VARANG NORD "Fire Of The North" 2015
/Metal Scrap Records/

Tracklist:
1. Wild Hunt 03:31
2. As Men Poured Ale 03:40
3. Sacrifice for the Old Gods 03:48
4. Blood for Blood 03:41
5. Fires of the North 03:29
6. Through a White Wasteland 03:17
Total playing time: 21:39

 

varang nord

 

 

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http://www.kaosguards.com/

 

 

Initially when I heard the name of the band as well as when I hear the name of a band for the first time I like to guess what genre or what style of metal they play. Well, I had totally underestimated that as well as the overall aggressive nature this album holds. Out of Latvia, metallers Varang Nord have brought their mini-debut album to the masses as a way to stamp their presence upon the scene. The group claims to allign themself with Folk metal but ater hearing their debut album, Fire of the North, there is much more than meets the ear to this intricate album. Various elements that make a reoccuring appearance include heavy but groovy riffs, lots of crash and thrash from the drums, abusive death metal style vocals all wrapped in a Pagan atmosphere. Even at various points I found influences of other bands such as Amon Amarth, Korpiklaani, Finntroll and bands of the Nordic Folk movement. Having a few years under their belt, the group’s debut album is worth checking out for there might be a little something that you connect with. I know I was hooked immediately within moments of hitting that play button. Bringing pillaging, ale, blood and war the overall evil that this Pagan metal album brings is certainly a major highlight.
The Wild Hunt opens the album with a very groovy folk metal atmosphere. It’s not long thereafter before we are greeted by the harsh vocals that sound almost exactly like that of Cannibal Corpse frontman, “Corpsegrinder” George Fisher. Check it out. The opening track is pretty direct and retains the same atmosphere and sound throughout until the breakdown reveals itself later on. Sacrifice for the Old Gods really hit me on a pleasurable level. Heavily Amon Amarth inspired and influenced, this is a slower and more atmospheric track. The combination of the backing accordion and the riffs create a memorable sound but more importantly, there are lots of moments to headbang to. Oveall, the combo of the rhythmatic riffs and drums are the pinnacle of the track.
If it’s pillaging and instigation you seek, Blood for Blood, will satisy that bloodlust and more. The vocals get more devious on this hunt for blood and a brotherhood atmosphere is felt in the latter half when a heed/calling is heard, very Folk metal in the true essence. The album closes out with the tracks Fires of the North that brings in the heavy accordion sound once more. Pivotal double bass throughout, the energy is direct and does not slow down, it’s a direct charge to the end of the album. Through a White Wasteland, took me as a bit of a shocker. Having ramped up aggression and energy throughout the entire album, I was expecting the same at the end. But nope, a slow instrumental showcasing that they can play other tunes not just heavy and abrasive tracks. Not a bad way to end the album.
What could be deemed as heavy drinking songs or songs to really go forth and set out on a pillage, Varang Nord, have released a solid album that any fans of the aforementioned elements will be pleased to hear. I found most of the tracks sounded a little similar to one another in one way or another so perhaps the group chose to play it safe and keep with the same theme rather than having a cliche ballad of some sort for example. Perhaps on their next chapter we will witness more metal extravagence and more variety but for now this solid album will surely appease the Folk metal masses and if you’re looking for some standard Folk metal with no surprises and no showing off, then grab your drinking horn high and toast to Fire of the North! Stay Metal \m/

8.5/10
Fernando (We Love Metal)

Tironas 6Varang Nord have actually been around for quite a while. Previously known under the name Балагуры the band changed their name into Varang Nord in 2014. The EP "Fire of the North" is first step of the band after the name changing. It's also can be considered as the band's realization to shift their style from Folk black metal towards more Pagan metal approach. However, this change doesn't affect music much, because Varang Nord still stay closer to their roots and purposes, to those that were also for Балагуры. The Ep “Fire Of The North” is a release with lots of variety and a few pretty heavy songs. The riffs and vocals can hit pretty hard, and you can tell that they really tried to make as intense release as they could, while maintaining some folk inspiration from their previous band Балагуры. The result is a strong EP with lots of variety. Most of the release is a synthesis between the folk and black metal sections. All the sections are extremely well done, featuring some unique sounds including lots of accordion just like on the song "Жертва старым богам" or "Кровь за кровь" etc. A good example of their approach is "Сквозь белую пустошь", which begins with an extended guitar riff and leading accordion section. It's totally instrumental song but at the same time it sounds very gloriously. Overall, Varang Nord's EP "Fire of the North" is a good release where folk and black metal elements are mixed in successful way, so I hope Varang Nord will continue to do so in the future and impatiently waiting for their debut full-length.

Tironas #6

 

obalkaSeverskí bohovia sa vydávajú vďaka tejto lotyšskej skupine na smrtiaci pochod. Ide tu o debutné EP, ktoré je už v týchto časoch doplnené o prvý dlhohrajúci album “Master Of The Forest”.Už samotný obal, či runové písmo napovedajú o všetkom. Nahrávka ponúka kombináciu melodického death metalu, ktorú by som mohol zaradiť ako mix folk a vikingského metalu. Takže nič nové pre fanúšikov skupín ako AMON AMARTH, UNLEASHED, č i OBSCURITY. Ce l k o v ý z v u k nahrávky by som si vedel predstaviť hutnejší, adekvátne k bojovému naladeniu tvorby. Skupina má všetko ešte len pred sebou.

Demon (CREMATION #8)

 

Here is another representative of the Latvian Metal scene, which has feast at the table of Ukrainian label Metal Scrap Records, where is gathering around the table mainly bands from Eastern Europe, but not only.
The idea VARANG NORD is clearly inspired by the medieval era of Europe, and especially its northern regions, as evidenced by the cover-art adorned with runic letters. And musically it is Death Metal, which draws an inspiration from the old school Scandinavian Death Metal in style of UNLEASHED or ENTOMBED. However, Death Metal of VARANG NORD has a folk melodies, which are caused by the accordion, which I admit that I meet with this for the first time on my way that I take for 40 years. Of course, I mean Death Metal with the sounds of the accordion.
Although the melodic line of the accordion could be more varied, because the melodies of the accordion are a bit monotonous. Despite all, the sounds of the accordion connected with the crushing guitars and the powerful growls create a dark and melancholic atmosphere, sometimes it is creating an association with medieval songs about heroic warriors.
For additional noteworthy is song with banal title “Blood for Blood”, but with unusual music. You could say it’s a Metal Hymn, which makes surprise with the refrain in the style of folk and solemn choral songs, very melancholic,with the heavy guitars in the background. Overall, the pathos with folk in style of East-Slavic was appear in the song.
Another advantage of these folk-death-metal arrangements turned out to be lyrics in the mother tongue or Russian language, which for many centuries was used by the Latvians. If the whole album was be similar to “Blood For Blood” then would be more interesting and more folk.

7.5/10
Gnom (metalcentre.com)

This sounds like Amon Amarth with an accordion - galloping, folky heavy/melodeath. The folk leads and clean vocal chants are the two leading parts of the music that could make it interesting, but they mostly feel separate and overlaid, without much involvement and interplay in the arrangements. The relatively unique instrumentation gives it some flair despite the backbone of the music being derivative and unoriginal. The backbone, however, isn't the spirit of it. Well-produced. Undeveloped but interesting.

Steve (Contaminated Tones)

Man, have you ever just wanted some truly aggressive Nordic folk metal? I mean the kind that doesn’t really have tribal atmosphere or melodic death metal focus but just axe swinging riff oriented heaviness? Well look no further as the gang from Latvia called Varang Nord gives us the ultra headbanging album called “Fire of the North”. A ripping metal montage of Vikings on the hunt, ale being consumed, Gods being hailed and blood spilled on the snow. Varang Nord brings the heavy with a slight touch of folk metal, just enough to appeal to those looking for new folk metal but not enough to drive those away who just want pissed off Viking metal.
Varang Nord provide us with some of the richest sounding metal of the year (seriously that bass tone and level couldn’t be more perfect with the drums and guitars) while giving us that folkish feeling with the use of accordian. If you heard of last years Grimner album, Fire of the North is pretty close to how those guys sound except Varang Nord focuses more on song structure and riff writing. The bass and guitar riffs are just grand and each song has me headbanging. A very “kick you in the ass” style of metal, this can be fun to listen to while gaming too. So pour some drinks, ready the dice and crank up “Fire of the North”! You’re in for a great night!
I also want to point out that this band has no drummer. I couldn’t find who tracked these or if they are programmed. That is a good thing though because these drums sound great, even if they are programmed. It doesn’t take away from the experience at all, the percussion leads the way to war with Sokolov and Popov’s sword swinging riffs right behind it. Backing up the bass work with rock solid wall of sound is Kuritsyn, whose bass finesse is unavoidable. Tucked neatly in the background but still heard strong is Kalnish on the accordion, whose skills on said instrument adds the layer of genuine folkishness to Fire of the North. Without her, the band is just incredibly aggresive viking death metal. Not that I am complaining about that at all.
Varang Nord gave me something I can enjoy, get fully into and it’s something I want to add to my collection. Please make a physical release soon! Fire of the North is quality metal! This is like firing up a big block Chevy and hauling ass down the highway, the adrenaline Varang Nord gets pumping is massive. A roaring good album that is packed with riffs and full on grooving drum beats.

8.8/10
Thomas Mergel (Headbang or GTFO)

I'm a bit tired of Finntroll, and I've never been a big fan of Amon Amarth, but somewhere in the middle resides Varang Nord, and they've found a spot with perfect balance. Fire Of The North is pretty damn good, and and it makes me want to drink a few kegs of mjød (mead).

Roger, aka Gorger (Gorgers Metal)

Varang Nord are a band from Latvia that plays a mixture of folk, viking and melodic black/death metal and this is a review of their self released 2014 ep "Fire Of The North".
A very hard and heavy viking metal sound starts off the ep along with some synths being mixed in at times which adds more of a folk atmosphere to the music and when vocals are added into the music they are deep death metal growls and after awhile more elements of folk are added into the music.
As the ep progresses the songs start bringing in a great mixture of slow, mid paced and fast parts along with a small amount of blast beats and clean singing viking/folk metal vocals can be heard in certain sections of the recording and some of the riffs also bring in a touch of Swedish style melodic black/death metal and they close the ep with an instrumental track.
Varang Nord plays a musical style that is very heavily rooted in melodic death metal but also brings in a heavy does of viking and folk metal along with a touch of black metal to create a sound of their own, the production sounds very professional for being a self released recording while the lyrics cover Paganism themes.
In my opinion Varang Nord are a very great sounding viking/folk metal band with a touch of melodic black/death metal and if you are a fan of those musical genres, you should check out this band. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "As Men Poured Ale" and "Fires Of the North".

8/10
OccultBlackMetal (A Different Shade Of Black Metal Zine)

With a mighty hail to the Old Gods, the members of VARANG NORD wield their instruments in tribute and praise. Their debut album as a brand new band, "Fire of the North" was released on December 9, 2014 a special day; the anniversary of my birthday and this would have made a suitable gift for anyone who knows me. I am a lover of Viking (aka Melodic Death) and Folk Metal, and this album is six tracks of exactly those two things. Take the sound of riding a horse and put into guitar riffs and this is the style you get. Fans of AMON AMARTH, UNLEASHED, KORPIKLAANI, OBSCURITY, and accordions will likely get a kick out of this!
Due to the close proximity (globally speaking) of their native Latvia with the traditional breeding grounds of Folk Metal bands in Scandinavia and central Europe, it should come as no surprise to those who are familiar with the scene and geographical and cultural influences many of these bands have. But I digress…
From a critical point of view, the accordion riffs are simple yet festive and provide an element above the persistent guitar riffs. The long notes that are played almost let me feel the "breath" that the accordion is taking or exhaling. The overlay of the instrument seems a little gaudy at times, but does not detract from the heaviness and serious tones blasted through the speakers from the guitars and drums. I have to give credit though, and "As Men Poured Ale" is a lovely tune similar to much of KORPIKLAANI's body of work, though VARANG NORD do not employ a fiddle.
The guitars are wonderfully distorted and are played as though their intent was to punish. Though simple, the riffs are thorough and firm. I get a hint of HEIDEVOLK at times, which is great and tells me that this music is in the proper arena of Folk and even Pagan Metal. I can back that statement up even more by saying that the clean vocals when there are harmonies ring very reminiscent of the aforementioned band, such as their song "Winter Woede" in comparison with "Blood for Blood." In general, the vocals are nothing remarkable unfortunately, but are still very likable considering the context of the music. It is just so heavy!
And as a bonus, I did manage to get a word from Khurr, the bassist who added, "In terms of music, it's mainly AMON AMARTH, FINTROLL and TURISAS. The main guitar riffs are chiefly composed by Wolf, and he is a big fan of these three bands. As the songs start from composing the guitar most of the time, Alyona (accordionist) and I just add to these main riffs. As for the lyrics, usually I write them, and I'm all about SKYFORGER, and I'm aiming at 'paganish' and epic feel in them." How much more detailed and direct can you get except straight from the band? So thanks to him for that!
Finally, while probably the first five of the album can be classified as drinking songs, "Through a White Wasteland" is more of a dirge and quite a bit slower tempo than the others. It is a fitting end to their album and leaves me hopeful for much more to come in the future! So if it is in your blood and the fates have willed it to be your destiny, then I say lift your drinking horn high and fest as the gods intend to the tune of "Fire of the North"!

7/10
Matt "Wolverine" Johnson (Metal Temple)

Actually Varang Nord happens to be the resurrection of a band called Balagury, active from 2004 till 2008. That’s how Varang Nord came into being in 2014 and in the same year they released the demo ‘Fire Of The North’. It was picked up by Metal Scrap Records and now presented as their first MCD/EP.
The six songs have melodic, mainly mid-paced, death metal as leading style, but the Viking heritage is so very obvious that we prefer to pigeonhole this as pagan metal. The five-piece hails from Latvia and they kick off in heavy galloping style during ‘Wild Hunt’. The low-pitched, raucous growls of guitarist Maxim ‘Wolf’ Popov have the nearest approach to those of Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth and actually their music can be compared with that band as well. But Varang Nord has a (female) accordionist in their ranks and that makes a difference. Vocal lines of most of the songs are promptly followed by the accordion of Alyona. That gives a personal touch for a while, but on the other hand it is a trick that soon gets boring. Fortunately there are also two tracks in which accordion is not so prominently present and the instrumental ‘Through A White Wasteland’ has an epic tinge. In the monotonous sung and not so flawless ‘All Men Poured Ale’ one can hear clean, sturdy Cossack chants and that is also the case in ‘Blood For Blood’. The production is sure-fire, so that the crystal-clear guitar sound feels kind of Scandinavian. In brief, this is a Latvian copy of Amon Amarth with accordion and a Slavonic flavour. We are not going to lose any sleep over it, but it is surely not bad either.

67/100
Vera (Lords Of Metal)

A teraz album z muzyką, jaką nieczęsto jest mi dane się stykać, bo wielkim fanem nie jestem. Oto Varang Nord, łotewski folk / pagan metalowy band! Ha, a jak folk, pagan i viking, to wiadomo, że będzie skocznie, bardzo melodyjnie, z przytupem i pewnie też nieco wieśniacko haha! No taaaa... wiele kapel z tego kręgu to wiocha totalna, Varang Nord w pewnym stopniu pewnie też, ale mimo to, całkiem przyjemnie mi się słucha tej ich EPki. Nie mają może takiej mocy, jak Tharaphita, czy Metsatoll, ale i tak ich muzyka szybko wpadła mi do ucha i większej krzywdy w nim nie zrobiła. Nie jest to specjalnie innowacyjne granie, wszystko to jest łatwo przewidywalne, ale Varang Nord zdołał nagrać kilka fajnych utworów. Trochę tu Amon Amarth w partiach gitar, do tego mamy akordeon, który robi za linie melodyjne? Do tego growlowy wokal, czasem towarzyszy mu czysty śpiew, zatem muzyka jest różnorodna, łatwa, prosta i szybko zapadająca w pamięć. Sześć utworów, około 20 minut muzyki, noga sama przytupuje haha! Ale całe szczęście, że to tylko tyle. W małych dawkach jestem w stanie przeżyć podobne granie i nawet kilka razy ten CD odsłuchałem. Tak, fajna muza, pewnie w trójce najlepszych wydawnictw Metal Scrap się zmieści, co może wielkiej chluby nie przynosi, ale zawsze to coś. Cóż zatem? jeśli lubicie folk metal, Amon Amarth i pogańskie klimaty, sięgajcie po Varang Nord.

7/10
Astus (The Nocturnal Battle of Chariots)

Cover 8Following paths already paved well by the likes of Amon Amarth, Turisas, Finntroll, or countrymen Skyforger, Varang Nord was founded last year, or better said re-founded after a 2004-2008 period when it was active under a different moniker and even released a full-length album, and they've already scored a deal with Ukrainian Metal Scrap Records which re-released their debut EP, previously self-released by the band. 6 tracks, a bit over 20 minutes of playing time, offering a solid slice of Viking Metal with highlights on the accordion parts. A heavy, well rhythmed Metal with heavy influences from Melodic Death Metal, with native tongue lyrics, I guess this one will do well in their home lands but all in all I think it needs something more to break the ice internationally; it's good they've tested the seas with an EP rather than throwing out a full-length, but now it's time to prove what they are worthy of. Fire of the North will probably catch the attention of abovementioned bands, but it's only the beginning, the music needs more hooks and the accordion parts need more personality in order to impress, on this EP it's a nice surprise, but it's influence on the general music is still not as important as it should be. I like the fact the lyrics are translated in English, too, the listener will get a closer insight of their music.

7/10
Adrian (Pest Webzine/Slowly We Roth Magazine)

 

necromance 04 16Con este tipo de trabajos tengo un problema. Entiendo que no es lo mas auspicioso partir de esta forma, pero trabajos como “Fire In The North” me descolocan un poco… Estoy escuchando a VARANG NORD o a una copia totalmente descarada de AMON AMARTH?? Le puse play, comencé a escuchar el EP y la primera canción me pareció sospechosa, pasé al tercer tema y lo mismo, luego cambie a la pista 4 y lo mismo. Acto seguido verifiqué si estaba escuchando realmente a la banda letona o a los vikingos con guitarras suecos, y no, no estaba escuchando algún trabajo inédito de AMON AMARTH sino una banda “nueva” lo que me irritó bastante.
Sobre todo en los tiempos que corren es muy complicado y casi imposible crear algo nuevo y a la vez no sonar ridículo con fusiones sin sentido (como por ejemplo IWRESTLEDABEARONCE?? jajaja) por tanto las influencias son necesarias para fijar directrices sobre el sonido que tendrás como banda, pero cosa muy distinta es copiar milimétricamente “casi” todo de una banda en particular, como es el caso de VARANG NORD con AMON AMARTH: sonido, riffs, ritmos, tiempos, voz, etc etc… “Casi” todo suena como los suecos y es aquí donde me pregunto: y la identidad donde queda?? Ahondar en lo que ofrece este “Fire In The North” exhaustivamente no tiene mucho sentido pues solo debes tomar cualquier disco (de preferencia los últimos) de los archimencionados AMON AMARTH y listo ya tienes una referencia mas que directa. Ahora me limitare a explicar en que consiste ese “casi” que destaque en comillas y cursiva en el párrafo anterior.
La banda en la mayoría de sus temas utiliza recursos propios del folk como acordeones o elementos de sintetizadores que buscan transportarte a otras épocas, un recurso bastante utilizado por bandas como FINNTROLL. Y en el track 2 es donde estos elementos cobran mayor protagonismo. Lamentablemente en el resto de los temas lo folk queda en un 2do plano para dar paso a un melodeath de mediotiempo muy pero muy sueco que rara vez se sale de su metro cuadrado independiente de si el acordeón esta sonando todo el tiempo.
Bueno creo que quedo mas que clara la opinión que tengo de este trabajo. Por lo general no suelo dar malas evaluaciones porque se lo que es tocar música metal en estos tiempos pero estos casos no podemos dejar que pasen desapercibidos. Que sea un llamado de atención para los letones, son una banda joven con mucho kilometraje por delante y seguro podrán revertir este traspié. El 4 que les pongo es solo por el track 2 “As Men Pored Ale” y el outro “Through a White Wasteland” que muestra un par de bonitos detalles porque el resto de verdad no resiste análisis alguno. Este trabajo solo lo recomendaría a ese fanático acérrimo, extremo e incluso medio talibán de AMON AMARTH que no puede esperar por un próximo álbum, aquí tiene un sucedáneo relativamente interesante. El resto, mejor que dirijan su oreja y billetera a otro lado.

4/10
Javier Alday Palacios  (Necromance Web Magazine #9, 2015)

scream magazine 199Denne firkloveren fra Latvia har kun holdt pa i et ars tid, men er allerede ute med sitt debutalbum. Man horer at det er mye som er uferdig her, men det er ogsa mye so tiltaler meg i stor grad. Musikken er en fin blanding mellom viking-og folk metal. Skiva har seks spor, men samlet spilletid er kun pa droye tyve minutter. Det er dog ingen darlige later her, men jeg skulle onsket meg noe mer spilletid. Vokalen er temmelig brutal i forhold til musikken, men det fungerer overraskende bra. Det benyttes ogsa clean vokal enkelte steder, og den fremforelsen liker jeg veldig godt. Alt i alt er dette ei skive som jeg har stor sans for, men de hadde nok tjent pa a vente litt for de lanserte debuten.

Frode Jenssen (Scream Magazine #199)

rockcor 4-2015В наши дни всё большую популярность набирает музыкальный жанр - викинг металл. Характерный толчок этому дали титаны Amon Amarth и Enslaved, у которых появились тысячи последователей по всему миру. Но по-настоящему качественную музыка подобной тематики удается создать далеко немногим. Но латвийскому коллективу Varang Nord это удалось. Группа существует уже довольно давно и изначально называлась Балагуры. Но в дальнейшем немного изменив состав, музыканты назвали себя иначе и в 2014 году выпустили свой дебютный мини-альбом. Он явил собой классическое сочетание фолка и викинга и высокое европейское качество записи дало мощный толчок  для развития группы на рынке музыкальной индустрии. Работа включает в себя 6 композиций, каждая из которых очень сильная и является полноценной историей народов севера. Но по истечении 20 минут альбом заканчивается и с горечью приходит осознание, каким желанный был бы полноформатник. Но новая работа не заставит себя ждать, релиз намечен на лето этого года и будем надеяться, что он так же хорош, как и его предшественник. Без сомнения, перед нами работа одного из самых многообещающих коллективов Латвии.

4/5
German_Dream (Rockcor #4/2015)

 

I know that I’ve written it before and I’ll probably write it again but I have a bloody hard time telling Viking from pagan from folk from black metal as most of this seems to come from the same source but only with slightly different twists. So if VARANG NORD calls their music Viking of pagan or folk metal is of little interest to me. I get the folk part of this and to be honest I could have been without it. This is just as good as a black metal album as it is. There is an anthemic feel to this that I like. Those parts are enough for me to dig this album.

Anders Ekdahl (Battle Helm Magazine)

rock hard magazine 30Učebnicový příklad pagan folk metalové nahrávky. Motiv přebalu je více jak charakteristický pro zmiňované stylové zaměření a přihlédnu-li k faktu, že země bývalého „Sojuzu“ jsou tomuto stylu značně nakloněny, není potřeba dál polemizovat. VARANG NORD toť kromě pro všechny příznivce AMON AMARTH, KORPIKLAANI, SKYFORGER a podobně zaměřených spolků.
Při poslechu tohoto MCD si přijdou na své, nádherně zkreslené kytary, podpořené po stylu TURISAS akordeonem, podmanivé melodie jenž v sobě nezapřou pověstnou slovanskou zpěvnost. Kdo umí, ten umí, ale nemyslete, oni „molodci“ mají již něco za sebou, protože v roce 2004 hráli pod názvem BALAGURY (nahráli dvě alba „Velká Rus“ a „ Zimní slunce“). Ale zpět k „Severnímu ohni“, na tomto miničku mě zaujala hlavně silně emotivně pojatá věc „Krev za krev“, kde dostává prostor čistý zpěv a to rovnou ve sborech tak typických pro ruský venkov (možná to trošku zavání HEIDEVOLK), ale tím nechci snižovat váhu ostatních kousků. Nezbývá než si počkat na plnohodnotné album a doufat, že bude stejně dobré ne-li lepší.

3,95/5
Martin Barták (Rock Hard Magazine #30)

legacy 98Manche Bands rutschen einfach so konsequent mit dem Hintern über den Teppich des Durchschnitts, dass einem nicht viel Kluges dazu einfällt und besonders im Viking Metal scheint dieses Phänomen gehäuft aufzutreten. Mit ihrer ersten MCD fiedeln die Herren aus Litauen sich durch sechs Tracks, die zwar solides Rumgegrunze mit Refrainchören, Akkordeon und ähnlichen Exotereien bietet, dafür aber auch nicht ein einziges Alleinstellungsmerkmal liefert. Ein wenig Geschunkel hier, etwas Saufmucke da, hoch die Schwerter, werte Wikinger, aber leider hört es dort auch schon auf. Der hoch einfallsreiche Titel ‘As Men Pored Ale’ tischt zwar einige Gemeinsamkeiten mit alten Ensiferum-Songs auf, ohne jedoch jemals etwas in ihr Biergesöff zu mixen, das eben jene finnische Kollegen nicht schon vor zehn Jahren zum akustischen Verzehr angeboten hätten. Dass der exzessive Akkordeon-Gebrauch zu Beginn von ‘Sacrifice For The Old Gods’ (ja...) zurückgeschraubt wird und der Fokus stärker auf den Growls sitzt, tut der Scheibe ganz gut, lange können die Litauer ihre Finger jedoch nicht von dem Sammelsurium an Dudel-Instrumenten lassen und so pendelt die EP sich schnell wieder auf ödem Durchschnitt ein, die Fans des Genres sicherlich nicht vor den Kopf stößt und für den ersten Gehversuch zumindest einen soliden Start präsentiert. Um sich von dem Einheitsbrei der fahnenschwenkenden Wikinger aber abzuheben, müssen VARANG NORD noch einige Alleinstellungsmerkmale plündern.

7 Punkte
Anne Swallow (LEGACY #98)

Latvian Folk Metal quartet Varang Nord released their second full-length album less than a week ago. And I must admit that, despite not having even heard about them prior to spinning this record, I quickly became impressed by the sheer amount of effort the band seemed to have poured into Fire of the North. From the artwork alone (a viking-like figure holding a sword and a torch) it quickly becomes clear that this is a full-fledged Folk Metal band. And performing in their native language, even (which works surprisingly well within their chosen genre). And as a little gesture of kindness, they even translated the lyrics to English inside the booklet. Overall, a quite dedicated, and talented band. Musically, the band has focused on simple, catchy and repeated riffs, which creates an overall easy-listenable sound, one that goes well with the deep growls delivered by the lead singer. Sadly, they somehow fail to add anything unique to the mix, which causes Fire of the North to be one of those albums that are perfect to play in the background: The music is great, but not over-the-top fantastic, which means that it does not end up distracting you from whatever it is you are doing. However, that also means that it is not something you will be very hooked on, not in my case at least. That being said, I do get the feeling that Varang Nord will truly reach their peak as a live band.

43/100
Brian (Metal Revolution)

My first listen through Varang Nord‘s Fire of the North revealed a nice and short EP that is on the death metal side of folk metal, with a ton of Viking metal thrown in for good measure. It’s almost like Ensiferum and Amon Amarth had a jam night with members of Korpiklaani and Finntroll hopping in once in awhile.
As far as instruments go, it’s not as intense as some bands in the folk or Viking styles. In fact, Varang Nord is only four people, playing guitar, bass, vocals, and accordion. I’m assuming there is either a session drummer, or possibly a well-produced drum machine was programmed. Despite not having a million members, they are able to have a wonderfully round sound.
Considering Fire of the North being only 22 minutes long, it’s a damn good snapshot of what this band can do. The EP is well produced, with a big sound and an epic feel. Clearly, the Viking sound is quite alive in the green hills of Latvia, and this EP is proof positive of that. It’s short and sweet, and if you’re a drinking horn hoisting kind of person, I recommend it mightily.

Dustin Ekman (Crown of Viserys)

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