I saw one of the best live gigs ever, while I was comfortably sitting on my couch. It surely sounds like a lie, but I am 100% honest about it. In times like these, in fact, with a pandemic going on, live events are held online. VREID managed to make their live gig absolutely stunning, unique, and special, also thanks to a massive narrative, visual groundwork, and a beautiful location, strongly connected to the band’s values and history.
In the Mountains of Sognametal takes place in the Kvåle family’s summer mountain farm, Nysete, a place owned by the bassplayer’s ancestors for centuries, steeped in Norway’s history and full of memories connected to WINDIR, the band from whose ashes VREID was born.
The history of the band itself is deeply rooted in the environment – VREID was formed back in 2004 after WINDIR singer Terje Valfar Bakken‘s tragic death at the age of 25 due to hypothermia. Norwegian nature is breathtakingly beautiful, but it can also be extremely dangerous. In my opinion, these characteristics summarize pretty well the general feeling in both WINDIR and VREID’s music.
The setlist chosen by the band for this special event covers almost all of the discography, with a couple of nice surprises at the end of it, particularly valuable for WINDIR’s long-time supporters, but nevertheless remarkable to anyone who is into high quality music and live performances. The photographer, Håvard Nesbø, gave a strong contribution to the whole thing, taking charge of drones and cameras, providing also some aerial views of the surrounding landscape.
The opening song is an instrumental track called ”Heimatt,” which immediately gives a clear idea of the atmosphere: solemn and a little bit nostalgic. ”Millom Hav og Fjell,” which is inspired by the Norwegian national anthem, as singer/guitar player Sture Dingsøyr points out, is one of the highlights of this live session. The lyrics tell about a typical Norwegian landscape (the title itself means ”Between the sea and the mountains”), while the footage and the intensity of the band’s performance give a deeply emotional vibe to the audience, even if the audience is not physically there.
The song ”Empty,” from VREID’s debut album, performed live for the first time ever, sees a special guest in the role of singer Odne Røyrvik from the local band Sigtyr. Hvàll, the bass player, introduces the song as a dedication to his father and his bandmate and best friend Terje Valfar Bakken, who both died in the same period. The sense of loss is palpable, as the performance shows a high emotional feature and the song almost feels like an intimate eulogy.
The next song sees another very special guest joining the band on stage. I am talking about none other than Terje’s brother, Vegard Bakken, who performs one of the most representative WINDIR’s song: ”Arntor Ein Windir,” introduced by the guitar player as a song inspired by true historical events largely narrated in the WINDIR discography.
The balance between the will to pay homage to their long time gone bandmate and friend Terje, and the almost educational purpose in mentioning historical facts as an introduction to the next song, perfectly blends in such a scenery, making the whole live concert incredibly valuable and truly unique.
Hvàll announces the following track, ”Dauden” – another WINDIR song that has never been played live – as a dip in the past from nineteen years before and was a very pleasing gift to anyone who still feels nostalgic for WINDIR. The next to last song is ”Milorg,” taken from the self-titled album released by VREID in 2009 and named after the Norwegian resistance group against the Germans during World War II.
Before they start playing ”Når Byane Brenn” as a conclusion, the singer and the bassist thanked the audience and invited people to join them at Nysete, Sogndal, next year, hoping to have a real gig there with a live audience.
The end credits confirm, once again, Terje Valfar Bakken, forefathers and aftercomers, as the people this live session is dedicated to. ”See you on the road in 2021. Wash your hands and listen to metal loud,” was the final message and made me smile – metal music is a powerful tool, able to make people feel close to each other, even in such a difficult time and through a screen.
Written by Licia Mapelli
- Intro: Heimatt
- One Hundred Years
- The Reap
- Millom Hav og Fjell
- Eldast, utan å gro
- The Sound of the River
- Arntor, Ein Windir (Windir cover)
- Dauden (Windir cover)
- Når Byane Brenn
Interview with I Am Your God — “You’ll feel something when you listen to the album, that’s a promise.”