Varg – Ewige Wacht
Release Date: 13/10/2022
Running Time: 45:00
Review by Rory Bentley
Before we get down to business, we’re not talking about that Varg, so fear not so apologies to any disappointed Neo-Nazis who wanted a write up on really crap Black Metal. And when I say apologies, I mean chug some bleach you fucking losers (I fully endorse these thoughts and feelings and thoughts and wish to pour petrol on them and set them on fire as well – Dark Juan). No, I am referring to the pretty damn awesome German Pagan Metal band who have just dropped this sexy little slice of Folky goodness they call “Ewige Wacht”!
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews I kind of love Folk Metal in a way that doesn’t really make any sense in the context of the normal stuff that I rave about/moan about on here. When we come to the dreaded end of year lists you’re going to see a boatload of Hardcore and Death Metal on mine and definitely no Power Metal, however Folk has something kind of authentic and charming about it that resonates with me when done well and with a little restraint on the cheese-factor, and Varg are in many ways a good introduction to fans of harder sounds looking to ease into this genre.
The key aspect of Varg’s approach that I find appealing is they are not overly reliant on Folk instruments to accomplish their goals. They use Metal instruments and tones melded with Folk melodies and structures, meaning things like accordions and twee-sounding flutes don’t override the guitars. Opener ‘Immer Treu’ has all the wistfulness and triumphant grandeur of a rousing Folk song but it achieves its goal with strong lead guitar melodies and a really catchy singalong chorus. I mean I tried to sing along but I don’t speak German. ‘Schildmaid’ also plays to this strength with thick, beefy riffs and pounding reverberated drums giving a muscular feel to music that often feels like the guitars are an afterthought. In fact, ‘Weltenfeind’ is primarily based around a kick-ass Thrash riff that would sit nicely on the new Sylosis record, which nobody will be saying about Korpiklaani anytime soon.
The variety of riffing styles is also to be commended here,refusing to stick a few power chords underneath some jaunty noodling, the guitar parts can stand on their own two feet regardless of any pastoral bells and whistles. ‘Hammer’ has a bouncy almost Nu-Metal groove that keeps the record’s momentum swinging and ‘Eisenseit’ follows its lilting melodic intro with verses that sound like a Deathcore beatdown. You won’t know whether to jig or throw a spin-kick. When things veer towards the ‘swords and shields’ end of the spectrum, such as they swaying ‘Seigreiches Heer’,the record keeps its ferocity, resulting in something that would satisfy the average Amon Amarth fan.
With no real noticeable drop in momentum, great harsh and clean vocals throughout and some aggressive performances Varg have made a Folk Metal album for people that don’t like Folk Metal. This is a really strong record and I’ll definitely be coming back to this one.
01. Immer Treu
10. Siegreiches Heer
11. Ewige Wacht
Freki – Vocals
Fylgja – Vocals
Morkai – Guitars
Ulvar – Guitars, Bass
Rohgarr – Drums
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