Varg – “Götterdämmerung” EP (Napalm Records)
Reviled by some, worshiped by others, Varg have seen it all through the years. Likewise, their music as evolved from the pagan metal they began with to their self titled ‘wolf metal’ – not an understatement given the raw, primal nature of their music – not to mention their bestial delivery! Not ones to shy from political controversy, this 4 song EP is perhaps titled to reflect the perceived state of their native Germany – even though I don’t believe we’re quite at the gates of the apocalypse yet – although the songs don’t hold you back in thinking so ha ha!! Opening with the bombastic title track, its double bass drumming and whirring warrior riffs charge onward led by ‘Freki’ Seiler’s throat raw vocals sung in German. Naturally it’s not mindless barbarism, with some good hooks, subtle catchy melodies, nordic choir harmonies and even a quiet passage chucked in for good measure. The next track, ‘Hel’ definitely lives up to its dark name with fury unleashed all over the whirlwind riffage and power drumming, yet once again with some prominent guitar melodies to match the driving energy here. ‘Beißreflex‘ opens with some technical guitar pyro before a strong groove soon has the song shaking to Seiler’s deep drawls and a general German singalong feel. The final track ‘Knochenpfad‘ is much slower, but no less dramatic with plenty of bombast drawing from the smashing drums and guitar power contrasting beautifully with the dark, creepy passages and Seiler brilliantly alternating his vocals to suit the mood. With the guitars once again resonating their pagan origins the chopping tempo at times seems even industrial, but that’s all in style for this blood splattered German band, who once again beckon the brash to do battle with the backbiters!