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Varde - Fedraminne

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 12 November 2020, 7:56 AM

VARDE formed in Norway in 2017 by Koll, Nord and drummer Dar’n. With traditional poetry in combination with their folkish and atmospheric brand of music, VARDE shines a light on the northern heritage of storytelling, historical events and folklore. Following the release of an EP in 2018, they now present their debut full-length, titled “Fedraminne,” which contains eight tracks.

“Kystbillede del I” leads off the album, and it’s a beast, at over 13-minutes in length. Depressing piano notes open the album. Clean vocal harmonies come in, with a cadence that reminds me of and old Viking tale. The vocals then turn harsh and angry, and a heavy riff drops. I love the audible bass notes…it adds a thickness to the song. The Black Metal sound picks up around the half-way mark. The earlier sound returns, and is much more melancholic. It ends with a beautiful passage of piano notes. “Halvdan Svarte” is only six minutes in length. It begins with a heavy and slow rhythm, and harsh vocals with an edge. Lead guitar provides some of the melody here. Most of the tones here are sad and depressing however.

“Forbundet” is shorter but much faster in pace. Guitars, bass and drums power the sound forward in unison, and harsh vocals abound. It settles into a dark groove from there, with some occasional guitar harmonies. “Et Gammelnorskt Herresæde” is over ten-minutes in length. It opens with a powerful, slow pace with some more of those guitar harmonies peppering the landscape. It slows around the half-way mark, to just some single guitar, bass, and drum notes, with some despondent spoken word. Someone is pleading for their life. It begins a build towards a crescendo towards the end, stamping out all hope. Those bass notes at the end are very well done. “Fedraminne” opens with clean guitars and spoken words. A darkness is present here, mostly from the guitars and steady bass notes. Soft saxophone notes blend in the background, and the spoken words return.

“Skuld” is a shorter, four-minute song that opens with some distortion and then bass and drums chug away. The vocals are vile shrieks, and the riff moves up and down one note at a time. Some electronica comes into play as the song kicks into overdrive. “Koll med Bilden del I” is close to ten minutes in length. Opening with a mid-tempo but spirited groove, the guitar riff here is much more linear then on previous tracks. An odd but fitting passage of clean guitars joins in. The riff changes after the half-way mark to a more authoritarian sound.

“Kystbillede del II” closes the album. It opens with soft but tense, dark tones, along with some piano notes. The vocals are clean at first, and that sax returns as well. Harsh vocals and a strong riff then come into play. The sound here is absolutely commanding during these moments. It waxes and wanes several times throughout, keeping the listener on their toes. It builds to a flurry of sound towards the end, taking you out on a high note.

Overall, this was quite a unique listening experience, with a lot of diversity on the album. They put a lot of careful thought into the album, with some very particular elements that just worked in the songs. The band are also quite talented, and know when to turn it up, or let it rest for a moment or two. I really enjoyed this album, and would recommend it to any fans of Black/Folk Metal, or Metal in general. “Fedraminne” is a one of a kind listening experience.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Kystbillede del I
2. Halvdan Svarte
3. Forbundet
4. Et Gammelnorskt Herresæde
5. Fedraminne
6. Skuld
7. Koll med Bilen del I
8. Kystbillede del II
Dar'n – Drums
Nord – Guitars, Synth, Studio Bass, Additional Vocals
Koll – Vocals, Percussion, Horns, Vocals
Record Label: Norvis Produktion


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