We Love Metal

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)

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