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Varg - "Guten Tag" (CD)

Varg - "Guten Tag" CD cover image

"Guten Tag" track listing:

1. Willkommen
2. Guten Tag
3. Frei wie der Wind
4. Was nicht darf
5. Blut und Feuer
6. Angriff
7. Horizont
8. A Thousand Eyes
9. Wieder mal verloren
10. Gedanke und Erinnerung
11. Leben
12. Anti
13. Apokalypse

Reviewed by on October 6, 2012

"...essentially a heavy metal album with a few bagpipe-type sounds thrown in. While the group doesn’t play the same worn out medieval scales of many bands in this field, the pagan vibe just isn’t there."

Since the early '90s, pagan metal bands have evolved from black metal artists merely incorporating medieval instruments and scales to metal symphonies that merge modern electrics with arcane wood instruments. Even through most of the bands in this field still use harsh vocals, many of the newer bands have chosen different metallic styles over black metal. Often, these groups refer to power metal for its melodies and glorious chorus lines. Varg’s “Guten Tag” adheres to this power metal formula.

Even if pagan groups cling to the darker side of their ancestor’s mythology, there has to be moments of celebration that exude a mead-swinging swagger. The problem with “Guten Tag” is it doesn’t really express either of those sentiments. The album is essentially a heavy metal album with a few bagpipe-type sounds thrown in. While the group doesn’t play the same worn out medieval scales of many bands in this field, the pagan vibe just isn’t there.

Tracks such as “Gedanke und Erinnerung” and “Angriff” show the band creating guitar harmonies of the Finnish pagan sort. “A Thousand Eyes” contains a rhythm with a medieval vibe, clean, ritual vocal hymns and acoustic guitar. This track is also the only song sung in English. Tempo changes keep this track and others moving smoothly. The album works in this way, but it seems to lack much of this song’s magic. As stated above, the album doesn’t present a strong pagan vibe, so them using German lyrics seems almost pointless. More clean vocals and English lyrics would make this album more memorable, especially considering their power metal style.

Varg has made its mark in America, regardless of German-based lyrics and lack of old world instrumentation. The group has interesting lupine-based imagery. The members don red-and-black war paint, similar to Turisas. Maybe they put on a great show, but “Guten Tag” doesn’t possess the sword-wielding power of many bands in this field.

Highs: Varg expertly balances tempos and creates catchy guitar harmonies.

Lows: The album lacks enough old-world instruments and scales to capture the magic of their peers.

Bottom line: Fans of power metal-based pagan bands should give this album a chance.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)