Varg - Blutaar
Noise Art Records
Folk/Viking/Pagan Metal
11 songs (48:24)
Release year: 2010
Noise Art Records
Reviewed by Vrechek

It is with a heavy heart that I must invoke one of my truths of the music listening experience: that some of the most disappointing albums are those that aren't technically bad, but simply have no reason to be heard. Varg seems like a promising band, full of a Turisas-like zeal for their viking theme and wolfish image (they aren't named after the musician, I was surprised to find). Their music is actually a rather unique mix of heavy rhythm guitars with folky and melodic Black/Thrash/Power riffs and commanding grunts, rasps, and screams for vocals. They have soaring melodies and solos, heavy and headbang-able rhythms, and a well-integrated acoustic folk aspect that slides in and out of the music quite tastefully. On paper, Blutaar sounds at the very least like a solid if not too impressive Viking Metal album that manages to eschew some of the musical cliches of their sub-genre (their promo photos, however, are a different matter).

So what went wrong? The truth is, I'm not really sure. Despite being less than 50 minutes long, it is a chore to listen all the way through this album. Nothing I hear makes me want to listen to it. Despite being quite melodic and with a functional production that pleases the ear, I can't find any hooks or catchy riffs. Most of the album goes in one ear and out the other, the only parts that I remember are a few rare cool sections and the opening riff of the album which I memorized out of repetition as I tried to listen to this album over and over. I quickly came to the conclusion that I simply didn't want to listen to it. This album is brimming with excellent ideas and elements, it has everything I could want in a Folk/Viking Metal album, and yet the execution is just pathetic. Not in terms of musicianship, as everything is played perfectly adequately, but the composition is all wrong. The riffs are poorly placed against one another and repeated too often, the drums rarely do anything interesting when they could have been very useful in aiding the listener to follow the song, the tracks are all too samey and . . . boring.

That's pretty much it, this album is boring. You often hear or hear of an album that is greater than the sum of its parts: where each song individually may not be that impressive or some of the elements of the sound should not work, and yet taken as a whole it is far better than at first glance. In a way, Blutaar is the exact opposite of that. Taken as a whole it is not a very good album, and yet if you heard a song or two you would likely be decently impressed with some of the riffs or solos. The only song I even bothered to remember the name of was Seele (though that might have been because I'm an Evangelion nut), and it is probably the most noteworthy due to its intro setting it apart from the others as well as having more emotional impact and memorable, sorrowful riffs. It starts to lose cohesion later on, but still remains as a glimmer of what this band could have been.

I'd love to love Varg, but I must admit I will probably never listen to an album of theirs again once this review is finished. It deeply saddens me that something with so much potential has to be scored so low, but this really is the most disappointing listen I've had all year.

Killing Songs :
Vrechek quoted 56 / 100
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There are 5 replies to this review. Last one on Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:39 pm
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