What’s up horrorsuckles, \m/iki Dom with you tonight to talk to you about one of my favorite band ever… A band that isn’t scared to bring you in your face progressive thrash metal and keep it alive.
Tonight the marbles go to:
Varga is one of the Canadian bands that has the longest history on the whole Canadian metal scene. Hailing from Hamilton, Ontario it’s in that very city that the band formed back in 1989… Kicking ass in local bars it’s in 1991 that they finally lay their first tracks on tape and release their first demo cassette Multiple Wargasm, a cassette that I still own hahahaha, That gave them the chance to play multiple shows and get themselves notice which leads them to a major record company deal with BMG in 1993 that’s when they recorded the amazing Prototype album, which presented a new more industriel oriented sound… I was a bit far from their original progessive thrash sound but was still interesting it got them a few notification like being in nomination at the Canadian Juno Awards for best rock act… They retaliate in 1995 with Oxygen an album that was more oriented on their roots then its predecessor… which kinda confused the fan base in a way because it was a rather big difference… In 1998 the band decided to call it a day and went on a hiatus that lasted for more than 10 years… but finally it’s in 2011 that the guys recontacted one another and clearly saw that there still was something there and decided to start making music together again and in 2013 they released their first album in a long while the amazin Enter The Metal a straight up progressive thrash metal album like only them can make! Which brings up to May 2014 when they released their brand new opus which i’m going to talk to you about tonight Return Of The Metal
Back when the band started out the Thrash metal sound was at its popularity peak with the rise of Metallica and all so with that in perspective these boys were bound for glory… But then the 90′s hit and with it came a new blend of rockers moslty from and around seattle and from that new blend came Grunge and bands like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam which are all amazing bands but they made the heavy rock sound drift into a completely new and different direction… based more on everyday life and slower guitar oriented riff…. and from that some bands that used to label themselves Thrash suddenly changed for other thing like Crossover or Grindcore but just a little portion of the bands on the scene dared to raise the Thrash banner highly and proudly… bands like Testament, Exodus and of course Varga… Progressive thrash always had a hard time making a name for itself because of the complixity of its stuctures… people just didnt get it and in my opinion that’s just sad because there were amazing work in that field… like Queensrÿche of the Mindcrime/Empire era and even some of their older work like Rage For Order was amazing and listen to Geoff Tate on those albums and tell me he is not an amazing vocalist… I DARE YA!!!! Well all of this to say that the new decade made it hard on bands that started at the end of the Thrash era and made them have to reinvent themselves in a way but some just said no and stuck to their original sound… It worked for some and was a bit harder for other… Varga tried to some new stuff which worked in a way leading them to some recognition but in my opinion their original sound is where they shine the most…
The Return Of The Metal album brings them back to their good ol’ Prog Thrash meets New Wave Of British Heavy Metal sound made popular by bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest… Which is a relief it feels nice to hear the classic sound that made those bands what they are today…
The album opens with the great 8 minutes epic Three Section Staff which is a great kickstarter to this great album, i love the staccato riff and palm muted guitar… Great work comes out of the Disfugured Gargoyle song too which is the fastest and most aggressive song on the album a well received thrash in your face blend of fast paced guitars and pounding drums pretty impressive! … My two favorite song on the album are Money Talks because well it is just so true… You got money you got the whole world in your hand… You don’t have money well you can just die who cares… Well it is the sad truth of the world we live in today… and This songs boasts my favorite guitar riff of the whole album it’s pure it’s true… it’s Thrash damn it! and I welcome it with arms widely open! BRING IT OOOONNN!!!! and clocking at 7 minutes this epic is a true salute to the band’s prog roots! and the album closes with my favorite song Far East Super Slaughter… Fast as hell… Complicated… just a tad… An amazing bassline also which is pretty great and pretty rare coming from a Thrash metal band cause usually in this particular sub-genre they tend to leave the bass aside… (…And Justice For All… Ring a bell…) and it also got the best vocal lines of the whole album! Let’s talk about those vocals while we are on the subject… Singer Joe Varga has one of the best voice in the biz and sooooo suited for the job with his awesome blend of Testament’s Chuck Billy ballsy strong metal pounder voice and Gamma Ray (ex-Helloween)’s Kai Hansen‘s more angelic and soft melodic metal voice it’s just the right amount of both it’s pretty great and rare… really something to check out for sure!
The album in general is pretty great it has amazing work on every aspects and you guys should really check it out… The only flaws comes from the production side again… Sometimes drums are just badly mixed some snares are too loud and too low, some high frequencies that should’ve been cut aren’t and also some of the rhythm guitars are way too dimmed in the mix so it really annoys my ears… But i have to said that the vocal is perfect P-E-R-FECT it’s completely flawless and this is a rare achievement in these days! and all of that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out because you should this is still a great album worth discovering! so here is my quote
\m/iki’s seal of approval 8.5/10
These production flaws really did bad for the band in my opinion because they are amazing musicians but bad sounding albums aren’t fun to listen to and at least harder to listen to so… it’s a bit sad but it’s still great and i will still keep on listening to it and you should to haha!
Well with all that said that’s all for me folks I hope you enjoyed this little review and well this was \m/iki Dom saying good night, take care and stay metalheads!