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Melodic death metal has become a very predictable genre as of late. You've got your Soilwork types, your At the Gates types, your Dark Tranquillity types, and your Amon Amarth types all within plain view; sure, they all may be entertaining, but they sure don't bring anything new to the plate. There are a few glimmers of originality here and there, yes, but for every one The Absence or Disarmonia Mundi you've got ten copycats. There really hasn't been much that has separated itself from the pack.
Enter Vornagar. These guys are, for the most part, a bunch of unknowns, aside from drummer extraordinaire Marco Pitruzzella. In all honesty, it was Lord Marco himself that made me notice this band. I had heard his work in Brain Drill (yes, we know, Brain Drill sucks), and I must say that I was greatly impressed by the dude's incredible speed and precision, which stood out significantly among the rest of the band. I then decided to see if he had been in anything better, and lo and behold, I happened across Vornagar. I was not disappointed.
First off, by melodic, I don't mean faggy Gothenburg plagiarism. I'm talking epic, charging into battle melodic. These guys are also very creative and original songwriters, seamlessly switching from an epic tremolo/blast section to an upbeat, almost hummable melody, or into a tech break that manages to impress without sounding wanky in any way. Solos are fairly rare, but when they occur, they're a sight to behold: no iffy notes, just beautifully melodic and played with impeccable precision. Speaking of precision, Marco is something else. First off, he's fucking FAST. I'm not talking for short bursts either, I'm talking long, sustained minigun blasts. And he's no one-trick pony, either; he's capable of playing some pretty mindbending passages with seemingly no difficulty. Rounding out the members, the bassist is, well, the bassist: totally inaudible. Finally, we've got the vocalist, who again is excellent. He's got a very commanding yet audible tone, sounding a whole lot like Jonah Hegg or Tomas Lindberg, which is definitely not a bad thing. It's even better when you consider the lyrics, which are wonderfully varied and written with great diction and flow.
Highlights? Pretty much the whole fucking album, actually. You've got the amazing chorus melody of Charge of the Dark God, the furiously catchy Hyperion, the epic The Desolation Called Niflheim, the incredibly complex and varied Ballad for a Dying Race, and the monstrous blast-fest Defiling the Sepulcher of Christ, but as I said, those merely stand out just a tad more than the others. There is no such thing as a bad track on this album. What sweetens the deal even more is that these guys put this up for free download, so all you have to do is go to Rapidshit and start downloading! Yep, that's the icing on the cake. In short, I cannot recommend this album enough. DL NAO.