Varus – A New Dawn
After a lineup change replaced half of the band, the German symphonic folk metal group Varus return to the scene with their second full-length album, A New Dawn.
Bringing a medley of different instruments and styles to the table, A New Dawn is surrounded by familiarity yet still brings refreshing themes into each song. Throughout the album, each song brings its own set of elements to the table which work as standalone songs – almost showcasing the variety folk metal offers to those unfamiliar to the genre.
Songs like The Minstrels Chant brings about the common chanting/harmonic choruses one would come to expect from the genre. Yet a well-placed flute and guitar solo duel mixed into the middle adds some unexpected flair. The duel is then followed by heavy chugging of both bass and drums to keep the listener headbanging along.
Among the enchanting keyboards and symphonic sounds from Ein Lebewohl, the end of the song brings about a Baroque-style piano performance which both purposefully and eloquently add a subtle touch of a classical performance among the roaring music.
Die Letzte Schenke promotes itself with the stereotypical triumphant beer-drinking motif one would come to expect. Halfway through the death metal growls however, and brutality of the song pulls the listener down a darker path, only to be presented with a organ and guitar solo which surprisingly comes across as natural in the realm of the death metal.
That intensity of the genre continues to shine with the last two tracks: initially easing the listener in with operatic vocals, then pummeling the listener down with the ferocity of both riffage and thumping double kicks. As such, it feels that the album ends with a much more aggressive tone than how it started – and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.
Despite the wide ranging offerings from each song, the title track is the only one that suffers from stereotypes of the genre. It’s slow paced and generic anthem-like nature feels like it could have been better suited in the middle of the album rather than kicking the album off.
With a wide assortment of different instruments, styles, and offerings for listeners unfamiliar with the genre, Varus’ A New Dawn is an impressive second album with many promising moments to leave the listener craving to hear what the band will have to offer next.