio playing these riffs. Then came new ideas, and in many ways, it felt like me and Valfar were sitting there making music again. It was very emotional to take this journey 20 years back in time.”
Shadowland “It’s by far the longest song of the album. Actually, this organ that’s starting the whole song, this came in while I was making the movie. It wasn’t there in the beginning. But when the drums and guitars come in, I think that was written before we released the previous album, Lifehunger. Very early, I had the idea that this was going to be the closing track for the album. It feels like a grand finale, and I’m quite happy with the way it turned out.”


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