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HARDWARES

VARG

Guten Tag

(NoiseArt/Napalm)

Reviewed by : David Perri
Rating : 8.5

Let's get one thing absolutely straight at the outset: though VARG is, legitimately, named after the Swedish and Norwegian term for 'wolf', the group's moniker is still in enormously bad taste given the connotation that the 'Varg' namesake has in metal circles. Which is unfortunate, given not only the effectiveness of the group's back catalogue, but also the absolute listenability of latest record Guten Tag, probably my most played album of the last two weeks, this thing utterly impossible to turn off or get away from. Though Varg has toned down much of the all-out pagan/folk raison d'etre that is at the centre of many of the band's previous efforts, Guten Tag is an impressively written and executed album, one that draws equally from disparate and unlikely sources such as CATAMENIA, KVELERTAK and classic Gothenburg melodic death, with the resulting mosaic infatuated with its new levels of confidence, attitude and surprising amounts of swagger for a band that makes full use of dorky red and black facepaint à la TURISAS. Highlights are difficult to isolate given the many merits of this album, but 'Guten Tag', 'Gedanke Und Erinnerung' and 'Blut und Feuer' are ferocious doses of punk-infused melodic death while sole English track 'A Thousand Eyes' is probably the most memorable hymn of 2012, the song a KORPIKLAANI-esque anthem that will work very, very well during European festival season in 2013: many beers will be hoisted to the air and spilled while revelers chant along to this one. The rest of Guten Tag follows suit, and even sole mistake 'Wieder Mal Verloren' is unable to extinguish this out of control party, one that should not be missed, not even by Varg purists who will no doubt be crying "sellout" very loudly from their parents' basements.



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