The name Varga seems vaguely familiar to me and I gather they were a band of some renown in the Canadian metal scene of the 80’s. Nevertheless, this is my first encounter with them. I must admit, if “Enter the Metal” is representative of their older material, I’ll have to hunt that down, because this is a nice dose of progressive thrash metal.
“Beginning of the End” starts with the grossly overused Oppenheimer quote “I am become death…”, which has surely been beaten to a pulp. But from there, my ears perk up right away because this is a tightly played and very well produced tune. It’s clear from the jump that Varga is very technical in their approach, reminding me of old Megadeth, Annihilator and Forbidden. These guys can really play! Joe Varga’s bass work is tremendous, the drumming is crisp and the guitar skills of Sean Williamson and Adam Alex are outstanding. Lots of precise picking, neo-classical shred and twin harmony work. The songs are all long enough to allow a lot of time changes and rifferama. Best example of this would be the 8 minute plus “Plane Crash”…this one will really make your head spin and contains some outrageous guitar acrobatics.
Just six songs here but all are strong and enjoyable. I wish Varga’s lyrics were as progressive as their music…they are kind of childish at times, but then, I can’t complain when they’re about giant killer turtles, ravenous shark attacks and, of course, mad scientists. Joe’s vocals are edgy but clean and clear.
Best of all, this is not “retro-thrash” that blatantly apes an old sound, but rather a modern updating of that sound. This is well worth hunting down!