Vreid/Windir/Ulcus – Underworld, London 23/10/14

vreid sognametal

2014 is a special anniversary for the members of Vreid – not only does it mark 10 years since the formation of the band, it also marks the 20 year anniversary of the beginnings of Windir and Ulcus – 3 bands in which Hváll, Steingrim, Sture & Strom (who now make up Vreid) have all played and been composers in all 3 bands. What better way to celebrate this than to bring together a tour celebrating the music of all three bands?

Posthum (7/10) were a great way to warm up proceedings and they went down well with the crowd, who were really into the performance. Playing fairly traditional black metal, there weren’t any surprises in the set but it was indeed a powerful and engaging performance from the band, who were very much into their performance. When a band works hard onstage, the crowd in turn responds better, and this was definitely the case here. The highlight of the set was the title track of their new album The Black Northern Ritual, which was a true force to be reckoned with live!

Of course, it was Vreid (9/10) that everyone was most excited for. Starting off the set with some Windir material, which featured Valfar’s brother Vegard on vocals, Vreid visited all four of Windir’s core albums and an early highlight was Dance Of Mortal Lust, a track that already packs a punch on CD but the track was on a whole other level live. There was this furious energy to the track and hearing that wall of guitars was something to behold.

vreid sognametalLeaving the stage to have a quick lineup switch-about, the band returned to play a few songs from the Vreid back catalogue, including one of their earliest songs from their 2004 album Kraft, and it was interesting to hear Vreid material alongside Windir material because it shows how the band has evolved and changed over the years – especially when they then moved onto the Ulcus songs, which were a real treat to witness.

Following the Ulcus set, the band welcomed the other musicians back onstage as they paid tribute to the mastermind that was Valfar, and then played the song where Windir had all begun – Krigaren si gravferd – and then continued with a few more Windir songs for good measure, with the band asking if we wanted ‘one more song’ on multiple occasions before they finally brought things to a close with Journey To The End. A haunting and powerful performance of the song, you could tell everyone was putting all they could into the song in order to ensure it was a closing track to remember and the way it ended was incredible: as the band finished playing, the electronic-type section at the end filled the venue as they gave out setlists, drumsticks and plectrums, and shook hands of members of the crowd. It was ambient and striking to say the least.

This was truly a once in a lifetime performance, as many people weren’t able to witness Windir and Ulcus back when they were still playing shows, so it was a privilege to have actually witnessed it after so long. What a night!

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About Natalie Humphries 1854 Articles
Soundscape's editor, who is particularly fond of doom, black metal and folk (but will give anything a chance). Likes to travel to see bands abroad when she can. Contact: nathumphries@soundscapemagazine.com or @acidnat on twitter.

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