Vried - V
Despite the fact that Vried is a band you could run a checklist of the history of metal on and find all the bases covered (from shredding solos to acoustic interludes, from orchestral/organ horror movie to icy progressive), they manage to keep their music direct and fresh. "V" is the latest mix of old-school and, well, Vried playing old school metal, a blueprint that seems to endlessly promise and deliver on the dramatics and the riff heavy hammer-slap.
The more thrashy tunes like "The Blood Eagle" and ""Fire On The Mountain" burn off any lingering sluggishness from their dramatic melodies with killer riffs and extended but tasteful solos. Some of the solos are as interesting as they are frantic, especially on "Sound of the River" and "Wolverine Bastards."
Slower tunes are less gripping, and the spoken word section on "The Other and The Look" don't really work, but they never really do, do they? Didn't Spinal Tap prove that? "Welcome to the Asylum" and "Then We Die" also trip over the attempt to be dramatic and passionate, but are rather silly.
Vried are at their best when the riffs are heavy, and explored both within the melody and in smart, crushing solos. Their fifth release ("V," get it?) fortunately is full of such satisfying moments. The duds are no more frequent (or different) than on records by similar bands. Still, this is a band with energy and passion, with a knack for memorable, if not consistent, metal melodies.
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