Varg show their fangs again.
Three years after their last release, the pack led by Freki (guitar/vocals), Morkai (guitar), Garm (guitar), Fylgja (female vocals) and recently Rohgarr (drums, Des Teufels Sturm, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter) announce the release of their eighth album, Ewige Wacht, still on Napalm Records.
The album opens with the almost festive sounds of Immer Treu, a composition quickly overtaken by the band’s raw bestial touch. The different vocals take turns and come together to punctuate the martial charge, while allowing for softer passages such as on the choruses and the epic final leading to Schildmaid and its darker harmonies that come to life on an equally catchy basis. The riffs remain relatively simple, emphasizing the heady folk influences as well as the part where Fylgja sings alone, while Weltenfeind offers a more dynamic approach while keeping some more majestic parts that we can already imagine ourselves singing along. Ominous tones appear on Fylgja, which takes advantage of a throbbing rhythm to give the vocalists a devastated playground, from which a solo and a child’s voice even blossom just before Tyr returns to galvanize the musicians to create an intense sound conducive to live performance. It’s easy to shake your head under the driving riffs and unleashed screams before enjoying the interlude offered by Járnsíðasleið and its Pagan roots, before fury immediately returns with Eisenseite and its jerky riffs, where the voices once again come together to guide us in their energetic march. Clean vocals easily find their place to soften some parts, but the sound becomes martial again with the aptly named Hammer, which adopts heavier patterns, bordering on Industrial influences, to entice us to break our necks before calling on Pagan roots again on Morgenrot, coupled with airy harmonics. The band keeps the most abrasive sounds on vocal side to create this contrasted break before charging back in with the final chorus, then Siegreiches Heer, whose joyful harmonies blend harmoniously with the rest of the track to keep us upbeat at all times. The atmosphere suddenly turns colder with Ewige Wacht, the final track, where the rhythmic pattern swells without warning to become massive, proudly welcoming the various voices until the very last moment.
Varg‘s hunt resumes immediately with Ewige Wacht, which alternates between energetic light-hearted tracks and much darker ones, creating a welcome dynamic with which the band is sure to please while remaining true to its roots.
Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band Varg without using the usual musical labels?
Ulvar (guitar): Hi, I am Ulvar and I am the rhythm guitar player of the band Varg. Varg is a German Metal band whose music and lyrics deal with the rough, combative past of many northern European peoples and their connection to their own ancestors and their old gods.
How do you personally link the name Varg to the band’s music identity?
Ulvar: The word Varg comes from the ancient Nordic languages ??and means “wolf”. On the one hand, it describes our personal connection to the old values ??and ideals of our ancestors and our belief in the pre-Christian gods. On the other hand, this word also stands for the animal referred to. We refer to ourselves as wolves within the band and therefore form a pack that stands together and acts together. On the other hand, the term also illustrates the solidarity between us as a band and our loyal fans. With these we also form a huge wolfpack that acts as a unit worldwide. Cohesion, equality and brotherhood are values ??that we uphold and honor in our pack. Everyone is welcome in our pack and together we go into battle against our enemies. In addition, the wolf is an often used symbolic animal in Nordic mythology that stands for strength and cohesion. He is the perfect symbol for our music, which is dedicated to the pagan and pagan past.
The band’s new album, Ewige Wacht, is now freshly out. How do you feel about it? How is the feedback?
Ulvar: We’re very happy with the feedback we’ve received for the album so far – both from reviews in the media and direct feedback from fans on our tour. We are very proud of this album, as Varg takes another step in a new direction and at the same time this album was an important means of welcoming the two new wolves to the pack – Rohgarr and me. We were all involved in the creation process from the beginning and are therefore very proud of the result. We have grown very close as a band and carry this energy onto the stage and into the songwriting for the next albums.
How would you sum Ewige Wacht’s identity up in only three words?
Ulvar: Reflection – Progression – Strength
How did the creation process happen for Ewige Wacht? Did you notice some changes, compared to the previous records?
Ulvar: The difference to the previous Varg albums is that we no longer all live close to each other and therefore couldn’t – like we used to – lock ourselves in the rehearsal room or studio for days to work on our songs together for hours. Instead, we met at Freki‘s house over several weekends and brought together all the ideas that everyone had developed at home by then. Then we brainstormed our ideas for the respective songs at several meetings. Compositions were adopted, redesigned or even discarded. But new, shared ideas also emerged from these songwriting sessions that found their way onto the album.
I noticed that this album is more aggressive, and somehow more warlike-driven than the previous one, while still keeping some majestic choruses. How do you find a balance between all your influences?
Ulvar: It is actually difficult to give a precise answer. When we were writing the songs, we didn’t really think about what direction the album should go in – whether it was combative-fast or more epic-melodic. In the end, we just put together the ideas that we were all convinced of and that we ultimately liked best. This is where ‘Eternal Watch’ came into being. We didn’t try to create a contrast to the previous album. The balance between the influences and the resulting songs was due to the fact that there were so many minds in the songwriting process and everyone had their own influences. This meant that we didn’t repeat ourselves in terms of mood and ambience in the songs. We were able to fill the album with songs, each of which has its own mood, its own tempo and therefore its own effect.
The song Fylgja caught my attention, because it sounds more haunting and worrying than the other ones. Is there a special story about this one?
Ulvar: Our singer Fylgja had the idea for this song. Lyrically, she wanted a song that was about the character of the follower spirit (Fylgja). This is a type of spiritual being that usually takes the form of an animal and accompanies a person (follows them) to warn them of harm or possibly protect them from it. They appear to people in dreams or shortly before their death. Even though they are protective spirits, there is still something eerie about them and could cause our ancestors a little discomfort from time to time. We processed this feeling of unease and haunting musically in the song. He is very quiet and the tone is always a bit creepy. Added to this is Fylgja‘s high singing, which also fits a spirit being and perfectly fills the instrumental framework. This song is also a wonderful song to underline Fylgja‘s stronger presence on the new album. Because compared to Zeichen, Flygja reinforces even more songs on the new album with her charismatic voice and thus enables Varg to take a new path.
Do you have a favorite song on this album? Or maybe the hardest one to achieve for the album?
Ulvar: My favorite song on the album is also the title track – Ewige Wacht. It impresses with a very epic chorus that gives you goosebumps but at the same time makes your heart beat faster in your chest. He’s also an absolute live banger that will have you singing along at the top of your lungs after just a short while. In terms of content, it stands for everything that defines Varg. We preserve the fire of our ancestors – the old belief in the old values, but in a new time. This song represents the new Varg.
Where do you find your inspiration to create music?
Ulvar: We get our inspiration from very different things. Sometimes it’s definitely sounds or melodies that you hear, sometimes it’s a landscape or something else that you see. Lyrics and stories also play a big role when composing songs or writing lyrics. We are very fortunate that all members of Varg have been musicians for many years and therefore have a constant input of creativity and inspiration.
Do you think you improved yourself as a musician and songwriter with this new record?
Ulvar: With every song and every album you write, you improve yourself. Sometimes you take small steps, sometimes you take big ones. In some places on this album I also faced new challenges or had to get used to playing things that I would perhaps never have composed myself. The nice thing is that you’re always learning new things and are constantly developing as a musician and songwriter. That was the case with this album and it will certainly be the case with the next one. I look forward to challenges and always try to have fun with what I do.
I unfortunately never had the opportunity to see Varg on stage, what can expect of a live show with you? The band mostly play in German-speaking countries, would you like to play more in other countries? What about France?
Ulvar: I think we have a lot to offer live. On the one hand, we have a great stage design with lots of cool lighting and all kinds of effects. On the other hand, we musicians also look very cool in our costumes! 🙂 At a Varg show, circle pits and walls of death are inevitable – you should keep that in mind! But we also provide enough live material for every headbanger so that your neck muscles will glow the next day. We would love to play in France one day. There are a lot of festivals there (e.g. Cernunnos Festival or Hellfest) whose billing we would definitely fit into and where we would have a lot of fun playing. Maybe something will happen next year… we are open to everything and would be very happy about an invitation.
Are there any musicians or artists you would like to collaborate with? Whether it is for one song, or maybe more.
Ulvar: There are still a lot of musicians and bands that we would like to tour with or record a song with. We have already partially fulfilled these wishes on the album Zeichen and on our current album. Both albums were released in a special edition that includes a second CD with all the songs from each album – but each song was performed by or with a different singer. But there are bands like Ereb Altor, Vanaheim or Grimner that would fit very well into our annual Wolfsfest tour. Perhaps something along these lines will emerge in the future.