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Vrag > Avarkoporsó > Reviews
Vrag - Avarkoporsó

Good sound let down by slow, stodgy drumming - 65%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, September 3rd, 2013

I knew of Vrag the Australian black metal act that revolves around a guy called Vrag Moj but I hadn't known there was also a black metal act in Hungary with the same name. It's probably no surprise that the name should be popular: it is an anagram or a cognate form of the name Varg (as in Varg Vikernes). Observing that the Hungarian Vrag entry was kinda lonesome on the MA website with no reviews to its name and having found the "Avarkoporso" demo uploaded in full on Youtube, I undertook to hear the recording, hoping that the European would do his project name proud. (I hope the antipodean Vrag doesn't mind me going over to check out the competition temporarily.)

He is indeed in possession of a very strong, tough and gritty sound: the guitar tone is bass-heavy and steely, the drumming can be powerful if not very original and the vocals are incredibly harsh to the point of painfully eroding the soft tissues of the larynx and throat. On the middle track "Banatut", Vrag's style is very deep and powerful, epic and almost bombastic. Guitars have such a sharp sound, you can hear the air being cut. The pace of the music is usually slow, giving a doomy air to proceedings.

The demo is divided into two parts of more or less equal length, both titled "Avarkoporso" and divided by the 7-minute "Banatut" breather. The demo cover might have been inspired by the look of Burzum's 2010 album "Belus", with a strange light smack bang in the middle of a forest, silhouetting the pine trees. Part 1 of "Avarkoporso" begins well with a distinctive riff repeated over and over with variations in tone and this riff forms the backbone of the two parts. While percussion clunks away slowly, the tremolo rhythm guitars generate strongly abrasive textures to support the raspy singing. Now and again, the rhythms pause to allow the part's central motif to stalk through the suddenly silent background like a lone voyager staking out his own life's journey because he must. Part 2 is similar with its riff (similar to the one on Part 1 but in a different key) repeating over and over, with percussion banging steadily and the vocals grinding out lyrics as much hard to hear as they are indecipherable (for being Hungarian).

The recording overall can be stodgy to sit through as all three tracks are slow and have ponderous percussion played at a basic, bombastic level. The guitar-work is good and Vrag has a great sound but as the drumming and singing are not great, the strings have a lot of work to do to compensate for these weaknesses. All three tracks could do with a boost of energetic drumming to give them push and a forceful direction; as they are, they give an impression of lacking a goal to work towards, of not having zest and energy. The demo is solid with very few surprises, that's as much as I can say for it.