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Review: Varg - Blutaar

Label: Noise Art Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 48:24
Tracks: 11
Genre: Pagan Metal


Review online: April 13, 2010
Reviewed by: Adam Kohrman
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Rated 2.33/5 (46.67%) (3 Votes)

When kids get together and form a garage band, it's always cute to see them imitate their heroes. Sadly, that normally means Green Day and Sublime. Occasionally though, a group of young and naïve metalheads get together thinking that they can take on the world. In a bizarre twist of fate, some of those bands get signed, and Varg is one of them. I have no idea how old the members of this band are, but the sheer level of imitation leads me to believe that they are quite young. That's not always a bad quality, though, as Varg imitate quite well.

These German youngsters are making a certain amount of buzz in the metal world, despite making one of the poorest name choices I've ever heard, due to the inevitable confusion with Varg Vikernes of Burzum/murder fame. These kids are a new band who seem dead set on imitating their pagan metal heroes. Mid-period Bathory cloning is the order of the day, here. There is nothing differentiating themselves from the thousands of bands intertwining the classic black metal sound with traditional folk elements. The folk elements are sparsely utilized on Blutaar, making this a predominantly black metal record, especially when it comes to the vocals.

The pagan metal scene (which is apparently how Varg want to be classified) is rife with countless bands right now, which makes it so difficult for a band like Varg to get noticed. They've gotten lucky; they're signed. Now they've got to take it to the next level and diversify their sound. Very few people want to hear a guy in his twenties aping Quorthon's signature rasp. For that reason, Blutaar is destined for minimal success, despite the occasional strong hook. But that's only what's going on currently. I hear passion and sincerity in Varg; there's room for creative growth. Songs like the title track display unique and gritty songwriting, where their vocal rhythms depict unrefined skill. There's so much bubbling under the surface here, waiting to rise and be heard. Maybe they're being stifled by their genre. Escape these shackles, Varg!

Yes, this is a recital of Bathory-esque black metal. That doesn't disqualify the band from all credit, though. There's so much here waiting to be unleashed. If Varg can mature their songwriting and develop into deeper composers (and I think they can), they'll be captivating listeners with their next release.

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