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After all the vicarious embarrassment about their behaviour and the horrid Blutaar-release that made me suffer, I expected (and eventually hoped) I could shoot the new album "Wolfskult" down in flames. But now after listening to it I have to admit that I can't. All the negative emotions about Varg aside, objectively the album is better than expected. There are a lot of parts that make me want to facepalm over the utterly bold phrasing and the uncreative excesses, but there are as well moments when I can forget the story behind the band and just enjoy the music.
Immediately after the vapid intro, the album starts with the opening track "Wir sind die Wölfe". It must be the most bland track of the album. Similiar to what they did on "Alter Feind", the lyrics seem like some sort of self-justification and processing of what the band members experienced with Varg. Rather unfitting for a band that claims to play "pagan metal" in my humble opinion.
And there are many other parts of the album that make me feel that way. Lots of riffing sounds assertive and made to measure 13 year old wannabe-vikings; pseudo ad nauseam. Most of the lyrics can just straight ahead be flushed down the toilet. On top of that I always considered Freki a quite bad vocalist and on this release I noticed the inconsistency of his voice. While it's unbearable at points, in some songs it actually seems like he's trying to get the best out of his throat.
50 Fans were invited to the studio to sing the "Wir sind die Wölfe!" ("We are the wolves!) chorus line. That doesn't really help the song at all. Especially when then imagining little kids pretending to stick together and be strong warriors. Besides, Freki said in an interview that their main motivation was to have the audience sing this part live. I think enforcing such things really makes them lose in value.
But now to get to the actual highlight of the album: "Sehnsucht" ("Yearning"). A word that means a lot to me. The lyrics are bold again (I guess these guys aren't too intelligent), but at least they're a good description for the feeling of yearning. The riffing suits the topic and I guess you can say this really is their "epos". It is obvious that Varg put a lot of lifeblood in creating this song.
Either way, afterall it's surprisingly still a quite solid release. Whatever you think of Varg, you can't deny some kind of capability, whereas they'll probably never be on par with "Schildfront" or" Wolfszeit" again. However their current fanbase is a different anyway...