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Just as the first track, "Windzeit," finished, I was going to jump in prematurely, and think "Wintersun?" But upon just concluding the second track, "Wolfszeit," I was going to jump in too early and say out loud "Ensiferum?" However, suddenly, a good thing happened: The style deviated, and in a damn good way.
This powerful, fairly new, German "Pagan" metal band (category debatable) has stunned me with their deliciously precise and technically articulate performance. To add to the tasty combination of technical drumming, shredded riffs, beautiful melodic leads and diverse, harsh vocals, the lyrical theme is committed solely to Norse mythology, and refers somewhat to Asatru/Odinism. Interspersed with blasting metal frenzies, are tastefully-composed mini-sections of folken intermissions, played on nilon accoustic guitars, with atmospheric sounds to compliment the music, such as water, wind, synths, etc., which has the key effect.
Although each song deviates somewhat from each previous track in style and vocal performance, there is still that apparent element of Viking horde endeavors, enstated by the powerful vocals and very prominent Viking style. In the track "Schlachtgebet," an extremely eccentric and moving sound track, containing the sound of a very desparate man, repeatedly bellowing "ODIN!!!", followed by German chanting (of which I couldn't understand, unfortunately) is one of many areas in the effort where the primary elements of strength and honour, in devotion to the Norse Lords are.
Production-wise, this masterpiece is next to perfect. Although the bass has been somewhat under-mixed, it is well-compensated by the professionally-done drum, guitar, synth and vocal mixing.
Sitting and listening to this album over and over again, has brought me to a deep trance, reflecting on my roots and our ancestor's history as a continental force. This is certainly on the line of national pride and vigilance. With this album, in alliance with similar metal ensembles, pounding in the background, it sets imagery of clashing forces, on one side is a ruthless desire to destroy, rape and pillage, and on the other side, is the desparation to remain vigilant and defensive at all costs. In this respect, this album sets the bar for many in a powerful merging of Pagan and Viking ideals and aspiration and extreme melodic metal.
Now...what to say about Varg? So this is the debut album of another german Pagan Metal band. We all know that Pagan Metal and Viking Metal are booming right know, and the Metal scene is experiencing a sheer flood of new bands with themes about Odin, Met and the glory to die on the battlefield, just to sit in Valhalla and party all night with some dead guys. Sadly most of these bands don't even nearly stand up to what you can expect from such a vast and wonderful world of heroes and tales. Neither in a lyrical nor in a musical way. But then there was Varg!
From the intro till the last note of the album I was thrilled to wittness such a great masterpiece of music. All starts out with the majestic intro wich leads you right into a musical journey of heavyness melodic guitars and grim vocals paired up with lyrics that will pierce your heart if you have devoted yourself to the old gods up high. The lyrics are in german and despite the Black Metal like vocals you understand every word crystal clear. The guitar work ranges from simple Power Metal riffs to Iron Maiden like solo parts and very melodic Black Metal. This might sound like a big mix up of styles but it works out very good and never sounds like one of the big names Finntroll, Amon Amarth etc. .
And for that I will raise a big extra horn full of sweet Met to Varg. They sound so fresh and spirited that it's big pleasure to let this album rotate over and over again in my cd player. The only thing wich could be better is the production. That doesn't mean that the sound is bad, it's just that there could be a little more bass and the whole record could be louder. But that is something I can live with.
So if you like to live up to the spirit of old and and are devoted to good Metal music, go and purchase Varg - "Wolfszeit" get yourself a nice cold beer and be carried away to a time where the fires of heroism still burn.