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Varus - A New Dawn Award winner

Varus
A New Dawn
by Emily Schneider at 03 August 2020, 7:33 PM

VARUS hails from Bamberg, Germany. The quartet prides themselves on their ability to create 'orchestral epicness' while still playing some prime-cut Folk Metal. Their second studio album “A New Dawn” certainly achieves this goal with stellar orchestration, heavy riffs, and some awesome traditional German instrumental and chant portions.

The opening track “The Awakening” is like if a fantasy film had a Metal soundtrack. The orchestration is utterly stunning; the piano portions are so beautiful and the strings and flutes are whimsical and really paint the setting perfectly. The vocals remind me a lot of WINTERSUN, especially with how the growled portions are folded into the music, rather than overpowering the track. I couldn't help but to quote Bilbo from The Hobbit “I'm going on an adventure!” by the end of this massive and exciting first track. The next song “Tränk Dein Herz”  flows in right from the previous one and this one has a folky drinking song-like melody to it. “A New Dawn” and “Ascheregen” both carry on the bombastic rhythms and bang your head worthy riffs, trailed by atmospheric keys, orchestra, choirs plus some rad pan flute that reminds me of Symphonic Metal fore-runners NIGHTWISH at points.

“Ein Lebewohl” is the other 'epic length' track at exactly 9 minutes (the opening track being the other long one). This one feels darker, there's this sadness in the tempo and within the song in general. “Wandel Der Zeit” brings in some synthy keys to blend with the Folk Metal vibes of this one. I loved hearing it during the instrumental/solo portion of the song to pair with the melodic guitar; Progressive elements are always a welcome addition for me! “The Minstrel's Chant” had a flute solo in the heart of the song and I adore it so much. It just fit in so well with the heavy Folk influence of this track. The final track “Die Letzte Schenke” closes the album with another fun drinking song; it reminds me of a German version of Folk Metal band KORPIKLAANI. The way this song shifts from dutch-hop accordion music to chuggy riffs you can bang your head to, to a progressive feeling synthy bit, and back made this song pretty unforgettable.

Overall, this album was such a blast to listen to. I love big, epic music and damn, these German lads certainly know how to build the drama in a song. The orchestration was so beautiful in itself then the guitars and traditional instruments complimented it in a wondrous way. VARUS created a shining example of music that is so much more than the words, that music is a language of its very own. I don't speak German, but the way the music paints what's happening still created a stellar story in my mind as I listened to every track, English or not. I could imagine mountains and dark caverns, and of course, roaring fire lit taverns. It's easy to enjoy an album that can create scenes the way VARUS does. What a great and fun listening experience!

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Awakening
2. Tränk Dein Herz
3. A New Dawn
4. Ascheregen
5. Ein Lebewohl
6. Wandel Der Zeit
7. The Minstrels Chant
8. Die Letzte Schenke
Lineup:
Konstantin Raab - Vocals/Keyboards/Flutes
Stefan Schwarz - Guitars/Backing Vocals
Norbert Caspar - Bass
Max Betz - Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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